Life Begins after Fifty
Yes, I’m in my last year rockin’ my forties. As I head towards my fiftieth birthday, I was wondering what is middle age? This year the average lifespan in the US was said to be 78.93 years. (1) Technically speaking, I hit “middle age” around forty. Those of us who are forty and up are considered middle age now, friends.
Was that a shock to you? Maybe a lot of us really don’t “feel” middle-aged. I certainly don’t feel middle-aged in a bad way, however, I can say that life gets more precious with each passing year. Maybe that is part of the magic.
When my grandmothers were fifty, they were old, they dressed in a similar fashion. With my mom’s generation that started to go away. As a petite little seventy-something lady, my mom shops from the juniors section. She is as unique of an individual as any twenty-one-year-old, maybe more so!
The “norm” has changed of course, and women are not following “the rules” anymore. In fact, women at fifty are getting edgier in how they dress. Don’t be surprised to find them wearing mismatched earrings or crazy prints. No white after Labor Day, that rule is as antiquated as phone books and TV guides! (Don’t know what those are? You might be too young to enjoy this article!)
You see women in their prime wear what they want, style their hair according to their personal preference, and live life on their own terms. Yes, some women even allow their natural gray hair to take center stage at age fifty, and why not? Sexy silver is IN!
Things get better with time
Why do people say life begins at fifty? I mean, what about all the fun you had staying out late or dancing all night in your twenties?
I’ve always been an early bird, which means it’s hard for me to stay up late at night. My friends would try to coerce me to stay out dancing and partying, but I could barely keep my eyes open past 11 pm. In many places, the party doesn’t even start till midnight! At fifty, you can still enjoy doing these things, but no one will be surprised or offended if you go home early! A huge bonus for those of us who struggle to stay up late.
I’m not the only person who thinks fifty is a great age, in fact, it’s considered the perfect age by people from all over the world!
“If people could live forever in good health at a particular age, it would be 50, according to a 2013 Harris Poll. Gender and geography play a role: In the poll, men said the perfect age is 47, and women 53. In the Midwest, the perfect age is 50. In the East, it’s 53, and the West it’s 47.” https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-is-the-perfect-age-1515844860
At fifty, you “realize that you can say “no” to things. “No” to time wasters. “No” to commitments and friends that don’t make you feel good. You clean house, so to speak, of anything and ANYONE who takes more than they give.”
Women in their fifties are a powerful force to be reckoned with and they can do anything they set their minds to!
How can I be happy at 50?
- Stay informed – “Prime women are tech-savvy and use social media and the internet to keep them informed. Our opinions matter. Older women are conscious of what the world’s economy and ecology will be like for their children and grandchildren. They are in the labor force or volunteer ranks to keep active in their communities and the larger world. It’s what we do.” 2
- Exercise – Okay, so if you are fifty and you’ve never worked out consistently, you probably need to redefine the term. Don’t think of exercise only as hitting the gym or putting on some running shoes! What do you love to do? Dancing? Do it! Whatever you love that gets your heart pumping is the exercise you’ll do consistently. Yes, lifting weights is important at fifty, but don’t throw in the towel completely if you hate going to the gym.
- Do it your way – If you’ve lived the last 50 years trying to fit into someone else’s mold, it’s time to do life the way YOU want to.
- Marriage – Live alone, live together, live apart together, as long as you are both happy with the set-up.
- Listen to other people’s stories. Everyone has a story. At fifty, collecting stories is like gathering a bouquet of wildflowers; unique, beautiful, random.
- Give yourself a break! If you’ve been hard on yourself your entire life, self-sabotage, or have an inner mean girl, it’s time to work on letting that stuff go! Hire a therapist and free yourself from any guilt you’ve been carrying around like baggage.
What can I do with my life at 50?
A better question would be what can’t you do with your life at fifty? Have you been putting off some adventures you wanted to take, a business you wanted to start? Perhaps you’re single and it’s time to get back into the dating scene?
I recently read the article ‘The Freedom of My 50s Is Amazing’: Women Share Stories of Midlife Reinvention where women wrote in to share amazing stories of starting over at fifty. One woman moved to Hawaii and became a hula dancer, another climbed Machu Picchu, and yet another set a Guinness World Record. It’s not just these major life changes that count for something. Women at fifty are embracing anything and everything that they enjoy and want to be part of their lives.
Is 50 too old to start again?
Never! I believe you can “start over” at any age but if you’re looking to do so at age fifty. First you simply acknowledge the fact that you have the power to make changes in your own life, including the ability to “start over” if you want to.
While not everyone can pack up and move to Hawaii or travel to Peru to climb Machu Picchu, there are other ways to start over and rebuild your life. Start by doing what you can with what you have. Sometimes it helps to just rearrange things, the furniture, your schedule, whatever! Get a fresh perspective by moving your couch to face the window instead of the TV.
The phrase “it is what it is” has never been more relevant than now! By that, I mean to acknowledge the truth about where you are in life and work with what you’ve got. Make peace with yourself and others and it will be much easier to come to terms with where you are in life.
Keep setting and reaching for goals, if that’s how you get things done. Do not sell out to the idea that you are less than because you are in your fifties. Buy into the idea that older people can be full of vibrance, vitality, and enthusiasm.
I have a fifty-something friend who is pursuing her Master’s degree, one who started her own business, another who is self-publishing her own book!
Looking forward to the next fifty!
My 50th birthday is just a few months away and I’m not yet sure how I want to celebrate being half a century old. Pre-Covid-19, perhaps I would have been planning a trip maybe to New York. (My favorite birthday gift is an experience, rather than a thing.) With coronavirus still causing uncertainty, and restricted travel, I’m considering staying close to home.
In my opinion, the key to a happy birthday is simply doing what you like! That’s not the easiest thing to do since we’ve been in lockdown mode, but hopefully, in a few months, this will be a thing of the past.
For the first time in my fifty-year life, I am calm, at peace, and enjoying my life and satisfied with the way things are. I’ve spent so many years looking forward to the next thing, and now I’m truly content with the here and now. Yes, even though we are dealing with the coronavirus issues across the world.
Maybe this is the year to enjoy a quiet night at home with Netflix and my favorite take-out! We’ll see.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt
If you’re already a 50-year-old or you’re headed that way, join me in the journey through our fabulous fifties! I’m so excited to see what this decade has in store for us. This is why I started this website, a little less formal place to connect than my wellness website: ThatOrganicMom.
If you have already, how did you celebrate your fiftieth birthday? I’d love to hear about it if you’re willing to share!
1 – Macro Trends https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/USA/united-states/life-expectancy
2 – Old Wives Tales about Women in Their Fifties https://primewomen.com/health/wellness/old-wives-tales-myths/
3 – Great things about women in their prime https://primewomen.com/second-acts/personal-growth/20-great-things-women-prime/