50 does not sound right to me. I am 50. I aged 50. Level stage 50, ok that I can say. Holy shit, I am 50. That is 50% of 100. Holy shit, I am half a century. I am five decades, sounds better. I swore up and down that I would never ever let aging bother me. I was not bothered by 25, 30, 35 or even 40. I giggled when people complained about “getting old”. I had a few friends recently turn 40, and I told them not to worry about aging as it is only a number. Then I got close to becoming 50 years old, really close. I started to have anxiety, depression, sleepless nights and plain old fear. I have obviously struggled with anxiety but not this kind of depression before, so it was very unsettling to me. With Xmas and New Years leading the way to my birthday, it increased. Add some freezing temperatures and horrible weather, to keep me inside and I was suddenly a mess. I began to feel overwhelmed with fear of losing friends, now that I was aging. I thought why would anyone want to hang out with an old lady getting dusty. I began to question all my life choices, I mean, ALL MY LIFE choices. I pretty much backtracked to the early 1980’s. Yes, see, I am old! I actually remember the 80’s, well most of it. Why did I not just go to university? Why did I not finish all my night school? Why did I spend so much money on useless things? Why did I get a perm? Why did I not go back to work after I had my first child? Why did I not go back to work after I had my second child? Why did I not go back to work or school when my kids were in full-time school? Why? Why? Why? Shoulda, coulda, but didn’t. I dwelled deeply into my past not necessarily great decisions. I wallowed in my grief of mistakes. I deepened my depression thinking of all the what-ifs in my life. Anyone, that fights the beast, anxiety, will have many what-ifs. I went through the time machine of my mind and bounced back to present day.
The day after my fiftieth birthday, I woke up. The air still reached my lungs, my blood still pumped in my veins and I was fifty. I thought hard about why I was so devastated with aging this year, I knew that a lot had to do with my brother never reaching his big five-o! It was an age I always teased him about becoming. He died in his 49th year, unfair how life is. I have feared not making it to my day. The fear helped develop all the depression. Suddenly, I began to feel stronger. I began to think clearly. I made myself remember how far I have come and how hard I struggled to get where I am. I am proud of myself and I don’t need anyone else to be. My opinion of myself is the only opinion that I need to validate. If I love myself, the opinions of sheep shall never matter. What other people think of me, is none of my business! Right then, I knew, I must change my way of thinking. I had to become my best friend. My own advocate. My best me. Loving yourself is hard as we have been programmed especially as women, to care and love for everyone else. I habitually put almost everyone ahead of myself. I think fifty years of doing that is adequate so I can take care of me now. If I can fight the beast and survive hot flashes with night sweats, raising two kids on my own, multiple setbacks, and deaths of many that I have loved, the loss of friendships for unknown reasons, I can surely learn to put myself on the front burner! Screw the way society thinks I should be, especially now that I am 50. I will not cut my hair short, nor stop wearing flip-flops and shorts above my knees. I will not start to shop at Northern Reflections or Coldwater Creek for my clothes. I will not start to behave. I will, however, be stronger. I will be bolder. I will not allow anyone, anyone at all, to hurt me. I will be the warrior I know I have always been.
- Here are some of the bonuses of turning 50.
* Get out of unwanted tasks by saying “I am far too old”. When I was a wee young human of say, 40, or less, someone would ask me to give up my nap time for some worthy cause or to go to the gym. I can now just say, I don’t do that anymore. I am too old. For the record, I didn’t go to the gym in my forties or thirties or twenties. Most will believe this as an excuse as long as they are younger than you, as they have no idea that you could actually run circles around them. Do not say this to someone older, as they will tell you that you are full of shit.
*I will now start to get carded again! Ok ok, so it will be to ask if I am eligible for a senior discount, but hell, pretty freaking sweet! If I can get that overnight cream for 10 % less, I will wear a bonnet!
*I can begin cultivating my quirkiness. Before 5o, you hear, “She should probably be on meds.”,but after 50, you hear, “Isn’t she amazingly unique?”I plan to use this to my advantage, to really let my creativity flow. I will stick to the tamer side of weird for right now, as suddenly hoarding and collecting cats, will make me seem like I am batshit crazy. I may want to come clean, I am on medication and I have two cats and perhaps hoard a bit. We will just keep that on the down-low for now, ok?
* Apparently, once you turn 50, you acquire an invisibility cloak. I have been becoming invisible to the opposite sex now for some time, so I am prepared. The incredible flip side of this, is now I can saunter into the grocery store looking the death is upon me, total zombie and confidently know no one will notice. Score!
* I can finally decide what I want to be when I grow up and how I want to spend my days. Nights will be reserved for my cats. I want to write. Blog. I have worked within my home for 22 years, so now I think I want to work outside of it. I might even decide I should be wearing a tiara and combat boots, but I need to ask the cats first their opinion.
* I now seem smart to those younger than me. I am the fountain of wisdom, mostly because I am old. I also have not yet, lived in a box under the highway pass so I must contain some valuable insights on life. I may spout out sage advice, you know the kind your parents gave you when you were young, but you ignored because you were stupid. Don’t actually admit to doing anything that you are advising against because it will damage your street cred. Plus being chased by a screaming crowd carrying pitchforks and signs with hypocrite over your picture is embarrassing at any age. Plus, I did not inhale.
* When someone says, you are stubborn or set in your ways, just laugh and tell them you are just now confident in your views and opinions. It is also just too exhausting to change my position on some views, as it would require a level of interest and exertion of energy beyond what I am willing to invest. I will stand up for the underdog still though and fight with Al Gore about global warming as anyone who has seen a sad skinny polar bear would do. I can also, say I think that global warming is a plot by the Illuminati to take over the world and watch you go apeshit just for fun. I am older now, I require different levels of excitement.
* I can now stop sweating the small stuff and stop petting the sweaty stuff. Pretty soon, my son will be off to college so I can not make dinner. Ok, maybe I don’t make dinner all the time now, but skip the dishes is a real thing. It is this era’s tv dinners. If I am late, I am late. If I am early, I am early. I don’t care. If I have a pimple, I have a pimple. That is a lie, I will part my hair over that treacherous new planet. If my dinner, that I finally made, burns, oh well. See above why I don’t care.
I am now starting to see that turning 50, getting older, is not as bad as I first thought. I can make my life they way I want to make it. I can be me. I can kick ass as I have no one to answer to but me. I am going to live my life as the adventure it is meant to be lived. As with age comes wisdom, or bullshit it until they think you are making sense!