My 50th birthday came and went with little fanfare. Don’t get me wrong, we marked the occasion with a night on the beach and dinner out with my daughter. Still, I didn’t take the time to consider my two cents on turning 50 or fully consider the significance of entering this new decade.
Thankfully, no one presented me with a black iced cake or a walking stick like my parents received when they reached 50. I guess this really does reflect the changing attitudes toward the fifth decade. These days, 50 is still somewhere in the middle of the aging spectrum. Although, in all seriousness, I don’t assume my future role as a centenarian is a foregone conclusion. So, am I really only middle-aged? Hmm…
Still, this foray into a new decade didn’t bother me nearly as much as when I turned 43. Forty-three was much harder to take…no longer was I in my early 40’s, I was IN my forties. Nope, I’ve mellowed out about the whole aging thing considerably since then. Here’s my two cents on turning 50.
Face it girls, age happens…to everyone. The youth-obsessed 20 and 30 somethings out there who act like they own the market on youth will all get old. And, just because a younger person tries to tell you that youth is all that matters, doesn’t make it true. Yes, young skin may be smoother, but there’s a lot of wisdom and life experience invested in every line and wrinkle.
Quite frankly, I will never understand women who try to hide their age. Our bodies are terminal and they were created to break down. All come from the dust, and to the dust all return. (Ecc. 3:20)
Wow, this truth is quite freeing if you make an effort to internalize it. Instead of whining and crying about your new wrinkles and stiff joints, try accepting them as a natural part of the aging process, embrace your age and move on.
Accepting your age does not mean you give up trying to look and feel your best. I believe lots of women fall into the trap of believing the media hype of youth. They hit a certain age and automatically start acting old, dressing old and feeling old. They figure that’s what’s expected of them…they’re not “in” anymore, so why bother trying.
I believe some women mistake maturity for blending in. Then, too often, I hear women of a similar age refer to themselves as invisible as if invisibility was thrust upon them when they reached a certain age. Rarely, do these same women consider that, at some point, they stopped putting in much effort to get noticed. When’s the last time you’ve challenged yourself to learn something new, to change up your fashion choices or to extend yourself for the sole benefit of someone else?
I think it’s possible to feel invisible at any age. I believe we ultimately receive what we put out into the world. A smiling, friendly, engaging person generally receives those things in return. Age doesn’t give you a pass on the law of reciprocity…you want someone to notice and acknowledge you, you better be willing to put in some effort.
The longer I’m alive, the more I value spending myself for others. While youth is typically rife with self-absorption, life’s seasons eventually taught me to multiply my effectiveness by investing in the lives of others. As a mom, I pray for my kids every day and I’m always available to lend advice or a recipe. I also look for opportunities to volunteer my time, my home or my resources for the sake of others.
We all wrestle with the effects of aging from time to time, but living within one’s self and solely for one’s self only amplifies the pain. Focusing on others not only gives us increased meaning and value, it also pulls us out of the “woe is me” rut.
I’m excited about this new decade and the new adventures that await me. I plan to take each day as it comes and each new wrinkle with as much grace as I can muster. 50…bring it on!!!
Check out the other fabulous lifestyle linkups I’m joining this week – My Linkups!