Reasons I Love Being in My 50's
Most young people have a certain dread of middle age. I remember seeing a beautiful young gal on a talk show being asked about dating older men. She talked about how she wouldn’t mind dating someone in his 50’s or older- if it weren’t for what his skin (said with a distinct grimace) would look and feel like (clearly gross!).
It is normal for young people to believe that the best time of our lives occurs in our teens and twenties- maybe in your 30’s if you’re a particular kind of cool. It is easy to see why. Our culture fawns over youth and reinforces these images everywhere we look. I enjoyed my youth, but there are definite advantages to being a woman in my 50’s.
REASONS WHY I LOVE BEING IN MY 50’s
1. I can appreciate my body for the miracle that it is. Live long enough and you observe that not everyone has been blessed with a body that works the way you want it to. The importance of a six pack, or a wasp-like waist, pale in comparison to having legs that can walk me down the street or arms that can carry a child. I realize that these gifts can be fleeting, so every day that I can get out of bed using my own power is truly a gift. What I look like in a bathing suit is totally, totally irrelevant but being able to jump in the waves and feel the salty water on my face is priceless. A wise woman once said that about 2 weeks after we are dead we will all pretty much look the same. The superficial stuff is a waste of time.
2. In my 20’s and 30’s there was a lot of pressure to be successful. Would I be able to afford to raise my kids? Would I find real and lasting love? Now in my 50’s, all of these questions have been satisfactorily answered and are now replaced with the questions of how I can have the greatest impact in the world. These new questions aren’t stressful in the survival sense, but rather are part of an exciting journey of discovery.
3. I can embrace the scars, wrinkles and general lack of perfection that is me. In fairness, my looks were never what I was known for, so losing them may not hit me as hard as others. Having said that, I can look at the signs of aging as almost like a map that takes me back through the big moments of my life. This scar on my stomach was from my last c-section and those wrinkles wouldn’t be there if I weren’t old enough to have a wonderful granddaughter. Life is filled with imperfections (and so are we) and that’s what keeps life interesting.
4. The friends I have now, the friendships that have been strong for decades, as well as newer additions, are amazing and wonderful . The cool thing about being older is that you know who you want to be in your life and it is great to be surrounded by people who not only support you, but also challenge you.
5. Words and opinions at this age are water off a duck’s back. You don’t agree with me? That is totally fine - and I am interested to hear more about your view. You don’t like me? That’s cool, there are billions of people on this planet, you can’t please them all. Rather than getting riled, or hurt, when you say something unkind, I can imagine that maybe you are having a seriously bad day and will ask how I can help. We may not share the same interests or ideas of what is fun and that’s okay, we can each do our own thing. We may not agree on how to vote or how to worship (or not) but what a great world we live in that we are allowed to have our own views. Being older provides a sense of serenity that is missing in youth. I will take this any day!
6. Kids and grandkids- need I say more? Now in my 50’s my kids are grown or well on their way. It is a delight to have the company of these men that I raised to be independent and fine people. The icing on this considerable cake is now a grandchild. If people knew how awesome it is to be a grandmother, they would have kids earlier and more often! I realize this isn’t part of everyone’s journey, but I do believe that everyone can develop deep and meaningful family and intra-generational relationships, which definitely add to the richness of midlife.
Now that I am nearly halfway through my 50’s, I am looking with curiosity and anticipation towards my 60’s, 70’s and beyond! My own mother, who is on the verge of 80, is a wonderful example of living her best life despite her age. She is taking clarinet lessons, she goes to the gym every day, and she is a super active volunteer.
Maybe life really begins at 80!