Today I am 50 years old. I am 50. I’ve been saying it like a mantra, a phrase to ward off any descent into petty concerns and trivialities. I am 50. I am older than many people ever have the privilege to be and I am truly proud of having lived so long and seen so much and learned so very many hard lessons.
Today I think of my dad who never saw 50 and missed so much of what he might have done and become. With him in mind, I am determined to make the most of my life and continue to evolve. I think of my mom, widowed with MS and determined to take charge of her life at 50. With her in mind, I will face challenges with confidence and remember to say “yes” as often as possible. I think of my grandmother, 50 years old when I was born and celebrating her 100th birthday this past July. With her in mind, I will remember that while life is short and opportunities need to be seized, sometimes it’s also long and a bit of planning is not a bad idea.
I want this milestone to matter. Sure, I could say, “age is just a number” or “I’m only one day older than I was yesterday” or “you’re only as old as you feel.” But I don’t want to minimize my new age – I want to embrace it. Each decade of my life life has been better than the last and I firmly believe my 50’s will be better yet. I will own my lessons of letting go, finding patience, and standing up for things that matter. I will put love first. I will think less about my face, and more about the thoughts behind it. I will focus less on what my body looks like and more on what it can do. I will pursue challenges because I know I am up to facing them. And I will look for joy and laughter around every corner, and seek beauty wherever I can find it.
When I turn 60, I will look back and say, “Yes, the 50’s were my best decade yet! Now, what incredible wonders are next?”