Though fifty could feel old (I must admit I’ve had a few moments wondering how in the world I could be FIFTY?! So what if I’ve lost part of my hearing and am more often than not fumbling through my bag trying to locate readers – those things don’t mean anything – right?! Inside I’m still 20.) – I’m choosing to look at the bright side of mid-century. And I’ve decided to embrace all that 50 brings with it.
I’m talking freedom.
That’s right. Fifty equals freedom. Why wait 20 years to sink into all the great stuff that comes with age? I’m sinking into it today.
I told Chris, my sister-in-law/BFF (she’s a youngster compared to me – her 50th birthday is in May), “Yeah, I’m grabbing hold of all the freedom that comes with 50!”
“Uh,” she paused. “That’s gonna be scary. Don’t you already do that?”
“Oh – this is better.” I confirm, “I’m going to wear what I want, say what I think, and merge into traffic without so much as a care in the world. Other drivers will give me a break – I’m 50!” I smiled at the thought. That’s what happens when you’re old.
Because maybe wisdom does come with age. Wisdom and freedom.
I’m 50 and free!
- Free to openly embrace a lycra-laced wardrobe. I’m not referring to the standard 2”elastic-waistbands hiked up to your armpits elderly fare (hoping I never opt for that fashion – but never say never), simply clothes with give. Fifty brings with it unabashed freedom to be comfortable. Because really, what difference does it make? Let the young sacrifice comfort for fashion. Sorry Spanx. So long fitted/button/0%-stretch waistlines. Hello comfy dresses and flat shoes.
- Free to be late
- Free to eat cake for breakfast
- Free to wear the same cute outfit twice in one week – just because a Mid-Centurian can.
- Free to forget
- Free to sing along with the radio as loud as I’d like – partly because I can’t hear as well as I did in my youth of yesterday, but mostly because I like the song
- Free to forget
- Free to repeat myself
- Free to lean into the gray:
“You’re hair is so light,” my friend just said to me. “Where did you get it done?”
“Riding shotgun in my car,” I told her. Student drivers are not for the faint of heart – let alone mid-century folks. “Yes,” I continue, “with every near-miss, each clipped curb, and all my muffled gasps plus attempts to stomp on non-existent passenger-side breaks, I can literally feel the gray hairs grow. Trust me – my lighter hair has nothing to do with salon highlights. It’s just gray.”
Then I add the cherry on top. “I’m 50. Gray’s okay.”
“Oh yeah,” I say to Chris. “I’m embracing ALL the freedom – even slow. Seriously – if our metabolism is slowing to a halt, why not follow suit in the rest of life. Now when I’m slow to pick up a kid or 2, I’m shouting the reason: “I’M 50! Free to be leisurely!”
“This could be bad,” she replied, then changed the subject. I didn’t care. I was still letting my mind race to ALL I get to do with my new freedom. She was at Costco. “Wow, they have Vaseline for $1.98.”
“Yeah – $1.98! … When was the last time you saw Vaseline for under $2?”
“What are you talking about?” I start to die laughing. Vaseline?! Ewww. “I can’t think of the last time I checked the price of Vaseline.” Who would?! … I’m howling. “It might be my birthday, but who’s the old one in this picture?!”
“Seriously – that’s a great price. I think I will take a picture and post it on Twitter.”
“What?!” Is she crazy?! By now, my stomach is aching from laughter.
“No,” she corrects herself, “Instagram. Yeah, I’m posting it on Instagram.”
“Oh- I’m sure your post will blow out that platform.”
We giggle a bit more. She at her techno-savvy cool self. Me at the hilarity of it all. Because I’m free to laugh at whatever I like, without so much as an explanation – I’m 50.
Maybe Fifty equals freedom because it brings with it perspective. With the slowing down comes a few moments to see more in situations than all the possible pressures and stress. So, rather than look at “landmark” fifty in a nervous half-my-life-is-over/have-I-done-it-all-well, fFfty invites a healthy focus shift.
Because looking back at all the things that might have been stressful in my 20’s (landing the right job, perfect dates, living with the just-right roomates, climbing all the proverbial ladders, … and so much more), in my 30’s (getting married, having kids, getting said kids into the just-right schools, … and SO much more), and in my 40’s (kids’ teenage years, more job stuff, colleges, life changes, just-right-vacations – okay, any vacation, … and so much more) – none of it was as life-altering as it could have appeared in the moment. And here’s where Fifty’s perspective says: don’t let the pressures of the day steal any of life’s wonder that’s abundant in the midst.
So why not lean into 50 and the freedom it can bring? It’s there … if we embrace it. Funny thing – the same is likely true of all the other decades, too.
And in that freedom, laughter flourishes – as was the case yesterday.
I almost fell over when I got these texts from my sister-in-law about 30 minutes later:
Laughter – and more importantly friends as we see past the hearing issues, typos, auto-corrects and the like to find the joy in every moment.
Thanks for walking the road with me!