How to turn 50
I’m not going to lie – as I neared the big 5-0 I was full of trepidation. This is a milestone I choose to bypass if it were only possible. I didn’t want a huge party and I certainly didn’t want to shout it from the mountain top. I work in a very ageist industry and with my collapsing collagen – I have already started to feel invisible.
I struggled with 40 as well but that was for different reasons. I really wanted a baby and was only months in to a new relationship so fertility weighed heavy on my mind. I was worried my body wouldn’t be able to give me a child and rightfully so. We began trying not long after my 40th birthday and I endured four miscarriages. The first (at 13 weeks and just after we announced it) was devastating. The fact that it happened just before Mother’s day felt like a cruel blow. I had a hard time getting through that and sometimes I still feel the sadness of it. The other three miscarriages just scared the hell out of me and reminded me that this may not happen. And then it did. And she’s a peach. Check her out!
Turning 50 is a bit different though. I am not going to lie and say I fully embrace the ‘laugh lines’ and wrinkles because I don’t. I appreciate that I’ve earned them but they still take some getting used to. Menopause was a real rollercoaster ride and *spoiler alert* – the symptoms don’t go away when you become post menopausal. So hot flashes and mood swings are still a part of my daily life.
I want to say 50 is even better than 40 but the jury is still out. I still struggle with a predominately millennial workforce and these kids are multi-talented. So I struggle to keep up and remain relevant and worse – ‘feel’ relevant. Yes, it’s a ‘thing’.
It’s important to be able to voice these things because if we all say that we love our laugh lines, our middle-aged ‘spread’ and the new indications of aging (memory loss, anyone?), then those of us who are feeling the pressure are going to feel like there’s something wrong with not being totally okay with it. Now, I did love my 40s. I thought they were the BEST decade. I cared less about what other people thought and I had a new confidence to go after the things I really wanted: a child, my own business, my awesome husband. 40 was fearless and I know that from an emotional and state of mind perspective 50 is going to be even more of that great stuff. So that’s the bright side and I’m clinging on to that.
So how do you ring in 50 when you are feeling on the fence? For me, I declined the big party. I didn’t want to just graze conversations with the people who really matter to me. Instead I asked my friends to forgo the party and presents in exchange for the gift that always mattered to me the most – their time and their company. Unlike a kick ass party that is over the next day leaving you with nothing but a hangover and a messy kitchen – I am stretching out my celebration with dinners and lunch dates with my favourite pals. We have a glass of wine, a great meal and we drink in each others friendship. We laugh about our laugh lines, our failing eyesight, our hot flashes and the fact we can never find our phones or our keys. We remember when we could eat that bowl of pasta and burn it off by 5pm. But behind the laughter – we know that we’re silently coping and we’re there to help each other turn another milestone into a positive experience. Because that’s what friends do. They ‘get’ you.
So to those of you turning a big milestone, I encourage you to celebrate – of course I do! But there’s nothing wrong with feeling a bit “Debbie Downer” too. There’s no shame in that. Just make sure your friends are there to lift you right back up. They’re the best gift of all.