Well friends, I did it. I survived for 50 years. I know, it comes as a shock to me too.
When I was a girl I thought being 50 looked like this picture that always hung in my grandmother’s hallway. These were twin sisters and I don’t know much about them except that my grandmother adored them.
But it turns out that 50 looks like this….
I can honestly say that I have been really looking forward to this birthday. There are so many things about turning 50 that are wonderful that I have decided to make a list.
1. Contentment. There’s just something about having this many years behind me that gives me a sense of peace and contentment. I don’t feel like I have anything to prove anymore. This is it. And I like it.
2. Knowledge. The saying, “The more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know.” Yep. That.
3. Wisdom. Wisdom is something that doesn’t automatically come with age, but it comes from God. I have a long way to go and, hopefully, a long time to get there. But I appreciate what little wisdom I have and ask for more every day. I guess what I’m saying is that my appreciation for wisdom has deepened as I have aged.
Proverbs 3:13 “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold”
4. The loss of youth. Truly, I look back at my youth and while it was fun to be young, I wouldn’t want to go back to that for anything. This is where it’s at, man.
5. Older kids. Sure, I loved my years of having babies; it was wonderful! But this time in my life when my kids are older and can take care of themselves is so, so sweet.
6. Health. I have been so blessed with great health. Even though I am less bendy than I used to be, I am loving my sense of well being.
7. Freedom from pleasing others. This one took me longer than necessary to get to. But I am blessed to have learned that if pleasing others is my goal in life I will never succeed. If pleasing God and honoring the path that I believe He set me on is my goal then I can’t fail!
8. Wrinkles. You know what? I don’t mind my wrinkles. They are a mark of honor and a blessing. I think of them as well earned. They are my beauty lines.
“And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows!” Audrey Hepburn
9. Being established. It seemed like the last 3 decades of life were about establishing ourselves. My husband built his career and I worked on homeschooling my kids and my writing. In the past couple of years we have felt that the groundwork has been laid and now we can move forward with more strength. Although I don’t know if it needed to take this long….I am glad to be there.
10. Confidence. It took a lot of loss and heartbreak to learn where my confidence lies….in Christ and Christ alone. I will fall and fail and mess up and blunder my way through life. It’s when I am able to stop leaning on my own strength and use His strength that I find a deep sense of confidence. The older I get, the easier that is to do.
11. More suffering behind me = More Joy. I learned a long time ago that suffering adds great joy to your life because it draws you nearer to God and you lean more on Him and less on yourself. After 50 years I have had my share of suffering and I can say that I am all the better for it!
“Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties.” Charles Spurgeon
12. Body image. My body went south long ago and I stopped trying to hide it. After many pregnancies and years of gaining and losing weight, stretch marks and saggy places abound on my body. And you know what? I don’t care one bit.
13. Laughter. I laugh more easily than I used to. I have always taken myself much too seriously and that has changed as I have gotten older. I will probably always be a bit OCD, but now I find it funny.
14. I lose things and I don’t care. The old thinker ain’t what it used to be. I had something in my hand a minute ago and now it’s gone….sometimes forever. But I don’t stress it like I used to. It’s just stuff.
15. Stories. The more time that passes the more fun stories I have to tell. Accidentally wetting myself little when I laugh too hard with my girlfriends has happened to me more than a few times….it just gives me more to laugh about.
16. Dancing. I have always wanted to learn to do the jive, so I am teaching myself through YouTube videos. I may show you someday. I even have a few hip hop moves thrown in. You’re never too old to learn new things!
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Walt Disney
17. Going to bed early. As I age I find it harder and harder to stay up late and you know what? I don’t care what I’m missing. I’m tired.
18. Discounts. Yep. This came in the mail….
19. Confidence for my kids. I love how it boosts their confidence in being adults and helping out their old mom. It’s positively adorable when they look like they want to pat me on the head.
20. Looking like myself. I can color my hair if I want or wear clothes that don’t match exactly or buy myself odd shaped glasses and just embrace being me! I used to think about others when I got dressed, but now I just think about what I want to look like for myself.
21. Helping younger women. Like it or not, I am generally the older woman in the group and I love putting Titus 2 into action.
Titus 2:3-5 “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
22. Loving others. As I age I find that I love others more. I sympathize and care more deeply and forgive more easily.
23. Shaking off negativity. Even though I forgive, I also more easily give myself permission to let go of toxic people. I love them and want them to have joy-filled lives. But I don’t let their negativity bring me down and sometimes that means letting people go.
24. No more rat race. I am free of the idea that I have to keep up with anyone or do anything by tomorrow. I just do what I can when I can.
25. Gluten-Free! My mid-life enzymes aren’t what they used to be. I eat more carefully and frankly, I feel better than I have in years!
26. Loving my bones. As long as I am eating better, I am also exercising. My bones need it and I am loving my quiet time that naturally goes with my daily workout.
27. I know who my friends are. I have gained and lost many friends over the past 50 years. Some have been deeply painful losses and others came and went so quickly that I hardly noticed. But all in all I have learned something from each person and I am better for it. And I have learned to recognize a true friend and to trust my instincts.
“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” Maya Angelou
28. No more oats. I don’t feel like sowing any of those wild oats anymore. Been there; done that. Now I get to reap the harvest of my life. Sure I will change things about myself in a million ways and try new things. But I don’t have a sense of a life unexplored.
29. Cleansing. I am ready to get rid of all of the junk sitting around that isn’t serving my life. I don’t see any more reason to hang onto old stuff, but instead I am ready to open my world up to a clean space.
30. No more jumping I do like jumping, but I can’t do it anymore. (see #15). That’s OK. I can still jump with joy on the inside. Some things you just have to accept. Life’s too short to wish for things you just can’t do.
31. More to give. The more I grow and accomplish the more I have to give to others. I love, love, love helping others and I think my 50s are going to be my decade for giving and I can.not.wait!
Hebrews 13:16 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
32. Marriage strength. After being married for nearly 29 years, I can say that it is better than ever. We have a rhythm and understand each other. Well, maybe not understand as much as accept. And we’re still frisky. Longevity in marriage is an incredible blessing!
33. Oblivious. I see the award shows or hear a song and I don’t recognize any of the artists or actors. Unless it’s Meryl Streep or Robert De Niro I am lost. And I don’t really care to find out who they are because I have other things to do that are more interesting to me. I just let my kids load new songs on my iPhone (see #19) and leave it at that.
34. Being a real grown up. Maybe I am the only one, but I always felt like a kid pretending to be a grown up. Until now. Being 50 gives me permission to say I am all adult and proud of it. But I still act silly….don’t mistake being a grown up with never having fun. I have the BEST kind of carefree FUN!
35. I remember the 70s. I actually remember wearing bell bottoms and watching Sonny & Cher and the day Elvis died. I am blessed to have lived in a time when there were no cell phones and no Internet and life was simpler.
36. Still young. While I am not young in the sense of years, I am still able to learn to do new things and figure out how to use the Facebook. I really have the best of both worlds!
37. No more “lady days.” It may be TMI, so men, if you’re reading, just skip this one, m’kay? Ladies, I have passed through the menopause years and it is AWESOME!!! No more cycles and I am loving this. It wasn’t easy though….I have deep sympathies for those of you going through the change now.
38. Travel. I have always wanted to travel and couldn’t for various reasons. Now that I am in this phase of my life I can do more traveling and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Waiting for so long makes me thankful even for the parts that are less enjoyable, like being frisked by an airport security officer or squeezed on a plane. I like every little part of it after waiting for so long to be able to do it.
39. Knowing the Word of God. With this much time to study, I ought to know a lot about what the Bible says. I read it every day and I have been through years of BSF. All of that has equipped me to have a better understanding of who God is and how He wants me to view the world. I am looking forward to another 50 years to study and learn even more about the nature and love of God!
40. The grass is green on MY side. Looking at what everyone else is doing and comparing it to your life is for the birds. I like it on my side of the fence. I don’t even look on the other side anymore.
“Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged” Helen Keller
41. Finances are easier. We aren’t loaded, but it’s been a long time since I had to count every penny at the grocery store. I learned a lot from those days in my life, but I sure am glad they are behind me.
42. I wear any underwear that I want. I feel no pressure to wear anything that creeps up my behind or makes me look attractive underneath. My granny panties serve me just fine, thankyouverymuch.
43. I don’t need to win. I used to be more competitive and I wanted to win games and push my way to the front of the line. Now I chill. I enjoy the time in line and I am happy if I in or lose. I don’t care at all….that drive to win just went away as I aged. And I am so glad. (but don’t worry, if we are partners in a game I will still be fun to play with!)
44. I like lifting others UP! There are very few things I enjoy more than helping another woman reach the height of her dreams. If there is any way that a word or boost from me can help….I am all over that! Seeing other women succeed, unlike the envy years of my 20s, brings me great joy!
45. I still love the movie “Grease”. I know…it has a terrible message and doesn’t reflect anything I believe. But I can’t help it. 37 years after seeing it for the first time (I’ll bet I saw it 20 times at the theater the year it came out because back then you couldn’t watch it on DVD 2 months later) I still can’t hold myself back from dancing when I hear those songs. Hey! Maybe I’ll do my jive (see #16) to “We Go Together”.
47. Early mornings. The older I get the earlier I naturally wake up in the morning. I don’t know if that’s true for everyone, but I sure do love seeing the sunrise!
48. Playing with makeup. I have enjoyed discovering and trying new things from the makeup department. My aging skin needs care and I like beauty products and I’m a sucker for those bright promises. It’s a delightful indulgence that I’ve enjoyed even more as I get older. And I have more time for my skin care at night too, since my kids can put themselves to bed (usually long AFTER I go to sleep).
49. I am calmer. I don’t get as upset over little things and I calm down more quickly when I do get irritated. If getting older has taught me anything, it would be that life is too short to fuss over little messes and disappointments. I’ll probably never be completely easy-going, but I am definitely more relaxed than I used to be and I have hope of chillin’ even more in the future.
50. More life ahead! I have so much left to live and I am acutely aware of the preciousness of every day. I can see that the 50s are going to be fabulous. Not because this time in life is trouble-free, but because it is a blessing to be alive and know who I am in Christ!
The little girl I was 50 years ago would never have believed that this was her future. Nine children, homeschooling (of course, who heard of homeschooling 50 years ago?!), obsessed with natural health care and living in an old house on a little farm…it’s crazy that this is my life!
It’s better and richer than anything I would have dreamed for myself!