50 is the New – 50

Old woman pouring tea, unknown artist, 19th ce...

Image by Black Country Museums via Flickr

Well today is the day. I turn the big 5-0. And you know what? Nothing happened. I don’t look any different than I did yesterday.  I don’t feel any different than I did last month, or last year. I feel as though I SHOULD care about turning 50 – but I kind of don’t. In fact – despite my jokes about my advancing age, I welcome turning 50.

I have to admit it feels a little bit freaky. My mother died when she was 51. Her mother died at 56. That’s cutting things a bit too close to home. But I’m blessed in that I seem to have taken after my father’s more long-lived side of the family. I don’t have the illnesses that plagued my mother and her mother and for that I am so thankful.

Another odd thing is realizing that many of my colleagues and coworkers are younger than my children. Now THAT is weird. These folks are writing equations on white boards that I can’t even begin to comprehend, and I want to ask them if they have their cell phones and AAA cards with them.

But as I was telling my boss yesterday, Mark Ivie, COO of M*Modal, age for me has meant credibility. Being 5’2”, female, and – ahem – prone to getting excited about things, I’ve been called “spitfire” in my life more times than I can count. I’m pretty sure no man presenting a passionate argument has ever had to hear, “you’re a real little fire-cracker, aren’t you.”  So I suppose I’m hoping that a few wrinkles will stop the head-patting.

But most of all, I’ve come to appreciate the value of the knowledge that only age and its accompanying experience can bring. I’m taking classes these days and have come to understand that I learn more in one morning spent with colleagues and friends who are even more “experienced” than I – than I do in a whole semester’s worth of classes. And they don’t charge nearly as much per credit.

And as long as I am on the subject of classes – here’s to all the women of “experience” who are back in school! How wonderful is it that there are so many of us? And how fun is it to be reminded that your younger classmates, despite brains and energy and how good they look in jeans, can’t hold a candle to the more “experienced” students when it comes to class discussions?

One thing that does bother me about turning 50 is that I am behind on my “goals.” It might surprise some of you to learn that I’m just a little bit hard on me when it comes to expectations I’ve set for myself. I’ll cut anyone in the world some slack – except me. But you know what? Nothing has exploded. Nothing disappeared. Nothing fell off.  Absolutely nothing changed because I didn’t achieve a certain milestone “by the time I turn 50.”

So lesson learned. If I didn’t hit some goal by age 50 – so what? I’ll hit it by the end of the second 50 years – and just imagine how smart I’ll be by then.  🙂

All the best as always,


4 Responses

  1. Happy birthday. And nothing wrong with being a “spitfire,” but I do agree that it would be nice to not have the head patting. 🙂 Enjoy your day and enjoy the wisdom that comes with age. It’s actually something to celebrate.

    • Thank you Kathy! And you know, you’re right. I should embrace my spitfire-hood and kick ’em in the knee. 😉

  2. Now I do believe you have a plan! 🙂

  3. Hmmm, turning forty was an eye opener for me, I found out that I was meant to be a old soul, albeit someone with a lot of spirit and enthusiasm, I always used to think that fifties would be scary, especially for women, but on reading your post I am feeling better. So thanks for the candid post and here is wishing you Happy Birthday! and hoping to see you on your 100th too!

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