Skip to main content

Reflections on Aging: Live the Life You Desire

Deborah is a writer, healer, and teacher. Her goal is to help people live their best lives every day by sharing her joy and love of life.

I Wanna Be a Cowgirl

It's never too late to be what you might have been. Even if you're fifty and wear bifocals!

It's never too late to be what you might have been. Even if you're fifty and wear bifocals!

Turning 50

On June 6, 2018, I turned 50. I'm planning to live to 111, so you'd think it would be no big deal. I'm not even halfway there yet. But, I am kind of freaking out. Fifty jumped out like one of my kids from behind a door. It caught me off guard.

I hate to admit it, but I feel old. All my friends, students and clients assure me that getting older is just a number, and old age is a mindset. But when I think about the big 5-0, my blood runs cold.

It's not necessarily the bifocals. It's not the new wrinkles, that seem to appear every day. It's not the sagging stretch marks, the memory loss, or the night sweats. It's a feeling that I haven't done enough.

I started counting down sometime in my forties. When I began the countdown, I had 69 years remaining. With every birthday, that number dwindles. The number of years I have to do something important, to make a difference goes down each year, and I feel like there is so much left undone.

I'm not quite halfway, but I haven't yet done everything I want. I still feel good, so I guess I'd better get to the hiking, camping, traveling and writing. Turns out, we don't last forever.

Update

I turned fifty a few years ago. It's been almost a handful of years, now.

Looking back at the goals I'd set for that year, when I turned fifty: I did get a colonoscopy and a mammogram, both of which came back normal. I also got my "twins" a little face lift. They'd been looking at my feet for years, and the sagging, drooping skin became more pronounced after I lost about thirty pounds. So the girls got a little lift. Now, instead of staring forlornly at the floor, they cheerfully look forward ;)

I lost about twenty pounds before my fiftieth birthday, then lost another ten or so. That has fluctuated downward, but I've maintained the initial weight loss and I feel much better physically.

I did run for public office, which turned out to be a disaster. You can read that article here: Dismembered By a Political Hack Job.

I finished my fourth book, but not the one I'd referenced above. Actually, I turned 50 in 2018. I didn't finish the fourth book until June, 2021. And to be honest, that book, a 700-page novel, isn't quite finished. I'm currently working on the edit and re-write. "Opportunity Knocks Again" is on the back-burner while I also work on a humorous memoir, "Panties and Politics."

Birthday Goals

My First Melt Down

Me at 18 (in the pink, holding my oldest daughter!) Breakdown number one was imminent.

Me at 18 (in the pink, holding my oldest daughter!) Breakdown number one was imminent.

In My 20's

My first age-related melt down came when I turned 20. With a two-year old daughter and a baby on the way, I had already been married nearly three years. I was nearly finished earning my Associates Degree in Science, and I had a job. Living the American Dream.

Suddenly, when I turned 20, I realized that it was time to grow up. Strange, but it never occurred to me before. I guess, since I was a teenager, I thought I could get away with a lot more. Now, turning 20 meant I couldn't blame my stupid choices on anyone else but me.

It was a rude awakening. No more foot-loose and fancy free. Not that I ever was. No more head in the clouds (actually, my head is still in the clouds.) No more fun. No more hair-brained ideas. Now, it was time to grow up. The idea terrified me. I was no longer a kid.

Some might argue that getting married and having children indicates it's time to grow up, but I didn't let that stop me from being immature. Turning 20, however, felt like a bucket of ice water over my head. I cried at the "loss of my youth."

Seriously though, I had a crying fit when I turned 20. I lost my cool. I sobbed. My daughter likely thought I'd lost my marbles. My husband knew I'd lost my marbles. But inside, I thought it was all over, but the crying.

Little did I know that sometimes, things can and do get worse.

The Thirties

In my late 20's with kids #3 and #4, Jessica and Deirdre. Heading into the drudgery of the thirties.

In my late 20's with kids #3 and #4, Jessica and Deirdre. Heading into the drudgery of the thirties.

Me and my baby brother Mike, during my mid-30's. And his baby Mason.

Me and my baby brother Mike, during my mid-30's. And his baby Mason.

Thirties Drudgery

My thirties was a long, slow decade. I learned a lot. I spent most of those years working hard, making little money and having lots of babies.

Those were the longest, hardest years of my life. I put my dreams of writing on the back shelf. I put my head down and worked hard, rarely thinking of the future. I could only focus on the moment at hand.

Lost in a haze of homeschooling, diaper changing, waiting tables and working as a landscaper, there seemed no end in sight. It was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.

I felt desperate and hopeless during my thirties. There seemed to be no way out of the deep, dark depression in which I found myself. I felt like my life hit rock bottom, and there was nowhere else to go.

My kids weren't the problem. My husband wasn't the problem. My many jobs weren't the problem. Poverty wasn't the problems. Sure, in a day-to-day sense, I could blame everything wrong on one or more of those issues. The truth is, I was the problem. I lost myself and I didn't know how to get me back.

Forty and Finally Growing Up

I found myself in my forties, and grew a spine.

I found myself in my forties, and grew a spine.

After i turned forty, I learned how to be happy.

After i turned forty, I learned how to be happy.

What I Learned at Forty

At forty, I finally grew a spine and learned how to be happy. It was a process that didn't happen overnight. It took a combined effort from the previous twenty years. The school of Hard Knocks taught me a thing or two, and by the time I was forty, I was ready to learn.

I took all the lessons and misery of the previous years, rolled them into a big ball, then threw the ball in the trash. Time for a cool change. Time for something new. Time to move on.

At forty, I learned that I am in control of my life. I am not a victim. I can choose happiness in any moment. I stopped living my life to make other people happy, and I began living the life of my dreams.

I learned in my forties that I am a creator. I can create the life I want every day. Not everyday is sunshine and roses and chocolates in bed. Some days, like today, you accidentally catch the dryer on fire and nearly burn the house down.

What you learn, as you grow is what truly matters. People matter. Stuff, not so much. You can always get more stuff. You can always leave stuff behind. You can always find better stuff. People are irreplaceable. Relationships matter. Touching lives, healing hearts, mending fences, those things matter.

What Matters Now

Let Your Light Shine!

Let Your Light Shine!

Experience your life to the fullest!

Experience your life to the fullest!

Lessons Learned

Now, as I approach 50, I try to focus on what's important. I try to let go of all the little stuff and embrace the people in my life. I'm no expert. I still yell at my kids. I still interrupt. I still get mad when the Universe doesn't spin the way I think it should. I still get my knickers in a twist when the gas station doesn't carry Junior Mints.

Be that as it may. At least now, I can see (usually) when I'm getting spun up, and I can attempt to get off the crazy train. I can admit when I'm mistaken (rarely.) I can speak my truth and honor myself. I can let go of my crazy body image problems (maybe.)

At fifty, I'm learning that the important things are not things, but people. We are all spiritual beings on an earthly journey. There is so much more than just this life. There is a bigger picture, and I want to embrace the flow every moment I possibly can.

As Ebenezer Scrooge says at the end of the movie, A Christmas Carol, "I want to live."

So let this be my treatise on life. Let's embrace the time we have left, whether it's 50 or 100 years, or two days. Let's make the most of the time we have left. And let's remember what's important.

Halfway There

I've been planning a half-way there party. As I said at the outset of this article, I plan to live to 111. This year, 2022, I'll be 54. In December, I'll be halfway between 54 and 55, halfway to my goal of 111.

I think this year is an opportunity to look at where I've been, where I am and where I want to go next.

Every single one of us is somewhere along the spectrum toward the end of the road. Whether it's a birthday, a new year, or just another day, it's important to do some self-evaluation.

Where have you been? Where are you now? Where would you like to be? It is never too late to be the person you want to be, to live the life you want to have, and to do the things you want to do.

Now is the only moment we have to be the person we've always wanted to be. Take a deep breath. Stand up tall. Go do one thing in the direction of your dreams. Take one step toward the person you've always wanted to be.

Namaste, friends

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Deborah Demander

Related Articles