Reflections on Turning Fifty

Updated on May 14, 2018
Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah is a writer, healer, and teacher. Her goal is to help people live their best lives everyday 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! | Source

Turning 50

On June 6, 2018, I'll turn 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. Its 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.

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.

What I'm Doing For My 50th

1. Mammogram

2. Colonoscopy

3. Lose 20 Pounds

4. Run for Public Office

5. Finish Fourth Book

"Opportunity Knocks Again"

Birthday Goals

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My First Melt Down

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

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. | Source
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. | Source

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

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! | Source
Experience your life to the fullest!
Experience your life to the fullest! | Source

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.

Questions & Answers

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      • Deborah Demander profile imageAUTHOR

        Deborah Demander 

        4 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

        @Paula,

        I LOVE THIS! You are a brilliant woman. Thank you so much for sharing your love and wisdom.

        Namaste

      • Deborah Demander profile imageAUTHOR

        Deborah Demander 

        4 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

        @Nell Rose,

        Your comment made me smile! How silly we get, when everything is going right. Last night I was crying about all the stress I had. Then I realized it was all good stuff, that I wanted in my life. I created it myself! There was no need for crying, I am getting exactly what I want! Thanks for the reminder, to laugh and enjoy life!

        Namaste

      • fpherj48 profile image

        Paula 

        4 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

        Remember......with every year, we women become wiser, more refined & graceful, more peaceful & sensual. We know what we want and do not want & refuse to settle for less. Aging is an attitude and we carry it gracefully, becoming more and more attractive to everyone.

        A really special gift is ours when we enter the decade that begins with 70~~ We may declare any damned thing we please, when we wish and how we choose, without argument or back-talk from anyone!!! LIKE I JUST DID!! Peace, Paula

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        4 months ago from England

        When I hit 40 I cried. which was really stupid as 1, I was going on vacation to Greece the next day, 2, it was with a friend, and 3, the whole office bought me vacay stuff! LOL! Jeesh! now I am 58! where oh where did the time go? Have fun on your birthday!

      • Deborah Demander profile imageAUTHOR

        Deborah Demander 

        5 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

        @Peggy Woods,

        You are absolutely right! The days are flying by! I can't believe how fast time is travelling suddenly.

        I'm hoping to have a "halfway there" party when I'm 55, to celebrate life with my friends and loved ones while we're all still here.

        Namaste

      • Deborah Demander profile imageAUTHOR

        Deborah Demander 

        5 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

        @Eric Dierker, You crack me up! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

        I don't know what I'd do if I had a baby now. I might have more patience, but I'm kind of selfish at the moment.

        I love what you said about your yoga class. I look around me at all the middle aged moms at the track meets and basketball games, and then I realize that they are the thirty-somethings!

        Thanks,

        Namaste

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        5 months ago from Houston, Texas

        No one can stop the clock. Suddenly the older we get not only do the days fly by but also the weeks, months and dare I say the years. It sounds like you have discovered what is truly important in life. Enjoy the rest of your days with the friends and people you love.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        This had me cracking up. There I went and there I was and I have the T-Shirt to prove it. I cannot believe I was successful at raising children in my 20's and 30's. I was just a child myself.

        God saw the humor and gave me a baby in my fifties. Not bragging but just saying I am a great dad now. Perhaps my skinned up knees from soccer keep me young.

        I was in my oncology yoga session and thought how old everyone was. Then I realized half were younger than I.

      • Deborah Demander profile imageAUTHOR

        Deborah Demander 

        5 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

        @Finn Liam Cooper, Thanks for reading and commenting on my article. I appreciate your input. Congratulations on getting your graduate degree.

        Now it's time to start planning for the second half of your life!

        Wishing you all the best.

        Namaste

      • wpcooper profile image

        Finn Liam Cooper 

        5 months ago from Los Angeles

        Well you have a nice attitude and make some good points. I am going to turn fifty in two years and it is a bit frightening. thirty wasn't bad...forty was welcoming and my forties have been all right....getting a graduate degree, but fifty sounds a little frightening. I too plan to live well past 100....

      • Deborah Demander profile imageAUTHOR

        Deborah Demander 

        5 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

        @DredCuan,

        Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my article. And thank you for the kind words.

        Yes, age is just a number, and hopefully, we can all get a little bit wiser as the number gets a little larger!

        Namaste

      • dredcuan profile image

        Dred Cuan 

        5 months ago from California

        It's nice to know how people learn as they're getting a bit older. I think that's an important life lesson for everybody. Anyway, age is just a number. You still look younger than your age!

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