If 50 failed to get you, why the focus on age?


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If turning 50 was fatal, why are we still languishing around in our sixties and seventies now?  What’s the deal?  Hitting ’50’ didn’t ruin your life? You’re kidding me, right? Surprise, surprise, we did survive that infamous 50th birthday!

So where were you at 50?

Was is it a party you had or a pity party?

Is 50 still way ahead of you, then bear with us.  It’ll be here sooner than you’d think.  Trust me on that.  You might need to read this.

 

 

 

If you had children back then, at 50 your kids were probably right in the middle of their college years (if they went). That had to bring some relief, right?  Wrong.

Whoever told us things were going to get easier when our kids grew up was a big liar.  The trouble that they can find themselves amidst in early adulthood is exponentially more life altering.  Ask any parent of a child gone astray.

It’s been interesting looking back in this AGE series.  My goal wasn’t to focus on each stage negatively but to bring a more honest view of both the pros and cons of all ages.  We tend to forget the bad and focus on the good.  That works, except when we’re fantasizing, about life when we were significantly younger.  We all do it.

What rings true for me here about my life, is that my fifties went by in a flash!  

One minute they were here and next time I thought about being 50, the big 60 loomed!

We’ve discussed being 5, 10, 20, 30, 40 and now it’s time to seriously look at 50.

If you missed any of the previous discussions on various ages, take a look.  It seemed especially fun to go back to being 5,10 or 20 and view it once again from those eyes.

Check it out: Top reasons twenty-somethings have it made in the shade

Now at fifty, my life seemed to be gaining, not losing momentum.  Still running 3 miles a day and swimming quite a ways, it was busy.   My three children were living their lives and moving in different but good directions.  Well, I’m stretching the truth.  Not always.  But then again, who’s life was ALWAYS going in the right direction?!  They were finding their paths, not the paths I thought were best, but their paths nonetheless.  Did I ever have the luxury of not worrying about them, NO!  Do you ever stop?  Not the parents I knew then or now.

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I was laid off for the first time in my life around 52, and that was truly unpleasant. It sucked!

The thought of reinventing my career at that age seemed daunting.

The technology was changing rapidly and the struggle to stay relevant, was constant.  Just at the point, I was dreaming about retiring sometime in the next 5-10 years; it was imperative to ramp up my knowledge base.  Don’t you hate it when that happens?

I’m rather certain other people relished this newfound joy (NOT) of job displacement at a later age, as well.

But love had found me once again, and there was my “best buddy” to enjoy the beauty of life and help manage the “not so wonderful” times.  My parents were still doing relatively well, and their death wasn’t something I had to think about much, at least not yet.

Right now, as I sit here with coffee in hand and looking at 61 in two months, yes, my fifties might well have been some of my finest times.  Everything I lost in my divorce such as; companionship, love, security, family ties, all seemed to be back in my life. Now, in a blended family with five adult children and grandchildren, that intensely comforting sense of belonging, had resurfaced.

How about you?

Are you 50 and reasonably content with it?  

Do you have all the options you hoped?

Should you?

Maybe not.  Maybe what makes life interesting is the challenges.

Aren’t we blessed to have worries, have people we care about, lives that flow?

 

 

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It seems like one of the things we all wrestle with as we age, is our ever present self-critique.

What have we accomplished?

What will they say about us when we’re gone?

Well, to hell with that.  

We won’t be there and who cares.

We care.

We don’t want to be known for our mistakes, do we?

 

 

 

What should matter when it comes to our legacy?

Did we give it our all?

Did we love our kids and friends and family with all our heart?

It’s funny, but we find so many reasons to look up to others with more of an acclaimed resume.  If only I’d done something fantastic.  Started a company that became Google or invented something.  If only I could sing like her or act instinctively or better yet write a novel that rocked.

It doesn’t occur to us that those highly successful people have personal demons too.  Just as many sad days, worry, wonder, self-doubt.  Money doesn’t stifle your inner voice, neither does perfect plastic surgery. Look at the famous utterly talented people who leave us so young.  Robin Williams, and on and on.

But, there’s no getting around it.  What was implanted in our brains through years of endless repetition, well, it tends to override all attempts at a ‘reset.’  It may tell us we can buy this house now, but it doesn’t say “aww, you’re such a neat lady, you deserve only the best, everyone loves you!”  Of course not.  Why do we do that thing, berate ourselves?

Because no matter who we are or where we’re from or how much we own, we’re just these mortal beings with friends, enemies, talents, faults, warts and all.  Who knows why, but most of us are our own worst critic.

Containment is all we can hope for.  Keep those voices under control.

For me, 50 brought with it new beginnings in my life and yet, still some severe disappointments.  But the older I get, my appreciation for each day, each memory, each muscle that works without pain, simply overrides my sense of disappointment in any and all of my shortcomings.  And, if you believe that in it’s entirety, I’ve got some land in Florida you should buy!  Funny but my first job at about 16, was being a phone call solicitor for a land company operation in FL (the place was closed down before my 1st check could be cashed)

Thank you, God, the struggle is still so real! 

At 50 if you don’t decide this is it, this IS the best it gets, then when will you LIKE life or yourself?

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That scene in “As Good As It Gets,” where Jack Nicholson looks at the unhappy clients in his psychiatrist’s waiting room and asks – “Is this as good as it gets?”

Well, I’m afraid Jack it is.

The problem is US, the more I think about it.

We wouldn’t know a stellar life if it hit us smack on the head.  I’m scolding myself here.

Or – maybe if we’d stop always wanting more from everything and everyone, life would seem as good as we deserve.

We’re all guilty of unfulfilled needs and desires based on false promises of happiness.

When we look around at the suffering in our world, the injustice, the terror, it all sounds so damn trivial to think about our age.  Aren’t we the lucky ones to have aches and pains still, to sit with family for the fourth of July or argue with our neighbor about politics?

Right now, my middle daughter, Emily, is expecting in about six weeks. (YEAH!)  She asked me to fill out a little book with answers to questions for this new precious, anxiously awaited, baby boy.  Answers he may someday want about his Nana’s life growing up, etc.

Previously here, we also spoke about the importance of interviewing our parents.

This is another method of preserving such timeless information.  Look here: Irreplaceable Last-Look Interviews

All of this talk has made me think how much is lost in translation.  How so many of these pages I’d be thrilled to have answered by my mom or dad.  Or better yet by their mom or dad, my great-grandparents.

There’s an expression – “Youth is wasted on the young.”  Is it?   I’m sure we all took for granted so much as we made our way, but as this series has illustrated, every age brought with it a variety of concerns, worries, and frustrations.

Nothing is more real than the trials of the moment.  

To a kindergartener that first day of school is ominous!

May your life be as simple as merely going forward after 50.   May it be as enriched in appreciation for what you’ve endured and learned.

In the meantime, do tell us what you hated about your fifties and what kept you smiling?

Many times a year, I remember my dear friends who were lost before they reached their sixties.  

Don’t we wish we had 50 more opportunities to hear them, to hold them, to see their smile?

One of those dear, dear friends used to say every time we hung up – ‘Love you more’

To Jolene, THANK YOU for times you helped me to stop worrying.  You helped me grasp what was “age-appropriate” behavior for my kids.   To have the inner confidence that they would grow up and make their way just fine, better than fine!

Love YOU more-

Make it a 50+ delightful day

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