We tend to celebrate our 18th Birthday, our 21st Birthday, and our 30th Birthday… and by the time we hit the day of our 40th Birthday, we tend to have a rather ’normal’ celebration. Perhaps with the odd sprinkled mumbling about “mid-life crisis” and the like, but other than that, ‘normal’.
But our 50th! This, our 50th Birthday, we want to welcome with a Bang! Why is this? Perhaps it is because by now we think less about having arrived at a mid-point in our lives, and more about what to do with it.
It could also have something to do with the beauty of the number 50, it being exactly half of 100, a century. There is an exquisite symmetry attached to both of these numbers. And we don’t need to look at life as “being over the hill” or us as having peaked. Rather we want to congratulate ourselves for having done the arduous climbing. Time to enjoy the view?
The Expectation: A Time to Celebrate
Looking back at my 50th birthday (I don’t have to look that far ;-)) I was definitely celebrating my life, my achievements, my friends and everything I had and was at that point. I truly felt that I had conquered the mountain. And although I figured there were some luxury hospitality peaks (my former career) still out there for me to explore, I stayed focused on the true celebration. At 50 it came without the anxiety of the teenage years and the adult fixation on what to do in life and how to best do it.
I truly felt I had arrived. I had a genuine and solid romantic and intimate relationship with my husband and equally genuine and solid connections with my family and friends. I had climbed the career ladder and reached as high as I could have ever imagined although as said, I was kind of looking towards the horizon. In short, I had both stability and excitement in life.
The Truth: Time to Keep Changing
So there I was, at my peak. At 50, getting ready to simply enjoy the fruits of my labors by continuing to plant, sow and harvest, to labour a little bit more, eating the fruits also. When highly unexpected changes started to happen and I was, ever so gradually, guided away from my corporate high profile job.
Utterly surprised and feeling that I had slid off the mountain and ended up on the floor of a remote and strange valley. For a long time, trying to navigate through life, I felt as if I was lost in the wilderness, jagged unknown peaks all around me, piercing the still fluffy clouds.
Unbeknownst to me I had, fully unconsciously, stepped into a new phase of my life. And nobody had warned me that this might happen… that after 50 I might start to grow into who I truly am, blossom even, but that it would be painful.
So I do think it’s true that life starts after 50. Everything that went down before comes across as mere warm up, or rehearsal, although it was all fun.
So, here are 5 tips for making the most of it after 50:
Enjoy your body – focus on the enjoyment not the looks.
Make it your mission to rediscover joy – have fun, play, be childlike, find true self love. Be the fullest expression of yourself.
Know that you are growing – not just ‘growing older’ but transitioning into a Wise Woman.
Allow yourself to let go – of habits, people, beliefs, self-images… (feel free to add to the list) that no longer serve you.
Feel free – free to finally be who you truly are, a most luxurious hidden gift of the later years.
If we approach this life-transition-phase more consciously, we will find it easier to grow into to a new, freer relationship with our bodies and ourselves. Just know that awareness creates joy and that it is within your power to create the life that you want after 50.
The best is yet to come!
Food for your Soul is a regular column featuring short articles for moments of reflection – to look at life from a different perspective (should you choose to!). Invest a few minutes and allow your thoughts to ponder. Awareness creates choice.