It's 50 time!

My favorite show is back on for the summer. Have you seen “Men of a Certain Age?” It’s about 3 men facing midlife and the everyday life crises, both good and bad. If you haven’t watched it, give it a try.

Anyway, recently,  a very good friend of ours celebrated his 50th birthday at his and his partner’s beach house on the Florida Panhandle. They invited about 30 of their closest friends, and organized all kinds of special events, including a beach bonfire and a catered shrimp boil with dancing, a day of beach olympics, and more…

In looking around at these people, all hovering around the mid-late 40’s to late 50’s, it struck me how youthful “midlife” has become.  It seems that life has not worn away the physical or mental facilities as it once seemed to.  I remember seeing my friends’ parents whenI was a kid and considering them fossils.  My own parents, on the other hand, were way cooler, Mom in her long blonde fall (clip on hair) and mini dress, Dad in his Nehru shirt and glue-on mustache.

Although I am now a card-carrying member of AARP (and carry their group health insurance for all us old farts), and have, unashameadly, nodded my head when asked if I get the Senior Discount at the grocery store on Wednesdays, I consider myself a far cry from “Old”.

Hearing aides? Got ’em! NOT because I’m losing my hearing in Old Age, but because my brother had a rock band that practiced  in our rec room next to my bedroom, and I’ve been partially deaf since high school. Besides, my “little helpers” are neon green (the green meanies) and I consider myself a trend-setter with them.

But I digress. Back to the birthday weekend. I look around at this group of physically fit, perfectly groomed, emotionally stable guys and girls, and it is obvious that life is what we  make it, we’re as young (or old) as we feel, yadda yadda yadda.

"Sarong 40's"

So as I helped  my friend say “Sarong 40’s, Hello, 50’s” –yes, sarongs were mandatory for all on the last night– I was struck by how young we are in our middle years, and how numbers just don’t seem to mean that much anymore.  Samuel Ullman once said  “Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years.  We grow old by deserting our ideals.  Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”

I love this quote! Love It! And I, for one, among many of you, I suspect, refuse to let a calendar dictate how I feel, act, or think. In fact, 50, for me, marked a rebirth of enthusiasm for life, for living, for enjoying what is yet to come.  What are your thoughts on aging? Will you allow time to kick your ass, or will you kick back?

Happy 51st B-day to ME!

This weekend I celebrated another birthday. It wasn’t a milestone birthday, like a 40th 0r 50th, but the way I look at it, anything over 50 is a milestone to me.

There was a point in my life, say between 14 and mid 20’s, that I didn’t really consider the possibilities of celebrating an age that advanced. In my teens, 50 seemed ancient!  Of course, at that time, most of the 50  y.o. women that I knew had grey hair and were on the matronly side. (with the exception of my mother, who had bright blonde hair, deeply tanned-skin and spent the majority of her time on the golf course.)  they had lived hard lives (remember, I am from rural Appalachia).  Many were stay-at-home Moms and even grandmothers who tuned-in to their “stories” faithfully every day and had dinner on the table by 6. They doted on their families, putting their own needs on the low-priority rung of the ladder. Living life seemed to be over for them. I just never saw that as my future.

Me, 17 years old

Today, I can say in all honesty, that the great majority of my peers are a far cry from those women. Today’s 50 year old woman likely has a career. She has a college education, possibly an advanced degree, and is perfectly capable of supporting herself. Many of my peers have made the personal decision not to have children. They stay in shape and are concerned about their health. The old adge “50 is the new 40” is true, really it is.

But for me, turning 50 last year impacted me more than just keeping that youthful feeling.  After climbing that mountain to get where I was headed, both figuratively and physically, I now look back on the past year and see some of the meaningful ways my life has changed. I’ve opened myself up to new experiences involving past history, mainly through facebook, as well as letting go of obstacles that held me back (i.e, unresolved resentments, allowing myself to forgive, and accepting that “it is what it is”.)

Facing my fears

In climbing these mountains and crossing these streams, I am finding that the road ahead actually looks manageable.  There will always be detours, I have no doubt,  and I know when the terrain gets too steep, I’m going to need a hand up, and will welcome the help.  Now I see a new frontier ahead, one that looks inviting, challenging, and most of all, welcoming.

I hope that this year brings you new frontiers, as well!

Happy Birthday, HK!

Happy Birthday, HK!

Today is HK’s birthday!! To celebrate, we went down to the beach in Alabama–the REAL Redneck Riviera!  He forgot his cut-offs, so we had to duck into a little surf-shop to get him a swimsuit. He was real excited to find this one (more…)