Hell it’s January, my birthday was on the 3rd and as I stirred from my slumber I smiled inwardly and then buried my head into the pillow as it dawned on me it was another birthday a-g-a-i-n, another year older.
It comes around too quickly and it is the worst time of the year to have a birthday.
You are after all, just an afterthought following the excitement, stress and tension leading up to christmas.
The third of January was the festival of sleep day I probably should have stayed in bed but my domestic goddess heralded an early start to clean my house from top to bottom following christmas festivities.
A glass of champagne mid morning and I remembered that it is ‘Dry January”.
And, after the amount I had consumed over christmas ( I can only drink champagne, gin or vodka because of my sugar free diet, you can read more here, whoever thought of the idea of giving up alcohol for one month?
Here I am eleven days into the start of a new year and, like most women, contemplating what new year’s resolutions I should make and what goals I should lay down for myself.
I have decided the only resolution I am sticking to this year is keeping my journal updated more regularly.
The last few days have given me the opportunity to reflect on what it’s like to reach my 50’s.
I’m looking good for my age, I can still turn a head or two when you look at me from behind and I’m wearing sun glasses. It is only a number but it leaves me feeling like I haven’t quite lived up to my own expectations.
There is the lingering thought that I should have done more at this more than halfway stage of my life.
I feel restless, my children no longer need me as much as they did nor my husband for that matter, the family we have created with our children is no longer as tight knit as it once was.
Trying to get everyone to sit down and do something together as a family is becoming more infrequent.
I am in my early 50s, in a happy marriage (mostly) but I feel I am in danger of disappearing from view, I will be sixty in seven years, it’s out there, a time bomb slowly ticking and, is this really my lot?
I can understand what mid life crisis really means when men and women want to cut loose break free and pursue dreams, new adventures with new partners even.
Women who feel they’ve lost out on life being a wife, mother and work can be demanding and thankless on the best of us.
What does reaching your 50s really mean?
Could I accomplish more?
Is there anything left to do?
Your fifties is unlike any other age it is truly a milestone, you have blossomed into a mature woman, strong capable confident and independent.
You’ve gained experience from life’s mishaps, you’ve stumbled along the way but managed to get up and soldiered on.
You’ve made compromises, sacrifices even, at your own expense, you evaluate, examine every square inch of your life and although you may be lucky enough to have found your place in life’s rich pattern, you are still developing and learning but, confident where you are.
You realise that you can not be in control of your destiny and this is part of growing older.
I have spent some time getting to know myself, getting in touch with the inner me and I think this has a lot to do with the fact that I have ageing parents, one of whom suffered a mini stroke before christmas and my husband’s father who recently passed away.
You become more aware of your own mortality and that of others around you, the onset of old age, accidents and illness are potential life changers.
Losing loved ones, friends and family reminds us that death is but a short breath away.
Your fifties are about navigating your way around ailing parents, death, health issues, career,education and maybe divorce and new relationships.
You look at the footprint behind you and wonder, is this the life you wanted, did the the map get you to where you wanted to go, is this where you want to be?
If life has thrown a few curved balls at you, then, the question is, if not now then when?
In our youth obsessed culture, fifty seems to be a turning point, the juncture at which it feels like you are disappearing from view.
There is the realisation that time is passing quickly it is also marching right across your face, no amount of money spent on invigorating skin care and promises of age lifting and highlighting creams will change the fact that you are no longer fit for purpose.
The spin on the internet, in women’s magazines and the movie actresses looking glamourous and gorgeous only reinforces that the stigma of being over 50 is very real.
Too young to retire too old to start over?
Yet, in spite of this we come with a wealth of experience and knowledge, we are competent, reliable, trustworthy emotionally mature and capable.
Imagining your future over the age of 50 requires courage and imagination we can be physically, mentally and emotionally agile but we can’t predict what the future holds so we need to be adaptable and resilient to cope, we must have a willingness to be bold, step back take a fresh look at where we are and what we want as our needs change.
My fifties have come to symbolize a new starting point a launch pad into my 60s, a kind of starting over.
I feel that this is the year I must make changes, take that trip to Croatia on my own, travel to the US, on my own like I did when I was 19, try that mindfulness/meditation class I keep meaning to go to but seemingly make excuses for.
In our self-obsessed, self-prioritising and self-help culture it seems that I am forever questioning what I should be doing, am I doing the right thing and where I fit in when really all I need to be is bold, beautiful and forever audacious.