Gracefully turning 50 in a 20-something world.
By Karen Fuller Beck
I turned 50 recently—50, 50, 50. Let’s see: that’s the number of cent it takes to make a great hip-hop artist; the number of ways to leave your lover—so I’ve heard; the number of shades of grey that, well, never mind. I have recently learned that it also represents the age at which one receives an unsolicited AARP card. Now THAT was a drag.
I guess there’s no denying my age, since I can remember being 10 years old and dancing around my living room to the songs of The Defranco Family. Yes, people. I’m of a mature age. I know this because the rest of you are going to have to go Google The Defranco Family to know what the heck I’m talking about since you are probably not a child of the 70s.
Would I like to be 20 again? Absolutely not! I love the experience and self-assuredness maturity brings. I truly love that I don’t spend time worrying about what people think of me—most of the time—but I’ll tell you a simple home truth: I’d take a 20-year-old’s tight abs and firm butt over my pear shaped body any day of the week.
Just in case my AARP membership didn’t make me feel every year of my middle age, there’s the fact that I have on my coffee table a magazine that’s all about preventing things. A monthly designed to help its readers live a healthier lifestyle as time marches on. I found information on managing a number of conditions such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis and dryness in places women don’t want be dry. Oh, and they’ve got a great recipe for carrot bran muffins too! I actually tried it and it really is good—so moist…
Oooookay. Now I really sound ancient. When did the conversation of the day become about brittle bones and low-carb baked goods? What happened to more important issues like whether it would be better to be a Spartan woman for the opportunity to fondle Gerard Butler’s abs? Or Angelina Jolie as Laura Croft because she looks hot while kicking the butt of every bad guy she encounters?
How many 50-year-old women have children in elementary school? There probably aren’t a whole lot of them. I’ll be 60 when my kids graduate from high school and my knees creek as I jog up park steps to get my exercise on. You know what, though, that’s OK because I LOVE my life. This is my ENCORE performance on this earth and I’ve got great things to contribute to the world. We all do. I’m committed to living authentically and striving every day to contribute something positive to this world.
I’ve got the reins firmly in my grasp and I’m riding full out, making the most of my life at every age, at every stage. Come to my house and you’ll likely find me squealing with laughter while playing Wii games with my kids. I love the stolen moments I get with my husband when we park in our driveway late into the evening after date night. We can be found reclined in our seats, enjoy yet another brilliant YouTube video by Snarky Puppy on my husband’s cell phone. The sitter can have a few more bucks. This is just too cool. These days, I’m going for gold with my new writing career. Who knows, I just might win one of the essay contests I’ve entered. Then it’s on to the Oscars! It’s never too late to pursue your dreams.
So yeah, I’ve got a few extra pounds on my hips and a few grey hairs on my head. Maybe if I was 25 or 30 years old, I would bounce back a bit better the morning after my kids’ frequent middle of the nightmares, but I’m here to tell you that 50 feels fine. It’s true that I’ll be the ripe old age of 60 when my triplets graduate from high school, but I plan to celebrate by going skydiving.
Like my man Mark Frost said, “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intentions of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow, what a ride!’”
How will YOU celebrate the milestones of your life?