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Friday, March 13, 2009

Flying past 50, again

I am still trying to cheer up my dear sistergirlfriend. Let me say that she is not completely depressed. She may not even be depressed. She is just experiencing a teeny bit of anxiety about moving into the second (or may third) phase of her life. I found this advice at

1. Learn the power of letting go. When times get tough, picture how effortlessly chimps move through the trees. As they swing one arm forward, they let go with the other; they know they'll be able to grab the next branch. In your heart of hearts, so do you. (I could stand to learn this lesson now.)

2. Drop the game face. Most of us have learned to suffer silently. We're so accustomed to cushioning blows for everybody around us that we become grand masters of denial when it comes to our own uncertainties. Our culture calls this maturity; I call it dumb. Once you let that game face slip and admit the fears and frustrations that are endemic to a life do-over, you will discover a miraculous thing: You are not alone. So go ahead: Admit to the secret fears that bloom in the wee hours. It will assure a brighter day. (I know several people, including myself who should do this.)

3. Don't worry what people think -- really! It's a common claim at midlife that we're confident enough in our judgment and comfortable enough in our skin that we no longer worry about what people think. Well, yes, except we still diet toward a standard set by crazy-skinny Hollywood stars. We don't feel at ease at a big boardroom presentation unless we're wearing the right suit and shoes. That worry can affect not just outward appearance but psychological outlook.

Okay, sistergirlfriend I am finished giving you advice about something I know nothing about. I just need to be in the wings when it is my turn!


Ruthy Watson, Ph.D. said...

Sister girl, don't fret! 50 is Fabulous. Speaking through the voice of one who has just enter her Fabulous 50's I say life has just begun. Embrace it and run with all of the new energy that life has given you. It is all in how you look at it, and you've already had 50 good years, why not aim for 50 more!

I say embrace, don't erase.


Anonymous said...

As someone who just turned 49, I am thanking GOD for every new year. There were years were I did not think I would live to see 30, and there were some years were I was so depressed I did not want to see 40...
Well at 49 years and one week old, I am looking so forward to flying toward 50.
I am expecting a big party, something like Madi Gras and a parade, some what like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, compelete with marching bands...
I know more than I care to say what the alternative is to turning 50... And though I love Jesus, I am not ready for my close up yet...
Besides, we all know that 50 is t he new 30... whatever that means.

Pam said...

I wasn’t going to weigh in on this because although I’m turning 50 very soon, I’m blessed to have never been depressed in my life and I am not about to do so for a birthday. Birthdays are to be celebrated as the alternative stinks! However, I have given much thought to the other half of one hundred and being an analytical person, it’s not near as much fun no matter the positive spin you want to put on it.

Yes, being 50 beats not making it to 50 and I thank God for every day of my life. But reality is that the body deteriorates despite modern medicine and our best health habits. Heck, the first thing the physician wants us to do at age 50 is to schedule a colonoscopy! Nope, there’s nothing fun about HRT, colonoscopies, bladder tucks, hysterectomies and many other procedures, courtesy of 50+. I do not look forward to my eyesight worsening, my skin further softening, sagging, and wrinkling and becoming dotted with more age spots. There’s nothing good to say about gradual memory loss and the threat of Alzheimer’s. I hate the thought of attending more funerals and losing more friends and family. Age fears are not superficial; it’s not about worrying about what other people think or putting on a good face. There are real, tough things associated with aging.

I see joy of life in the faces of my Meals on Wheels folks and those in the hospital whom I visit. But I also see much pain, suffering, and loneliness. So I will celebrate 50 and honor these God-given years by tending to my health, at least those things within my control. I will continue to respect and honor those much older than me, particularly those in declining health. And I will smile with understanding when my friends moan about an upcoming birthday because that’s their reality, no matter how rosy the picture is painted by others. That’s what friends are for.