Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

5 weeks to 50

In about five weeks, I will be turning 50! Yep, the Big Five-Oh!

According to just about everyone, that will put me over the hill. And as logic would have it, many of my friends are also facing this milestone this year. It is amazing to me the huge swing in reactions that they ar exhibiting.

On the one hand, some friends are embracing it, with a Bring It On attitude. They are meeting the day with new adventures, tattoos, and a lot of alcohol to celebrate. Others are meeting it with a lot of alcohol, but from more of a fetal position from the dark corner of their closet. They are laying awake at night, terrified.

As I approached this post, and the big day, I did what I usually do. I went to google and started some random searches to see what popped my intrigue level. And according to my google searches, those friends in the ball in the corner have the right idea.

Most of the articles I discovered discussed all the things that start to go wrong with your body and health the minute the clock turns and you are no longer a young pup in your 40s. Your skin goes from taut and silky to a wrinkled mess with the texture of sandpaper. Your hair goes gray and you will be left standing terrified and alone in the hair dye aisle of your local drug store. every conceivable ailment will become a reality  from arthritis to high cholesterol, diabetes to erectile dysfunction to full-scale dementia…

The. Minute. You. Turn. Fifty.

Women are facing even more dire health issues because of menopause. Hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, inability to conceive, insomnia. Is it any wonder any woman of a certain age can even manage to get out their front door in the morning, let alone function?!

Add to this the financial uncertainty of retirement planning and investing that you obviously should have done from birth, along with all the potential scams aimed at seniors. Stir into the mix your inability to fight off attackers or out run bears and it is a miracle anyone makes it to 51.

If I hadn’t suffered from anxiety and depression for years, these articles definitely would have brought both on. Thankfully, not many of these issues loom large for me. I have dealt with gray hair since my 20s. Thanks to a chronic medical condition, I have suffered from weight gain, cholesterol issues, insulin resistance and other lovely side effects my whole adult life. I faced the inability to conceive throughout my late 20s, 30s and into my early 40s.

So before I fell into that impending downward spiral, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I still am only 49 and have the strength in my pointer finger to close the Internet page. Yep, I have the choice in my still non addled brain to choose what to read and choose how to react.

I reacted by finding a whole slew of different uplifting articles about aging. They spoke of the freedom to finally own my life, errors and missteps and all. To embrace my not so perfect temper, and my not so perfect body. They reminded me that now is the time to do something new, to plan  a new adventure, to revel in this one life.

So many people are not given the luxury of reaching this age. They are lost far too young. And I can attest that as I age, the age of far too young gets a lot older. Worse still are those who reach their golden years and spend them in that fetal position in the corner because they have read too many of those negative articles and are now living in fear.

I say, turn around and face that fear head on. Look it right in the eye and proclaim, the best years are still ahead of me. And then go do something you have always wanted to do but told yourself you were too young, too  old, too fat, too unathletic, too unmusical, too whatever. Make up your own rules about aging.

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. I struggled when I turned 50, but mostly because my life was falling apart. The years that followed have just gotten better and better—some of my best ever—and I welcomed 60 with a “Bring It On” attitude. I hope your birthday celebration will be a doozy!

    • Thanks, Candace! I am pretty calm about it, but a few of my friends are freaking out. 😊 I will probably have a quiet celebration with my family and carry on as though it were any other day. Of course, in the next five weeks, that idea may change, and it could turn into a blow out!

  2. Rosemary Reader and Writer

    As someone approaching 63, you’re a mere child, Cheryl. You keep going. You’re fine. My biggest regret is that I’ve spent so much of my time working and I haven’t done anything substantial with my writing – yet..

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