“Turned fifty and loving it “was my FB status some years ago.
I remember building up the drama to turning fifty; a process that I worked on for almost six months, planning how I would celebrate this milestone. The celebrations sped by in a blur, but what remained with me were some decisions I mulled over and made the mantra of my life then on.
I remember a quiet sense of achievement, looking back on the past fifty years -material gains, career goals, relationship goals, parenting goals; the list goes on…..
In retrospect, after some quiet self-introspection, I figured that these are some principles that have emerged from the learnings of that half-century which would be my guiding light perhaps for the next half-century!
Surely, there is no harm in wanting to live to the ripe age of a century!
I don’t need to conform- I can be me
I realised that
(a) being true to myself and living life on my terms,
(b) choosing to spend time with those who I care about genuinely and
(c) enjoying the little things that bring me happiness, mattered most.
I have learned that there is great dignity in ageing gracefully; donning a look that you believe defines you, experimenting and exploring new avenues, simply because you want to experience the journey and not reach the destination!
I have learned to truly love myself for what I have evolved to be. Being authentic, both to myself as well as to others, matters more to me than putting up the pretence of who I had aspired to be.
Confidence in my body
I’m not defined just by my body. I am the sum total of the person I have evolved to be; from the stretch marks through pregnancy, to the numerous burn marks in the kitchen and the relentless onslaught of pollution and chemicals that have forged my appearance.
Post-menopausal physical changes and the eventual grateful acceptance of being allowed to grow older and wiser, while still staying youthful in mind. My physical changes have actually enthused me to take the path of staying fit and healthy, so that I can continue to enjoy my hikes and travels in much the same spirit as before.
Self-Preservation is an absolute must
The act of taking care of your own self –physically, emotionally and mentally, was long relegated to the background; perhaps a cultural and maternal instinct. But, consciously making choices that allow me to put myself first- going for a weekly massage, being regular with my medical tests, creating that mind space to indulge in my wellbeing, a quiet evening to myself, a holiday out with the girl gang; was an elixir for both my soul and body.
The guiltless focus on catering to my needs oftentimes required having to say “No”, or choosing to prioritise my need over others’ expectations.
Companionship in Silence
Spending evenings with your spouse does not have to be about conversations or doing things together; or dreading the silence or watching mindless shows together.
Two can share the same space and indulge in something that they each, personally enjoy. What matters most is the companionship and the knowledge that you can reach out when required. Silence, in fact, is comforting, for it gives me that space to relax; knowing that, I am secure in a relationship that I have nurtured through the years.
Embrace change – for that is the only constant
Technology has pervaded every aspect of my life; and, I realised that it was imperative for me to remove those mental blocks about keeping up with it. Difficult as It may seem, opening up my mind to being technologically savvy; be it with new apps or the latest phone, social media or the Fitbit; the one thing technology has helped me with is bridging that sense of redundancy, that tends to creep in when the age gap with others widen.
I sensed that staying connected with the younger generations and thinking from their perspective keeps me engaged and current. I enjoy listening to the young and appreciate their viewpoints, than take the stance of –”My God, In our days…”
There is a lot of wisdom and awareness that the younger ones can bring into our lives!
Take Stock and follow your passion
I remember distinctly drawing up a to-do list of the things I would like to focus on in the next phase of my life, after turning fifty. In retrospect, I feel I have explored and learned more; both of myself, my creative passion and of my intense need to fulfil that, to make life more meaningful. I no more grudge myself an additional hobby class or a Udemy course, if it can help me in the pursuit of my passion.
Heading towards the sixth decade of my life, I continue with the same intense zest for life; and accept that my life is a reflection of the cumulative choices I have made or will make; and that I singularly have the power to shape my life.
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