It’s all in your head: What I learned after turning fifty. What is it about turning fifty that sets off alarm bells? Is it because it’s proof positive we’re at the half way point? Ha, even that’s an ambitious thought unless you’re sure you’ll live to be a centenarian! Like all anxiety, turning fifty is really a product of our perceptions isn’t it?
We’re convinced that turning fifty is the beginning of the end. The end of youth that is. Becoming a fifty year old is the final “I can’t ignore seeing gray hairs and wrinkles in the mirror” kind of wake up call. The realization that all that lolling on the beach we did in our teens and twenties is coming back to bite us in the tush big time. Age spots, sun spots, hand wrinkles (the worst!) and crepey decolletage all gently creep into view as our fifth decade rolls around.
And that’s just the physical manifestations. Have you ever woken up and said, “What the hell am I doing here? How did I get here? Who is this person I used to know?” Along with the wrinkle fest, we’re now faced with potentially cataclysmic changes in our daily routines. Kids leave the nest (or don’t), husbands swan off with a younger version of us and our careers seem to be running out of steam.
With all the change, we often feel too tired to really give a damn. We’re wondering what happened to all that we knew and was familiar. Who are we? What do we want now?
Just before I turned fifty I ended my 21 year old marriage and after a brief fling at singledom I moved across states to begin a new relationship. Convinced I had figured out this whole transition thing, I leapt with the certainty of a 21 year old to my exciting new life and love. Instead of using my 49 year old brain, I acted without fear or common sense. When the dust settled I realized I hadn’t acted for my best interests, but with some fuzzy notion that things would magically work out. They didn’t.
My 50 year old self lived through a very painful soul searching meltdown when I realized my mistake. I’d given responsibility for my happiness to someone else instead of making it my own mission.
What has this got to do with turning fifty and feeling life may be half over?
The pain of failing in love, work, or relationships is enhanced, no magnified if we’re fifty or older. We’re supposed to get it right. We’re supposed to know what we’re doing!
We do. We have five decades or more of experience. Turning fifty is a beginning not an end. It’s not a semi colon to the rest of life. I found the wisdom to know I had to be the agent of change if I didn’t want to become a failure at mid life.
All I had to change were my thoughts. All you have to do is the same. It will change your life.
If this sounds overly simplistic, it’s not. It’s a simple change, but it takes practice and perseverance to change a lifetime of negative or self judgmental thinking.
I’m suggesting you don’t allow thoughts of growing older. You don’t look at yourself and see someone you don’t recognize, you look at yourself with love and appreciation. You focus on the good.
Aches and pains? Got em. But I don’t say to myself these aches and pains are a product of getting older. They’re just there.
Gray hair and wrinkles? Me too. I do what I can with hair color and face cream and don’t wear my glasses when I look in the mirror. You can steal that trick too.
Watching commercials for light pads and having a clue what they’re talking about? Yes. Not using them yet, but I know I may need to.
What I’m saying is aging is mostly in our heads. We put the thought in there. We allow ourselves to absorb negative thoughts about growing older and I swear it puts a slump in our shoulders.
How to Turn Around Turning Fifty
- Reprogram yourself to stop negative or limiting thoughts about aging.
- Focus on what is good at the moment, even if it’s not having to pee as often.
- Take yourself to a spa or pamper palace. Repeat often.
- Make a point of treating yourself well by eating for health not mood.
- If it doesn’t support you or make you feel positive, let it go.
- Repeat a calming mantra. “All is well, only good lies before me” anytime you’re stressed.
- Try a new hairstyle, color and cut.
- Smile often.
Don’t think about aging. Take care of yourself, do the best you can and be grateful you’re here. Put a smile on your face and walk with purpose. Oh there will be those days, but in the end we get to decide how “old” we are.
Be ageless and fool them all.