Feeling Less Than Fabulous About Turning Fifty
By Andrea Freedman
Every spring I feel happy and rejuvenated, looking forward to all the nice weather that lies ahead. This season, however, is like no other before it. You see folks, in less than one month yours truly will be turning 50 years old!
Funny enough, turning 40 didn’t bother me so much, in fact I even felt like it was cool in a way. But as I approach the half century mark, I do so with trepidation. To sum it up, I’m freaking out!
I’ve heard the expression “50 and Fabulous.” So far, I’m not so sure I think it sounds that fabulous, especially when I also hear phrases like “over the hill”.
I began to feel anxious about the Big 5-0 a couple of months ago. I had tried to avoid thinking about it for as long as I could; however, as the date looms closer, I cannot seem to shake it from my thoughts.
I imagine most people experience that one birthday that, until it actually happens, bothers them, no matter how much they protest that it is just like any other birthday. Now I understand what people mean when they say someone is “pushing” 50, as turning 50 is something I wish I could push far into the distant future.
Fifty years of my life have gone by and I can hardly believe I got here so quickly. Let’s face it. I can no longer say I have my whole life ahead of me; in fact, if I’m very lucky, I will have another half to look forward to at best. I sometimes panic that time is running out and that more time will slip away from me before I have a chance to accomplish my goals in life.
This may sound vain, but I confess that when I hear other women a few years older than me talk about a sudden thickening of the waistline I am terrified that this will happen to me. Although my grandmother used to say “I’ve earned every wrinkle” I am not so sure I will be able to deal with the physical signs of aging quite as gracefully as she did.
Since I turned 30, I have heard claims of shock and amazement when people found out what my age was. All through my forties my husband would proudly quiz people we met “Guess how old she is”. I always squirmed with embarrassment, but now, as I suddenly see signs of aging when I look in the mirror, I wonder if after I turn 50, it will be written all over my face.
As my husband is more than ten years my senior, I can always count on him to tell me how young I look. However, I fear that things may change once I reach this new phase in my life, even in his eyes.
I guess I should prepare myself for all those dumb Over the Hill birthday cards. I will now be among the group who get teased about their age, who others get a kick out of making fun of on their birthdays and who younger people think of as pretty old.
Despite my concerns about my upcoming birthday, I would be foolish not to stop and appreciate all the great things that I have to celebrate, like my husband, the fact that I have parents and a family who cares about me, friends, an exciting writing career that gets me out of bed with eager anticipation each day, and the fact that I made it to 50.
My parents have set a great example for me by taking care of their health and physical fitness. They maintain an active social life and I rarely hear them complain about not feeling well. I see people much older than me at the gym and I find them inspiring. I don’t really feel any older, and I don’t intend to give in to aging or start acting like it either by changing the way I dress or switching to a more sensible, mature hairstyle.
I can’t stop time, and I’m sure this next month will go by at an alarmingly fast pace. Like it or not, there is nothing I can do to avoid this next birthday, so, instead of pushing 50 away, I might as well accept it and embrace it. Who knows, once I get the hang of it, I just might even enjoy this milestone, and whatever perks I am hoping may come with it.
Still, up until April 27 at 10:29 am (the exact moment my mom tells me I was born), please, don’t anybody call me over the hill; after all, I’m still in my forties!♦
How about you? Which “Big” birthday bothered you, and what did you do to soften the blow?
Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2016