Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Growing into Fifty

Baby Boomers. We started appearing in 1945 and the last of us was born in 1964. That puts me, born in 1955, right smack in the middle of the pack. I am one of millions of men and women who turn 50 this yearin my case, last week. So Im not alone.
But waitI am alone. Its a very personal thing to turn 50. So many questions have come up.

  • When did that happen?

  • Where did all the years go?

  • What is left in my life?

  • Who am I and what does that mean?

  • Am I the woman I thought I would be at 50? Who do I want to become?

  • Whats next?

  • Is there another membership card other than the AARP?

Im the oldest child in my family. My mother jokingly says shes not old enough to have a daughter who is half a century old. My brother sends me a card telling me its all downhill from here. At least my son thinks its kind of neat. The only people who really tell me that the best years are here are other women who are already 50 or older.

But what does this all mean to me? I never knew if I would reach 50. Not because of health problems or dangerous living, but because of genetics. My father died at age 47 and two of my sister before age 40. I was unable to feel my way here. Yet, here I am.

Ive been trying to sort out what it feels like to have turned 50. I find that even speaking about it out loud is a bit difficultpartially because Im still exploring what it means. It wasnt too long ago that a woman over 29 never told her age.
While I will admit to feeling a moments hesitation, for the most part, that has passed. On a recent trip, I was asked if I wanted the AARP discount. Huh? How did they know?

So, just what is it like to turn 50? I figure I have the entire year to find out and to grow into being 50. For now, I feel as if I have arrived. I feel more authentic. I have more autonomy and confidence than ever. While I get to be an adult now, the child in me gets to hand out and playall with no excuses. And although there is some wisdom to be found, Im confident Ill discover lots more in the coming years.

In the meantimeI will celebrate and give thanks for my life, work on my list of things to do and accomplish before I leave this divine life, and continue to define and refine the woman I have become and am becoming.

2005, Barbara C. Phillips, Nurse Practitioner and founder of OlderWiserWomen(tm) inspires women to embrace the freedom, magic and wisdom of Successful Aging. Visit http://www.OlderWiserWomen.com for your copy of "Celebrating You: 50 Tips for Vibrant Living".

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