So remember when we were in our 20s, our prime, looking far better than we even realized? Back when our ‘ugly’ could rival our current gorgeous any day of the week? Remember too, how back then, we were often crippled with self-doubt, esteem issues, and what we deemed to be an incessant biological clock ticking; not to mention the pressure to succeed? (Or was that just me?) Nevertheless, what a liberating contrast pushing 50 is… Who knew?
If someone would have told me then that life pushing 50 would be a cool experience within itself, I would have thought it was just their feeble attempt to feel better in the presence of one so spry. But here’s what I know now that I wish I knew then. Perhaps if I did, the absolutely ridiculous things I worried about would have taken a back seat to the pure joy of having full mobility without intermittent grunts.
See, at (almost) 50 I can truly say I don’t have any self-doubts. I know exactly who I am… painfully so at times, but there’s peace in recognizing my true self – good, bad and ugly. I don’t hide from myself like I did when I was younger; I’ve chosen to embrace all of my personalities and allow them to surface as need be. I’ve also grown enough to know that when the bad does rear its ugly head, its sometimes wise to let the good out to apologize. Not an easy task, but a worth while one.
As I age, I continue to struggle with my less than stellar side on occasion, but I don’t let that side define me. I’m confident that those traits are not the prominent make-up of who I am, they are just the flawed human within that sometimes needs to be heard. Usually for a laugh, but admittedly sometimes just to vent in a moment of weakness. I’m not proud of my faults, but I’m not in denial of them either, and most importantly, I own them. There’s something to be said for releasing yourself from the pressure of being perfect, its simply not an attainable goal, and that’s okay. Thankfully, those who know us best learn to overlook those weaker moments and love us nonetheless. I go back to a comment in a prior blog: self-deprecation – its key. Learn it and live it. It somehow makes your faults more forgivable.
Onto the biggest unnecessary worry of our youthful years: Why can’t I be 21 already? When will I meet Mr/Mrs Right? OMG I’m 25 and don’t have children yet!! Why are the young always on a mission to age rapidly? It was said to me a million times, and its so true, ‘you’re only young once.’ Life is not a dress rehearsal… We all need to slow down and stop wishing our lives away to get to a place further down the road. What a waste of energy and worry at a time when we have the world at our finger tips. I had a great time in my twenties, don’t get me wrong, but like many my age at that time, I was always grasping blindly at a future that wasn’t quite in my reach yet. I wish I would have taken the time to enjoy the journey a little more; the road has a way of coming up to meet you whether you run or casually stroll.
In truth, I can’t actually say I stressed about a career back then, but I did dream big and a bit irrationally, which sometimes led to let down and frustration. To spite myself, I denied my strengths and because of that I was never truly happy in my work. Oddly and thankfully, life took a series of turns and a suitable career eventually did find me after years of being discontent with my jobs. What did I learn with this particular rocky journey that I’d like to pass on to the 20 somethings, you ask? Follow your talents young pups, that’s where your happiness will be found. It took me 30 plus years to finally stop fighting my God given talents, and lo and behold it led me to a happy place.
Finally, with the impending age of 50 comes a freedom to be who I truly am; to let my hair down; to aim high but have the ability to accept lower, with grace. There’s no one to impress but my children, and having them see that flaws are human is a gift I give to them in this crazy world that’s often blinded by a quest for perfection. And yes, I recognize I’m on the downward slope, but with that comes clarity and forgiveness and tolerance in a way that I couldn’t have imagined when I was younger and much more self-absorbed. Pushing 50 isn’t so bad. I’ve not taken on the shar pei look yet, I can still shake it like a polaroid picture, and I’ve learned enough to know that life isn’t worth sweating the small things. Moving forward, I continue to try to save my energy for the big things so I can remain well armed. So, fellow pushers, here’s to living in the time that we do, where 50 is the new 40 and indeed pretty fabulous…