Turning 50 made me realise with a jolt that I probably have more years behind me than in front of me. It threw me for a little while, but then I realised my “midlife crisis” could be turned into a “midlife opportunity” if I could change my attitude. Here are just 7 things I learned at 50:
Knees don’t necessarily bend easily forever! You don’t realise how much you take your body for granted until a part of it starts to hurt! At 50 I learned that regular exercise is no longer an option - I have to walk regularly, drag out my yoga mat and lift weights to keep me strong and stop me from feeling stiff all the time. It doesn’t stop me from feeling 101 when I wake up in the morning, mind, but at least I can do something about how strong and flexible I will be at 60, 70, 80 and beyond!
Failing eyesight isn’t always a bad thing. Without my glasses I can’t see my wrinkles, grey hair or whether my legs need waxing! (Maybe the last isn’t quite such a good thing!)
Girlfriends make the world a much better place. When I hit 50 I started to really appreciate my female friends. Having a supportive network of women around me, lifting each other up when we feel low and cheering each other on when we are doing well, has been a lifeline.
Elasticated waistlines are my friend. I always used to think that buying trousers with an elasticated waist would mean I had “given up” or “let myself go”. But they are so bloomin’ comfortable - who cares how I keep my trousers up? Once I hit 50 “comfort” was no longer a dirty word.
Bridget Jones was onto something with those pants! Talking about comfort, wearing big pants is a midlife woman’s compensation for a thickening waistline. Who knew they were so comfortable? No scratchy thongs in places that don’t see sunlight, no post birthday cake bulge spilling over your knicker elastic, just a nice smooth line under your clothes and a way to “keep your kidneys warm”, as my grandma liked to say!
I am 100% responsible for my own happiness. At 50 I finally “got it”. Other people and outside factors might cause difficulties in my life, but blaming my husband, the government, or the weather for whatever is making me unhappy isn’t the answer! It might be a cliche, but it’s true that we can’t always change what happens to us, we can only change our reaction to it.
Life is good. So many people don’t make it, you have to make the most of every single day. At 50 I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude. For the people I love, the work I do, the fact that my body still works… it doesn’t matter that my skin isn’t as firm and my waistline is thicker. It matters that I am here - loving, laughing, living every minute to the full!
First published in Female First on 2nd July