Thursday, August 11, 2011

the big five-oh

A couple of weeks ago I turned 50.  It's the first birthday I've ever had that really bothered me.  I've had a 35-year-old personality since I was 8, so 30 didn't bother me a bit.  I just felt like I was finally reaching legitimate adulthood.  Somewhere around 37 or so, it suddenly occurred to me that I was quickly approaching 40, and that bugged me briefly, but by the time I actually turned 40, it wasn't a problem.

But 50 was hard for me.  It started a couple of years ago with a sudden panic that my life was practically over and I hadn't done many of the things I wanted to do.  (I know, those of you who are over 50 are cackling in the background, and I deserve it.)  I went through about a year of inner turmoil, trying to figure out which of my old dreams were still important to me, and which I could ditch.

One of the old dreams was to write a novel.  I had always wanted to, and always assumed that I would be good at it if I did.  But I'd never really tried.  I did NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) a couple of times, and that went OK, but not exactly great.  And then in the spring of 2009, I signed up for a creative writing class at our local community college.  A real, semester-long creative writing class.  And although it wasn't exactly a disaster, I discovered that I hate writing fiction.  I don't like it at all.  So that was an easy one to cross off my list.

But a few of the other ones have been harder to let go of.  I just typed out a couple, but it started turning into a pity party, so I deleted them.  I'm re-evaluating them.  I'll leave it at that, because that's not what this post was going to be about.

What was it going to be about? 

Oh, yeah.  So anyway, I went through a couple of years of really struggling with my advancing age.  But I seemed to have worked my way through it by the time my birthday rolled around.  I'm fifty.  I've earned it.  But last night we were watching some TV show where someone was turning 60, and I realized dear god in ten years I'm going to be SIXTY.  And it's not that there's anything wrong with being 60-- I know plenty, plenty of people in their sixties who are interesting and active and vital and doing as much or more than they ever have before.  Seventies, too.  It's just the mental adjustment to thinking of myself as being that age.  There's that whole thing of having been a 35-year-old since I was 8-- I still feel about 35. 

So how about you?  what age do you feel?  And how big a discrepancy is there between that and your current age?


  1. I have to admit that I don't have a problem with 50, I mean 51. I am so much more "comfortable in my skin" at this age than I was at say 35 that I wouldn't go back. I don't feel 50 most days (today would be an exception to that) and I am certainly a boatload more fun at this age than I was before.

  2. I will be joining you in the Big Five Oh club very soon (a couple of weeks, to be exact). Most days I forget how old I am, because I am supremely immature. Like maybe I feel about 12, so the discrepancy is getting bigger every year. ;)
    (who, as we all know, is a child)

  3. You know, Debbie, you seem that way to me, too. Not that you were uncomfortable before, but just that you seem happy and relaxed and vital. I aspire to that! I think I'm getting there.

    Julie, I know, when I typed that I thought of you and figured you probably had a bigger mental discrepancy than me! But you are also doing almost-50 pretty dang gracefully.

    You're both role models for me!

  4. A belated Happy Birthday to you Barb, hope you had a wonderful day with cake and frosting which Julie loves so much.

    Fifty was nothing for me, 53/54 were two terrible years as my Dad died and brother both died in their 54th year. I lived in fear of passing away too young. So now, I'm heading towards 60 in a few years and I HATE it with a grand passion! Many have forged the way, but... I want my younger body and thicker hair. Yes, those are all outward signs. I still feel young on the inside but I sure would like the 38 year old outer package.

    At 55, I decided not to live a life of regret but to fulfill some of my dreams, like writing fiction and playing music. Got the piano and keep taking creative writing classes.

    You are doing great, welcome to the fifth decade. I'll let you know how the sixth one goes. ;)