Let’s face it — none of us is getting any younger. I know I’m not anyway.
Yet, I will admit that adding another a few more years have taught me many things. Some lessons I wish I didn’t need to know and others I am grateful for them.
One of those lessons comes with hitting a magical birthday — turning 50 years old. Several people I know never made it to 50 so in some regards, I might be considered lucky.
Conversations abound when you turn the big 5-0. Some of them might be centered on the aches and creaks that can be heard as we climb out of bed each morning and other times we might feel like we see a new gray hair or wrinkle appearing each morning.
As I look back on when I was younger, there are a few things I know I never thought of — let alone talked about. Whether you are 50, staring straight at it, or long past it, here are a few things I realized none of us talk about until we hit that age.
(In no particular order):
1. Retirement When we get our first job, retiring sounds like light years away. Saving for that day starts with learning about a 401k and how much money Social Security might have for you when you leave the working world behind. When you hit 50, you start to see it happening. You start talking about where you want to live — where it’s warm all the time or near the grandkids. If you like the work you do, that’s great, but if your spouse comes home with that winning ticket, you know you will quit as soon as you can.
2. Health and Mortality As I mentioned, our body starts to send us little messages — maybe it’s a creak here or some nasty arthritis there. We have our primary care doctor on speed dial and begin to despise the words, “Let’s run some tests” because you know as you know anything, you are getting on Google and learning all you can about something that may not even be anything at all. We are more quick to share our medical history, if something is hereditary, and openly discuss things like wills, estates, and powers of attorney.
3. Menopause If you are a woman, you’ll know when you’re in the middle of it. The hot flashes come and your metabolism takes a nose dive. Even if you eat healthy and exercise, it still may not be enough. So you take a few medications to help offset the drop in hormones and add 10 pounds without even thinking about food. Things change for men too, but I won’t get into that here.
4. The Good Old Days We start to reminisce and think about moments that are tucked away in our memories. We share times of struggle and stories that make us laugh now. We talk about where we lived, what was our first car (and now, thanks to Google, we can show our kids what a Pinto looked like.) Looking at old pictures (not on our phones) brings everything back and we can’t help but smile.
5. Regrets Some of those moments are not as easy to celebrate — as they became the lessons we now hold. Missed opportunities. Chances not taken. Words not said. It’s all there. The pile we have tucked away in our hearts isn’t one we might be proud of, but it serves as a stark reminder of how we must appreciate life and the time given us. Some regrets are full of spite and sting, but even so they all made us aware of how our choices impact outcomes.
No matter how much older we are today than yesterday (I refuse to say I’m old), let’s chuckle a little each time the above topics come up. We wouldn’t have talked about them until we got to 50 years old. They are all a part of life and even at 50, we still have so much living to do.
Michelle A. Homme 2021 ©