I feel like I have been preparing to write this post for the past two years. Once my hubby Patrick turned 50, an alarm went off and I’ve been planning, over-analyzing, freaking out, looking forward to it ever since.
FIFTY has evolved so much over the past generations (as it should), due to advances in health and wellness, plastic surgery (both positive and negative?) and the ideas about what this age should feel and look like. Remember what stereotypes were around even twenty to thirty years ago? The Golden Girls’ ages, early in the show, were early 50s! GEEZ. Why don’t you just pack me (and my stilettos) up and ship me off to the nursing home!
Thank God we seem to be coming around to the fact that our later decades could honestly be our best. There are multiple social media accounts that can attest to this (You should follow them. I will be listing them shortly on my new (just for fun) Instagram account @50plusAF).
I bristle at the 30 under 30 lists… why don’t we have the 50 over 50… a beacon of light and spiritual, professional, relational, and yes, even sexual aspiration for the youth. A list that screams FUCK YEAH… I can’t wait to get there! Sorry kids… but we are SO much more layered and multidimensional… like our wrinkles 😉 .
Do we have it all figured out?
I was just having this conversation with a friend of mine on a day particularly fraught with angst.
I’m still debating the direction of my career. I’m doing great… but there are avenues that I still want to explore and that I believe might be better for me in the long run.
There is a big move coming for us as a family, but I don’t know exactly where that might be yet, as it comes with so many important decisions to make.
Even though I love my age, I still wrestle with parts of myself that still want to fight it (more on this below).
All in all, though, there is a confidence and freedom that arrives with fifty that I welcome with open arms.
Here is where I’m at, some tid-bits I’ve learned, and where I’m going with my new (I count three) grey hairs…
1. Health and Wellness
Take a seat because this section goes BIG.
I one hundred percent believe that fifty and beyond could be our HEALTHIEST decades YET. Yes, you read that correctly!
Why? Time and freedom.
I was a gymnast from the age of six and carried that through my college years as a scholarship athlete at UCLA. Was I unbelievably strong and athletic? Yes, but it came with the cost of physical scrutiny and behaviors that weren’t always positive. My body and mind were dedicated to my profession/sport for what seemed like a lifetime.
After college I desired to be different, to “lose” some of that muscle, and to “feel” more feminine (although I would never define feminine as being without muscle now). This was in the Playboy era of the 90’s and early aughts, where stick thin bodies with ginormous fake boobs ruled the tabloids. I didn’t get the boobs (thank God), but I could get skinny, and that’s what happened when I stopped working out and entered my party era (An era that I would never change btw, because if you partied in LA in the 90’s and 2000’s without cell phones recording every moment, it was honestly a REAL. GOOD. TIME). Coupled with the reality that in your twenties you are still grappling with who the hell you are, I’m going to give that decade a three on the wellness scale.
Cut to my later twenties… and I’ve now met my husband, who is at the top of the wellness industry, and he maneuvered me back into the gym and into the right direction. We still liked to have a good time (cough cough), but I started to pay attention to what my body needed from me, and that I was happiest when working out. I’ll bump my wellness score up to a five.
Into my thirties and early forties, and now I’m looking at five pregnancies (two beautiful children, and three miscarriages), and between trying to get pregnant, being pregnant, pregnancy loss, and post pregnancy, span a time period of 15 years on its own. That’s a critical period of dedicating my body to other human beings. It was both beautiful and exhausting. Raising children is a true test of letting go, and I had a HARD time finding any time to dedicate to myself. I would rate this age a 4 on the wellness scale.
What happens now?
My kiddos are almost thirteen and ten, very self sufficient (except for being able to drive), living their best lives, and I have my body and my time back…
to workout (yoga, weight training, running)
to plan better meals (not grab and go)
to try new things (cold plunge, meditation courses, spiritual research).
I’ve never felt better.
For once in my life I am working on my physical and mental health for ME (unattached to a sport, another human being, or the insecurities of previous decades).
I’m diving into spiritual realms that are revealing more of myself than ever before (unattached to a specific religion or expectations based on tradition).
It’s incredibly freeing, and something EVERYONE should look forward to.
Patrick and I also (mostly) stopped drinking. Our dry January turned into dry Feb, Mar, Apr, May, and June, breaking only to have a few cocktails in July while in Mexico, and a few more since then (I can count the number of drinks I’ve had this year on two hands).
I had some health issues that nudged me into semi-sobriety, and it has continued because of how much better I feel, how wonderfully I sleep, and how diminished my anxiety has become.
We also had babies LATE, at thirty five and forty, so by the time Avery is forty, I will be eighty!
I want to do everything I can now to ensure that by the time I have grandchildren (god willing), I will be physically and mentally capable to watch and spoil those grand babies! Nixing alcohol from our lives is one extra assurance that this will happen.
What do I score my wellness now? I’d give it a solid 8. How about them apples?
In the past year, my goal-making and goal-achieving have evolved into a day to day acknowledgement of where I am in the moment.
For example, I never said, “I will be sober for 6 months”. I started with January, and after that I told myself that I would see how each day went. Sobriety became easy, enjoyable, and lacking the overwhelm of a long term “process”. It has worked with food, fitness, career, and much more.
Make the goal, and wake up each morning with intention!
No more regrets.
I remember when I used to drive around Los Angeles and pass by old apartments, old haunts, etc. and those places would trigger memories that made me recoil in self-imposed shame in my driver’s seat.
The beautiful thing about fifty is that you realize that even your most cringeworthy of moments were a part of your growth, and you wouldn’t be you without them.
I can now drive by and view those young adult mistakes with semi-rose colored glasses tinged with only the slightest feelings of embarrassment.
We all do it differently and there is no “right” or “wrong” way about it.
I never knew how much I would be head over heels with being a mom. Even through the rough spots I love it so much.
I am so grateful to my husband that I have been able to take a lighter workload in order to spend most of my time with them.
It means every drop off, pick up, game, recital, school function, and more.
It means an insane amount of driving per week, but it is on those drives that we have some of our best conversations.
It has meant that I haven’t been able to take on every client that I want to… but that will change…
… because in only a few years, these munchkins will be off to High School, driving themselves, and beginning to spend REAL time away from us.
My career will have boundless opportunities (and I’m crazy excited).
One of my favorite designers, Jean Stoffer, really gained her fame and noted achievements in her early fifties. If you do good work, it doesn’t matter what age you are, people and success will follow.
My gut is telling me the best is yet to come!
My twenties and thirties were dedicated to my friendships. My forties revolved around my family (and career).
Now that my kids are grown-ish, I’m feeling that pull for reconnection, not only with myself, but with my friends.
My cup is full when I make the effort, so I’m going to make sure I’m fostering those relationships again.
I love my husband, but there is nothing like a group of cackling old-er women gathering in circles to shoot the shit.
7. Social Media
You can’t live with it, you can’t live without it.
This is an area I’d love to get more open and honest in, and you will see a more silly and organic side of me on my new page.
It’s damn hard, though, because not only do the insecurities I spoke of above creep back in on social… I have a true FEAR of negative energy being thrown my way (and it’s bound to happen).
Shutting my mouth is obviously easier.
I am so very blown away by individuals who are outrageously honest, have given cancel culture the middle finger, and have survived and thrived to tell about it. People like Jessica Kraus of @Houseinhabit who really challenge people and the media to have an open discourse about subjects that are extremely polarizing… and to come away from it without wanting to throw knives at each other.
As the emotional anchor for my family, I don’t know if I could ever be as free as her (she receives weekly death threats), but I can challenge myself to open the door at least a crack more, not only to embolden myself, but to teach my kiddos to be brave and do the same.
8. Cosmetics and Plastic Surgery
If you live in LA, you can’t throw a rock without hitting someone who’s done it (I say this LOVINGLY… some of my best friends have had multiple “procedures”).
It’s a tough subject, because I believe in doing things that give you joy, and if taking some years off is gonna do it… then by all means LET’S GO… but also can we do it while embracing the nuances that aging brings and not fight it to the point of negating (or comically altering) our age completely?
I haven’t gone under the knife yet, but I’ve had the usual suspects (botox and some fillers).
What do I contemplate doing?
My dad gave me my hooded eyelids (thanks Dad) that I’d love to lift, but I am petrified of looking “surprised”for weeks after.
I also love to stare at my neck and imagine it nice and smooth again. That would be my “big one”. Am I going to do it, or am I going to meditate and let that shit go and embrace EXACTLY who I am becoming?
That would be very Buddha of me, would’t it?
I’ll keep you posted.
Let shit go, laugh, go on dates, travel and giggle at getting older. We make fun of ourselves each and every day…
… but also keep pushing each other, do and learn new things, and hold each other up to a standard of growth. Stagnancy is a relationship killer.
If you know me, I love to travel and enjoy splashy, awe-inspiring moments (and I will forever!)… but I’ve also really learned to find joy in the smallest, almost mundane minutes that we experience each day. I believe this is a product of meditation, but also dropping expectations about what you actually need to be happy. There ain’t no FOMO in this Murphy dojo!
Well that’s it for now! I could write WAY more than this, but I’ll save it for next year 😉 I’m going to go out and be 50+ as FUCK. Don’t be scared to join me when you’re ready!