What I’ve Learned About Myself at 50
I am writing this post on December 15, 2020 — my 50th birthday. I’ve learned a lot of things about myself during this time. Turning 50 sounds surreal to me, but it feels amazing. My oldest daughter, when she was 6-years-old, asked me how old she should be to become a Mom. I told her she should be at least 25. She — in all seriousness — said, “25? I’ll be dead by then!” I replied that I was older than 25. She looked at me in horror and said, “Oh my gosh, Mom, how old are you?”
I remember I was 28 — ironic as that’s how old she is now. At 28, I didn’t feel old or young, and I felt good and happy. I was very aware that time seemed to go by more quickly the older I got. I was given sage advice when my first daughter was born to cherish every moment because it would go by in an instant. I heeded that advice, but regardless of how hard I cherished it, time has indeed gone by too quickly.
At that 28th mark, I decided it would be great to be 28 forever, and I would tell my kids I was “28 plus 13”, etc.. on every birthday. Eventually, they would catch up, and we’d be in the “28 Forever Club”. The math became daunting, and I actually sounded older with my massive math equation, so I decided instead to just embrace where I am, which has been far more fun.
I recall being a kid myself and thinking 28 seemed ancient and forever, far away. It also seemed unhealthy to get older, but as I’ve been experiencing it myself, I’ve loved every minute. Every season. Every change. I believe I chose my life, and I love it — even in tough times. I knew if I didn’t love it, I could choose differently. In these 50-years, I’ve learned a thing or two, and I’m sharing insights with you in the hopes you add to them or listen to them and maybe even relax a bit.
- Not everyone will like you and that’s okay. You won’t like everyone. We can still be pleasant to each other.
- You can know you’ve done a really great job as a parent, but your kids won’t necessarily agree — and that’s okay.
- There is no failure, only feedback, but that feedback can still feel like it’s kicking your ass.
- New running shoes DO make you faster. Just ask a runner with new shoes.
- You won’t be good at everything, but that’s okay. You can find someone who is, consider them a resource and let them shine.
- When people bring you food or ask to help, just say yes and thank you.
- If someone compliments you, say thank you.
- When someone is kind to you, say thank you.
- Just say thank you — often. Change it up and make someone else feel fantastic and say, “I appreciate you.”
- If everyone just picked up after themselves, our world would be clean. So would my house
- Laughter makes you feel better than you ever imagined. Find people to laugh hard with and do it often. Peeing your pants is a bonus
- Never trust a fart. Seriously. N-E-V-E-R
- When you feel or think something good about someone — say it. Even when the person on the drive-through intercom makes you smile
- When you feel or think something negative about someone — stop. Think about it for several minutes. It’s amazing how often you end up staying silent
- Words can hurt people or make them feel euphoric. Choose them wisely
- There is no price tag on friendship. Have fewer, great friends who love you for who you are and reciprocate it. (See #11)
- Love yourself first and then love others
- Be kind. It’s free and feels amazing
- Everything in life is an adventure. From getting lost, to getting married, from having a baby to having a good cry, from getting divorced to reinventing yourself
- Your story is good enough to be shared, and people want to hear it
- When it comes to boundaries, “no thank you” is a complete sentence
- Strength comes from overcoming the things you once believed you could not do
- Recognize your wins and pat yourself on the back. We don’t give ourselves enough credit far too often
- Listen to music that makes you feel good. It’s nearly impossible to remain in a bad mood
- The people you love are your most precious gifts
- Spend more money on adventures and memories than on things. You’ll forget the things
- You can make an incredible difference in the life of someone else, in passing, without knowing it happened
- Your kids are watching you — make sure you’re showing them what’s important
- Stop saying “I’m sorry” for every little thing, but say it when you should
- You’ve had a 100% success rate for getting through tough days. You are a badass
- Let go of the things that don’t matter — like the toothpaste being squeezed “wrong.” He may leave the seat up occasionally, but I always leave it down. It’s all in perspective
- Celebrate the little wins — compound interest can make you rich — the small, daily, easy actions that add up over time are enormous
- Life is too short to “save it for later.” It’s later now
- Presence over presents — your time is invaluable
- Don’t underestimate the power of a good foot rub. Or back rub
- Embrace your dorky side — it’s one of your best qualities
- Only wear a hat that says “I woke up like this” if you really woke up like this
- Sing loudly even if you don’t know the words — especially if you don’t know the words. Just make stuff up
- Cheer like crazy for the people you love — even if you don’t understand the rules of the game
- Be you. The world needs you. You were given your unique experiences, skills, talents, traits for a reason. Shine brightly and be committed to learning about you and sharing that with the world. You are a gift
- If you want to try something new, there will never be a better time than now (see #33)
- Eat the cookie. Just don’t eat ALL the cookies
- 20-minutes outside changes your brain. Go outside. Put your face to the sun and breathe (even when the sun isn’t out)
- Filling your mind with good things is important, but so is learning to empty it. Find the thing that helps you let go. Running, meditation, writing, painting — whatever it is — and don’t forget to empty
- Unplug from everything every once in a while. You’ll notice the things you’ve forgotten to plug into
- Remember what gives you purpose, passion, and drive. Reignite it, reinvent it, reclaim it
- Write things down — you will forget
- Hug people and when you do, really give it your all. Hug like it’s the last time every time
- Don’t judge people. They will surprise you
- You can create a life you love. First, you need to determine what you really love
In my 50 times around the sun, I’ve done a good job of keeping myself healthy and fit, I’ve continued to cherish time, I’ve managed to get through struggles and trials with a 100% success rate, and although tough times aren’t fun, they also don’t last forever, and they teach a tremendous amount. I take a lot of pictures, and I make a point of telling people I love them. I’m a dork at heart, and it’s one of my favorite qualities. I’ve made errors in judgment, and I have hurt people with my actions or words, but I have shown up 100%. Some days that looks like I”m knocking it out of the park, and other days it looks like a fraction, but I can say in hindsight that I’ve given my all and my best. For the times I’ve fallen short — I am truly sorry. For the times I’ve nailed life — you’re welcome; it was my pleasure.
Cheers to the next 50-years. I can’t wait for the adventure of life to show me what else I will learn!
I’m thrilled to be on the Brainz Magazine Guest Writers team. I was published a second time — all about turning 50 and what I’ve learned in half a century. https://www.brainzmagazine.com/post/half-a-century-is-a-long-time