I’m writing this on my 50th birthday today! When you hear 50 years old, what do you think of? Do you think, “oh she’s getting close to retirement”? Or do you think, “that’s not old at all”? I know it’s a matter of perspective sometimes. When we’re young, that may seem really old, and when you’re older than that, it may seem really young. But I also think 50 itself can look incredibly different from one person to another, and also mean something very different.
For me, I really feel like I’m just getting my shit together to be honest. I feel like 50 is a new start for me. Like it’s just the beginning! I have a lot that I want to do and I’m ready to get that underway. I feel like it took me all this time to really figure out who I am and what I want, and I’m going to spend the rest of my life aspiring to utilize that knowledge, help others, and enjoy my life.
At this point in my life I feel very inspired by women who have started new careers or built big businesses in their later years. I don’t want to retire – I want to do that! If I am doing things that I love and believe in, it’s a passion, not work. Life takes on a new purpose when you are passionate about life. I aspire to that.
To Retire or Not
However, for some of my friends who are this age, they are slowing down and planning their retirement. They are looking forward to putting their feet up and just relaxing. They don’t aspire to do more at this point. Heck they may have even had things figured out early on in life and they’ve followed their heart and their passion and they feel like they have ‘done it all’ that way. And yes, they do deserve it if that’s where they are at and what they want. We all deserve to live the life that makes US happy. No one should judge our choices.
Age is in Your Head
Every age is really the same though. There are people who find their path and their clarity and even self-love very early on, and others who are “late-bloomers”. There are people who do huge, great things – and there are people who live a quiet, peaceful life. We all figure out what we want and do things in our own time. We make our mistakes, gain clarity, move forward. Plus, we all have very different circumstances as well. So, we have to allow ourselves whatever time and space we need to get there. The more we know, the more we grow!
Age is also really more in your head than anything. Yes, we can see it on our faces when we look in the mirror, in the wrinkles and lines and saggy skin. However, if we stay mentally and physically young, and of course happy, the rest doesn’t matter. If we can really enjoy our life, and live the way we want to – we can have an amazing long and happy life.
At the very least, I would suggest that you never make a judgement about someone based on their age. I have met some of the most inspiring, active 80-year-olds who could run circles around some of the 20-somethings in many ways. My mom is a little spitfire at 80, and I don’t know anyone with more energy and spunk than she has.
Chose Your Age
So why is it that some people seem to age more, or earlier, and really turn into ‘old people’ while others stay youthful and spry? It’s really a matter of choice here. Of how you decide to live your life, when you feel you are ‘done’ living out your passions, and how much you are really enjoying your life. It’s also about your general will to live, and positivity about life. I think it’s always good to have goals and a bucket list of some sort at every age too.
Some people get to a point of feeling tired and ‘spent’ and really feel done, depending on their life circumstances. It’s also all about whether or not you embrace ‘getting old’ or if you really take care of yourself to stay young and don’t think of yourself as old. If you really do want to stay young though, I have some additional ideas here for you….
Ideas on how to stay youthful:
- Love yourself – really, this is basic. If you really love yourself, you’ll be willing to give yourself the life you deserve. To take care of yourself, honor your desires and dreams, and live an authentic life. You will have a zest for life like no other.
- Help others – we all have so much to offer others, even if we don’t think we do. We have knowledge and experience that others can benefit from. I’m not saying to be self-sacrificing here, but look around and see where you can help. If you can lift others, you will lift yourself as well.
- Stay active – this may make some of you cringe. I’m not saying you have to work out every day. Just get off your butt. Go for a walk. Do some yoga. Ride a bike. Just don’t sit there in front of the computer or TV all day. Get some fresh air and move around.
- Eat well – again, no crazy diets needed. Just eat your veggies. Limit your sugar and red meat. Reduce your carbs and processed foods. And eat reasonable portions (you shouldn’t be stuffed). It’s really pretty easy. Follow your own instincts on it. But just generally eating a healthy diet that isn’t “super-sized” is a great start.
- Be social – spend time with others who you enjoy talking to, sharing ideas with, and especially laughing with. This is one of the things I think is most helpful. To find people you can really be yourself with. It will keep you young to have people who ‘get you’.
- Spend time alone – okay, I know this conflicts with the last one, but you CAN have both. Make sure to spend time by yourself. Whether you are reading, taking a bath, meditating, or just relaxing – it’s so important to take time to ‘fill yourself up’.
- Find work that you enjoy – it doesn’t have to be the perfect job, but it has to be a great job for YOU. If you feel that you are helping others in some way, that’s often all it takes. If there is nothing fulfilling, uplifting or gratifying about your work – you may need to look for something new. We spend the majority of our time at work, so make sure you like being there. Nothing will age you faster than a job that makes you miserable.
- Find your soul mate – seriously, if you are going to be married or in a serious relationship, make sure that person is your biggest fan and supporter. Ultimately your best friend. Don’t waste your time with someone who makes you miserable or stressed or worse.
- Develop your beliefs – if you don’t have a belief in God, the Universe, or any higher power – or not well-developed beliefs – do some spiritual exploring.Maybe do some reading on it. Explore different cultures and religions if it interests you. But by all means, form your own beliefs, as this can be a critical component in life.
- Have fun – we will all be very different on what we think is fun. Some may love to travel, others may love to knit on their back porch. Whatever is fun to you, do more of that. Lots more of it. Maybe even explore things you are curious about to figure out MORE things that you think are fun. Enjoy your life. This is so important in our busy world.
- Manage your money well – if you can plan for retirement, and invest well – budgeting and planning and staying out of debt – that will make your later years SO MUCH less stressful. If you can keep finance stresses out of your life, that will be huge in keeping you young. If you don’t have those worries, they won’t weigh you down or keep you working later in life when you don’t want to anymore.
- Always have goals and aspirations – be constantly learning and striving at any age. Some people think they are too old to do this, but I’ve known people in their 80’s and 90’s who still go to college classes to learn. It’s NEVER to late to learn and grow and experience new things!
As Old as You Feel
Regardless of how you live your life, part of aging is really a choice. It all depends on how you chose to live your life, and your own mindset about your age and your level of happiness in your life. If you feel young and treat yourself in that way, you will be more youthful. It’s really about embracing who you are, enjoying life, and taking good care of yourself.
A book that you might like is Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality and Well-Being by Christiane Northrup MD