While being 50 is not exactly the new 30, it isn’t all bad news. In fact, I kind of like it.
Being 50 means I fail more, flail more and generally worry about the outcome less. I take more risks and handle change because I’ve had plenty of it. And although there are yoga poses I won’t do, and clothes I won’t wear and men I won’t sleep with, there’s a whole lot about being 50 that rocks.
For those who are reaching this milestone, including Brad Pitt, know this for sure: it gets better.
What I know now that I wish I knew then: Do not wait for an age to get this attitude.
In no particular order, here are 50 things I love about being 50:
- Knowing who I am, and everyone else can suck it. Transparency is liberating.
- Flirting. I’ve always been a flirt, but now, it’s ridiculous because who is going to take me seriously? I am flirting with everyone, from twenty-somethings to octogenarians.
- I “buy” Thanksgiving. I used to think holidays weren’t complete until everyone else was as miserable as I was in the kitchen. Now I buy most of it, and guess what? The world did not end.
- The loss of the frontal lobe. Sayonara. As we age, this part of our brain deteriorates so we say what we mean, and mean what we say.
- I no longer listen to music I don’t like, including anything that sounds like a car accident.
- I no longer sleep with people I don’t like, except for my husband, who I love, but not necessarily after a weekend of football, beer, brats and chips.
- I am vocal and clear about what I want, which took me years of self-empowerment.
- I’m happy to have a few excellent friends. Furthermore, if I’m betrayed, I move on. There’s another wonderful person waiting in the future.
- I no longer bother with cleaning the house or buying food for company. I offer whatever I have on hand and it usually seems to be enough.
- I believe in God, and I’m clear on that. I don’t pray to trees, or wiccans or anything involving pubic hair in a jar. Not that there’s anything wrong with it…. But it’s not for me.
- I try not to cause harm. I take care of other beings. And I have learned to hold my tongue and most of my opinions.
- I live simple and mostly in the present. I don’t have energy or interest in the drama.
- I tidy my house, and take care of my body, and I realize that divinity has been inside all along (thank you B.K.S. Iyengar).
- I love my yoga practice, which is new for me. Twenty years ago I wanted to do every pose, perfectly. These days I am grateful to touch my toes.
- Yet there are some poses which I no longer practice, such as Tick-Tocks and the transition from Handstand to Chaturanga. We had a messy break-up (broken toes), but I’m over it now.
- Gratitude in general. Big love to gratitude. I am moved to tears by the little things.
- I’m still here. Every. Damn. Day. Fifty is old, but the alternative is worse.
- I live with minimal regrets, seeing the humanity of it all.
- I say I’m sorry. This was never hard for me, but now after 50, it is somehow even easier. Humans are clumsy and cause harm, so we need to fix it when we stumble.
- But I don’t apologize for being me. I’m done with that. If others feel less than or insecure, that is their problem and they can own it.
- I do small kindnesses for complete strangers. It’s a total rush.
- And I do big kindnesses for my friends.
- I don’t take much seriously or personally. I have no idea why I didn’t understand this earlier.
- I laugh, especially at myself. When I die, I hope it’s from having a heart attack while laughing.
- I am much more generous. If you can’t take it with you, then give more of it away.
- I do not give a hoot how I look in jeans. Well, not really, but I care much less than I used to. And I wear a bikini. Nothing looks as good as confidence. Of course, my kids won’t be seen with me in public.
- I am less concerned with the scale. I have been a size 0, a size 12, and a size 42 in Paris. What matters is if you feel healthy.
- After 50 years of fighting it, I now love my belly. I have two wonderful children and I wouldn’t trade them for six-pack abs.
- However, I am fighting the good fight for my face. A little maintenance goes a long way.
- I’m not ashamed to admit that I love my car. I freaking love my car! If you think that’s materialistic, or spiritually bankrupt, then obviously you do not have the same car.
- My family matters. Evenings and weekends are the most productive times to teach yoga, but I won’t do it until my youngest goes to college.
- I waited a very long time to put myself first. Now it’s my turn to write, to travel, to do whatever.
- Realizing that nothing changes. We know more now. So when I find out about infidelity and other human flaws, I know it was a gift to have it revealed.
- I’m over the answers. I’m okay with “I don’t know.” And I’m excited to learn anew.
- I’m good with failure. I can fail all day long. I can fall out of handstand, I can flail in a yoga pose, and I can even write a sucky blog because I know there’s another chance to get it right.
- I no longer dress to look young. I’m happy with looking 50, whatever that means.
- I like my tribe. Finding like-minded people has been the best part of the journey.
- I’ve forgiven almost everyone who has done shit to me, and there were a lot. I am working on the others, but in truth, I feel there are some malicious acts that should not be forgiven.
- However, I never carry a grudge. Why bother? I’d rather carry a Louis Vuitton.
- I’m getting used to change. I’m not in control, and it’s a relief. The Universe is in control.
- Instead of worrying about destiny I clean my house. Clean what you can and the Universe will take care of the rest.
- I am a conscious eater. I am mostly a vegetarian who eats a little bit of free-range chicken, and occasionally humanely-raised bacon, and I don’t feel that makes me a bad person.
- I shop for karma. Diet is not the only way to change the world. A Louis Vuitton canvas bag is almost vegan, and almost is better than not at all.
- I am teaching slower yoga and a more refined movement, which seems to be limiting my appeal. I’m fine with working my way down the ladder because it feels right for me now.
- I’d rather be authentic than popular. I’ve been both, and I know which is better.
- I’ve learned a thing or two. I would never, ever, go back to my twenties.
- I’m a strong, capable, competent woman, and I’m okay if some people spell that B-I-T-C-H.
- I appreciate my weaknesses, because they are often my strengths.
- I say “Thank you,” instead of “F@$k you.” It might be my greatest accomplishment.
- Lastly, I know my dharma. I am better, stronger and wiser. Decisions come easier. Life is lighter. I am happier. It’s taken me 50 years and all I can say is it is better late, than never.
Whoever you are, wherever you are, enjoy your later years. It is much better than the alternative.
Originally published October 18, 2013
© Michelle Marchildon. All rights reserved.
Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She is an award-winning journalist and the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga, and Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga. She is a Columnist for Elephant Journal and a Contributing Editor for Mantra and Origin Magazines. She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and teaches Hatha Yoga in Denver, Co. You can take her classes on www.yogadownload.com or www.Yogasteya.com.