By the sheer numbers of baby boomers in the US alone (78 million of us) there has been a real shift in the belief that aging up is the kiss of death. More and more I am reading articles about redefining oneself after fifty. Surely, with children now grown and careers now satisfied I find that many are searching for what we want to do with the second half of our lives.
When I turned fifty I believe I was in my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual prime. It is a call to decide what is ahead, what we want to do with the rest of our lives. I exercised more than two hours a day, six days a week with fast walking, biking, and swimming a mile daily. I did my first marathon in Alaska through Team in Training with benefits to the Leukemia Society. I was in the lower twenty percentile of age of participants but finished in the top twenty percentile of participants. I went out and boogied at a party that night after the marathon. I looked and felt the best I ever had in my life. There is something very empowering to being in love with life.
Between fifty and sixty I traveled all over the world: to Australia for two months, to China, to Africa etc. I became more and more interested in photography as digital cameras now allow the most untalented of us to look like pros.
After sixty I took a mission trip to Africa. Then I went to live in Paris and took a young lover. I even wrote a book called “Meet Me Under The Eiffel Tower” which dealt with Paris, travel, sex, nitric oxide, menopause, kissing, lovers etc. What would drive me, a good little former Catholic girl, to write about such things? Naivete? Balls? Maybe confidence, who knows?
For so many decades, I maneuvered from one belief to another in an attempt to satisfy what my friends, culture, religion and family expected me to be. Then, an aha moment: Having gained confidence I decided that it is I who should define who I am. Like me or don’t; at least, decide on the truth.
What is next? I entertain dreams of trekking in Bhutan, attending the August festival in Edinburgh and enjoy wondering what dreams are yet to be dreamed!
AARP recently asked in their Magazine an important question: Is life after fifty what you expected? Great question! I am happy to admit it is nowhere what I expected. For me, that is a good thing.