Today is my 50th birthday. Just writing those words overwhelms me with emotion. When I turned twenty, thirty, and forty, it didn’t illicit such a strong reaction but turning fifty seems to be quite the milestone. On one hand I’m eternally grateful for being on this earth fifty years and for all of the lessons that life has taught me. On the other hand, I no longer recognize myself. The truth is that this new “Lorraine” started to morph when I hit my mid forties. Mid forties is the twilight zone. You are not sure what the hell is happening!
Around the age of 44 I thought there was something seriously wrong with me. It had to be an under-active thyroid that was contributing to the impossible weight gain that was taking place. I tried all of my old tricks. I worked out five days a week, went to spin class, started to swim, and participated in yoga. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. Mother Nature said “tough shit.” My body has always needed lots of sleep but now it demanded it. In my late forties I broke one elbow and had one ankle surgery. I felt like I was freaking rebuilding myself! The joys of midlife hit me hard.
You’re 50. TOUGH TABOOGANUTS!
Here’s what 50 is all about. It’s about acceptance. I don’t care how much money you have, how much botox you inject, how pretty your nails are or how skinny you are, when you turn 50 the fact of the matter is that you are aging and now it shows. Yes, you can age gracefully but you are aging nonetheless. You can’t stop it. Turning 50 is about wondering why you didn’t have your children at an earlier age because you are already looking for a home in a warmer climate. Turning 50 is realizing that you are so damn lucky to have made it this far. Turning 50 is appreciating the gentle breeze, the warm sun on your face and the laughter of friends because you realize that those are the true joys of life.
Turning 50 means you no longer suffer fools. Turning 50 means achieving your goals and living your dream because someday is no longer a word you can throw around lightly. It’s about grace and wisdom and peace in knowing that you have made it this far and that’s quite an accomplishment. I also feel a bit of sadness and I wouldn’t be writing an honest post without stating why that sadness exists and it has absolutely nothing to do with the number 50.
This phase of my life, the one I’ve been enjoying for the past fifteen years consists of so many wonderful friends. We live near each other, we have dinner with each other, we talk about the kids over a cup of coffee, and we all share a special sisterhood. I love each and every one of my friends with all of their strengths, flaws and differences. The sadness I feel is not from turning fifty but it is from understanding that this phase of my life will shift within the next ten years. I saw it happen with my own parents. People retire, they move away and enjoy their lives in a warmer climate. They travel, they take care of grandchildren and they make new friends while holding onto the old solid friendships through Facebook and through effort. Life changes and even though this has not happened for me quite yet, if I had to be completely honest, I know that this is down the line.
There’s an opportunity here as well. We have the opportunity through modern technology to maintain many of our friendships. We are the generation that reconnected with high school friends, college friends and friends across the globe. Virtual cup of coffees through video conferencing are a thing. If I want my friends to visit I will tell them to get in a self-driving car! Get used to it mid-lifers, technology has the ability to transform our lives.
I think Fleetwood Mac said it perfectly with these lyrics: “Can I sail through the changing’ ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life?” (Landslide, Fleetwood Mac)
These lyrics mean so much to me. “Can I handle the seasons of my life.” I’m trying. Each season requires different strengths and perspectives.
Bring it on.