Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Feeling Fifty-One

Actually, my birthday was in September.

But the seasonal shift into winter has caused me to think a lot about aging, changing and cycling through life. 

So, how does fifty-one feel?

- In so many ways, it's a relief.  I look how I want, feel how I want, say what I please and I'm less concerned of what others think.

- I have street cred.  Life has taught me a thing or two and I don't mind sharing that knowledge if I'm asked.  And sometimes when I'm not.

- Men treat me differently.  Now, in addition to staring at my rack (just kidding), they often defer to me when decisions are being made.  Honestly, it's a buzz.

- I'm damn sick of coloring my hair.  Currently, because I'm rebelling, my hair is a golden brown/gray combo.  Sometimes, I just stare at it and think, 'huh.' 

- My knees hurt sometimes, and my back.  Generally, I ignore it.

- I'm uninterested in looking younger, acting younger, feeling younger or even smelling younger.  For perhaps the first time, the way I look matches exactly the way I feel inside.

- Why aren't all women feminists?  I'm just sayin'.

- Lose those extra 10 pounds?  I may get to it someday, but I prefer to think more about my life and less about my weight.  

- A sense of urgency permeates my life.  Mom's death punctuated how quickly time passes.  The message is Do It Now.

- Personal authenticity reigns supreme.  
At fifty-one, I still have so many ways to grow as a woman in the world with many things yet to learn.  But, for this snapshot in time, life is interesting and complicated, poignant and rich. 

And very good.

How does your age feel to you? 

Picture from


  1. Well, I'm 31 and I feel so terribly young (much younger than when I was around 24). I take life less seriously and laugh and do things I want more. I guess that's the consequence of not having children yet. :)

  2. I can say as a 42-year-old, you make being 51 sound darned appealing!! I think there needs to be recognition of that phase of a woman's life after her child-raisng years where she moves beyond family and domestic duties, and steps more into herself. I like to call it the "Queen" phase.

    Sounds like you've reached, it, Darlin'!!
    Hugs- Rita

  3. Josephine, I salute you for looking so fab at 51 and feeling "bien dans ta peau" as the French say (ie "good in your own skin").

    I happen to be 51 too, but I must say that I dislike more than I like about it. This is partly due to the onset of various health problems since turning 50, including the usual hormonal nonsense and a bad back. I share your sense of urgency about seizing the moment, having lost not just my parents now but also friends and colleagues of my own age.

    I agree about personal authenticity reigning supreme in our 50s, and I do feel I have accumulated a lot of knowledge, which I also like to deploy on occasions. I am not sure that this knowledge has conferred any street cred on me, though I would like to think so... : - )

    I fret about the aging process, but am not so vain that I would turn to surgery or even non-surgical procedures, which seem to be flavour of the month at the moment! Or that is my stance on the matter at the moment...That said, I think I will need to step up my hair colouring regime - currently limited to occasional highlights - as I feel those greys coming on with a vengeance!

  4. Ines, 31 is a wonderful age, and you're right about it feeling younger, even, thank your 20's. Perhaps you're more comfortable in your own skin, and yet free enough to do exactly as you please. Enjoy this time!

  5. Left Coast Nose - I've missed seeing you! 51 has its ups and downs, but for the most part, I like it. Our son is on his own and its a time of great freedom. Not sure I'm in the Queen phase, but I like the analogy!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Vanessa, I love that we're the same age! And, believe me, you have plenty of street cred...

    I'm with you - surgery, as an attempt to look younger is just so unappealing. There's something that just screams insecurity about it. Let's face it, we are the age we are, and nothing will slow that down. Plus, I'm fascinated with the aging process and don't want to interrupt nature's impact on my face. Sounds weird, but it's true.

    Today, I decided I may actually color my hair, but in a way that evens everything out a bit, rather than trying to hide the gray.

    Most of all, I want to celebrate where I am, at every age. That may be idealistic, but it's my goal nevertheless.

  7. I want to weigh in on my thoughts about my age - 41. I never thought so much about my age until the past year, and I agree that losing my mother brought a new sense of "ungency" to things. One of the things I never want to be is one of those women who is trying so desperately to look younger and in reality, just looks rediculous. Since turning 40 I have spent much too much time wondering if now all the sudden certain things in my closet need to be discarded and yes, perhaps it's time to stop wearing the checkerboard vans and the tight t-shirts with the "hey look at my boobs" images or sayings. My body is in pain a lot too, my back hurts relentlessly. Sometimes I long for the days when I could go out partying to the wee hours of the morning and get up a few hours later and function at work like normal....but not really. I love that your 40's also means caring less about what people think and feeling a hell of a lot smarter than I did at 30.:)
    Hey if you would like, I would be happy to go shoe shopping with you....just sayin....
    Love you,
    Baby Sis

  8. Hey, Baby Sis - thanks for the comment! A woman's 40's are the beginning of the good stuff (younger years are certainly interesting, too). It's nice to know you don't have it figured out, but be comfortable with what you DO know.

    My 'give a shit' about being everything to everyone is just gone, to paraphrase the country song.

    It's fun going through life together, a decade apart. You are a beautiful, interesting woman. Good times are ahead.

    Love you back, to quote you.

  9. My mother is 59, and she loved this post. She agreed with everything you said.

    I've heard a lot about the sense of urgency. I'm 23, and I don't know much about it. People say that as I get older I won't want to spend as much time with superfluous friends or work at a money job that bores me. I think that kind of freedom might be refreshing. Scary too, though, because I can imagine becoming even more of a perfectionist.

    I feel like I'm old enough to know that I don't know everything, but not old enough to appreciate that.

  10. Joan, hi - glad your mom liked the post! Everything you're hearing about getting older is right. The way we spend our time becomes more important and we have less tolerance for the mundane and meaningless.

    Your comment about perfection interested me because that's something I had to deal with as I progressed through life. Here's what I've learned:

    Perfection is highly overrated. By the time something is totally, exactly right, the world has moved on and your perfect result is obsolete.

    It is the skillful management of chaos that brings about creative brilliance. Keep the door open to synchronicity - it's where all the great stuff happens.

    Thanks for your comment.



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