Today’s My Birthday

January 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Personal Development

Last month, I was at the gym as usual, trying to kick it up a notch by introducing some interval training. I was really working it, lost in the aura of my ipod (thank you, Rolling Stones), challenging myself for a real run and gun for sixty seconds here and there.

Soon thereafter, an acquaintance asked me if I was doing a new routine and wanted to know why I was pushing myself so hard. I explained that I was turning fifty next month, and I thought I should see how much I could handle, even if only for a very short time. She looked at me, exasperated.

“You’re turning fifty? Wow…you look great. But why are you telling me you’re almost fifty? I mean, no offense, but you really shouldn’t be telling anyone!”

Huh? I shouldn’t? Should I feel shame? (Nope. Don’t feel shame.) Embarrassment? (That’s kind of an odd word to use, isn’t it? Should I feel shocked? (Well okay…yes, the shock factor set in a few months back, but I’ve reached the point of total acceptance.) What should I feel?

One word does it for me: blessed. Each and every year presents new opportunities and new challenges, and as I get to know myself better, I really do feel more respect for who I am and who I’ve become to be. Sure, it feels odd to (physically) be fifty when I really do feel the same as I did when I was much younger. But it is what it is and I’m embracing it with huge, open arms.

The majority of my friends who’ve been turning fifty haven’t thrown a party for themselves. Everyone has celebrated in their own, independent way. Is this because we’re women, and turning fifty is clearly “over the hill”? Or is fifty something that one simply doesn’t celebrate? Is this the time that we really start lying about our age? If so, what are we afraid of?

Are our lives supposed to be so perfect by this time that if they’re not, we’re upset by that? I say bah! Seize it, grab it, celebrate it. I’ve chosen to use the excuse of a birthday to get together with close friends and hike, eat, and enjoy our health and the simplicity of being together. The fact that it’s my birthday is almost coincidental…I’m just marking time.

One thing many of us do, be it a birthday or a new year, is think about where we are and where we’d like to be. The fact that this year will be pivotal in my life (my youngest daughter will head off to college) may, in fact, be even more earth shattering than the birthday itself. Luckily for me, the two circumstances have forced me think long and hard about where I’m headed. And that’s not such a bad thing.

Time will tell if I start to futz about my age. For those of you that do, I’d love to hear from you. For those of you who don’t, I’d love to hear about that too. And hey…. anyone out there taking “advantage” of joining the (yes, I’m saying it) AARP?

Thanks for the birthday wishes.

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One Response to “Today’s My Birthday”
  1. Sharon says:

     I love my 50’s.  Turning 30 seemed to be more devastating than 50, and 60 doesn’t worry me in the slightest. Matter of fact, one thing that I love about getting older is I care less and less about what others think about me.  Older age has some freedom attached to it.
    I would venture to guess that one’s thinking accounts for the greater part of one’s experience.  If we think we are old, we are.  Whatever we think about ourselves tends to either be true or will come true shortly.
    I was fortunate to have parents who never seemed to be preoccupied with aging.  They never acted or looked old, worried about getting/ being old, or even referred to themselves as old.  They were not physically fit people, as they didn’t exercise, but their meals always included lots of  fruits and vegetables. Both of my parents minds were very active as well.  They laughed throughout each day and they had a great ability to move through their troubles with a hope and confidence about tomorrow
    The only time I did see my parents look “old” was a week or two prior to their deaths.    Illnesses had worn their bodies down and for this short period, they looked and acted very old as one would expect when one is dying from an illness. When I saw them looking this way, it confirmed that illness had done this to them, not age.  . 

    I am grateful for such role models and for the way I think about age.  I am currently working on changing my thinking about exercise.  Not so crazy about it.

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