This weekend I hit a huge milestone in life. I’m turning 50!
That sounds old, doesn’t it?
Turning 50 marks a shift – physically and emotionally: My back aches a little. My flexibility is not what it was just a decade ago. My children are growing up, my parents are growing old and my home is getting emptier.
On the up side, I’m alive, healthy, working and happily married.
I look around and I see people accomplishing amazing feats in their later years of life. They are starting businesses, mentoring young professionals and advancing in their companies. They are traveling, taking up new hobbies and enjoying their romantic relationships in ways they didn’t have time for while raising their young children or that they put off for later.
Seeing others embrace their senior years has inspired me. When I recently read this week about Patrick Pichette, the 52-year old CFO of Google, who unexpectedly said he was retiring to get to the fun stuff he kept putting off for later in life, I understood where he was coming from.
Like most people my age, I have more wrinkles than I did a few years ago. I’m not going to lie, that bothers me. But I also have a lot more confidence, direction and a new appreciation for the people in my life.
After 50 years, I know now that fun and happiness are ageless. Betty While sure looks like she’s having a great time! At 64, Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective cage, fulfilling her longtime dream — and she's has lots more on her bucket list.
When I look at my peers, I see how easy it can be to get caught up in our Inboxes, our social media accounts, our work projects, and let the stress of our jobs overwhelm us. With half a century behind me, I’m beginning to realize life is too short to waste time being stressed or unsure of our priorities.
I ask myself: If offered a do over, would I take it? The answer is no.
By now, I also have learned that life is not fair, that awful things happen to wonderful people and sometimes even courage and will power aren’t enough to defeat the odds. It’s that perspective that makes work life balance worth striving to obtain!
When I blow out the candles on my birthday cake, I will appreciate the blessings in my life and look forward to the great years ahead. There are no do-overs but there are all kinds of opportunities for 50 years olds who are open to taking them. That will be me, and if you’re creeping up on 50 — or hitting another milestone in your life — I hope it will be you too.