Age 50 is the new timeless

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“I” doesn’t appear often in this column, so I hope you’ll indulge this special occasion — special not because it’s mine, but because it’s a milestone for most people.

I turned 50 Monday. And I’m thrilled about it (yes; a new photo is overdue).

Over the hill. AARP-eligible. Sags, wrinkles, and gray hair.

Black-themed birthday parties with canes and adult diapers. And the worst: Denials.

Denying who and where we are in life makes us feel bad about ourselves, and I’ve never bought into it. (Minus a short period of hair-dyeing recommended by well-meaning girlfriends, and long since abandoned).

“Nature gives you the face you have at 20; it’s up to you to merit the face you have at 50.” — Coco Chanel

I like my white-streaked hair, with its wiry unruliness. I accept the spider veins on my face. They’ve become part of me.

So to getting old I say, bring it on. Being alive to experience aging is a gift, and a great joy.

This grandma loves every age spot, every ache, every slow metabolic cell. I’ve earned them all.

Each represents a life experience or phase, memories good and bad — excruciating loss and overwhelming happiness. Aging reminds me of what came before, and where it’s brought me now: Closer to wisdom.

How much better are we at living life, as we get older? Age is no guarantee; there are wise youth, and foolish seniors.

“A man who sees the world the same at 50 as he did at 30 wasted 20 years.” — Muhammad Ali

Wherever we began as adults along the road to maturity, aging takes us further ahead. Life becomes easier and less stressful. Decisions become easier, and more often correctly made. We know (and hopefully, like) ourselves better, and are less disturbed by what others think or expect of us.

I wouldn’t trade that peace of mind for a 30-year-old body, and am determined to feel the same until I croak.

“By the time we hit 50, we’ve learned our hardest lessons. We have found out that only a few things are really important. We have learned to take life seriously, but never ourselves.” — Depression-era actress and comedienne Marie Dressler

Here’s to meriting 50, but not taking it too seriously.

• • •

Sholeh Patrick is a columnist for the Hagadone News Network who’s proud of her AARP membership card. Contact her at Sholeh@cdapress.com.

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