Fifty is the new fifteen, or how I am aging backwards by being more myself

Two days ago, I turned fifty. It seems absolutely impossible, but it’s true.

It’s completely liberating.

I’ve loved my life up until now— I’ve experienced and enjoyed so much.  When I was 21, I was living in Kenya. When was 25, I met the man I’d marry. When I was 30 we bought a house. When I was 40 we paid off that house and I quit my teaching job that had served and inspired me for 16 years. At 41 I hiked the whole Appalachian Trail. At 45 I became a certified life coach. At 47 I joined my first dance troupe. In between all those milestones there have been so many little wonders. Tons of travel, exploring, camping, learning, reading, being, dancing, playing. Of course there’s also been grief, sadness, worry and anxiety, but there’s been far more joy.

The older I get the more I’m interested in simplicity— in less doing, more being. I'm learning to be fully present in any situation, rather than constantly surveying the horizon for the next opportunity or experience.  I'm looking internally to decide what's important.

I'm writing this from the beach in Destin, Florida, here for our annual Thanksgiving trip. My friend Amy stayed with me last weekend - we have known each other for 28 years, more than half our lives. We reminisced and remembered younger, sillier and sometimes wilder days, and also allowed ourselves to feel young and silly and wild. 

I baked homemade rainbow-colored cupcakes and Amy impulse-bought me a giant fuzzy caterpillar at the grocery store.  



It was the perfect gift at the perfect time. Amy says I still look like I'm 12 and she can't understand how that's possible. A friend wrote on a photo I posted yesterday, wearing my new rainbow flowered swimsuit ideal for a teen, (see pic below) that I looked "15 and 90 - radiant and wise." What a compliment.


There might be many reasons for this.  One, I've been very lucky to live a relatively easy life.  I haven't been aged much by trauma and outside circumstances. And then there's something I can't quite describe or understand, but I feel young inside. I always have and maybe I always will.  I'm not much for pretense or putting on airs. I'm pretty much a truth-teller.  I used to worry that I needed to be more "grown up" to be seen as "legit" by colleagues and clients, but I'm no longer so sure.

Being myself seems most real and most genuine.  And now that I'm 50, I'm excited to step into the power of being completely me, even more.  I can't wait to see what that looks like.