The Big 5-0 And I Don’t Mean Hawaii

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Well it’s done, over, and there’s nothing at all I can do about it. My birthday this month signified the end of my forties and the beginning of…another decade.

For the past couple of years I’ve been anticipating the moment without trepidation, and I might even be able to say I looked forward to it but as those last few days ticked away, I found myself obsessively repeating, “I’m in my forties”, I’m in my forties”. I went to bed late on the 13th, not wanting the day to end but alas there was only one way to avoid the inevitable and that was not an option.

I didn’t go through any of this trauma when I was thirty-nine turning forty however twenty-nine was another story, and much worse than forty-nine. As tends to be the case with twenty-year-olds, the idea of turning thirty was mortifying. I thought life was over and it was time to put aside my foolish, fun ways and get serious about life. I had long hair until then but cut it short for something ‘sensible and mature’. It was only to shoulder-length but that was dramatic—my hair was so important; it consumed hours every day and a bad haircut warranted a meltdown. Each decade it gets shorter and shorter. By sixty, I’ll have a buzz cut but at least I no longer care what happens to it; (even that Christmas red, barely there ‘style’ didn’t phase me); I know it is unimportant and for that, I would not trade being fifty for a chance to be twenty-nine again.

So what does turning fifty mean for me in practical terms? Another plan. I’m a prolific planner; I have goals and plans for everything: annual, monthly, weekly and daily. I’ve kept an exercise journal for several decades albeit it has a lot of blank pages. And now I have a 10-year plan, which is something new. I hope when I turn sixty it doesn’t make me laugh.

Of course, nothing much has changed since turning fifty. I’m still waiting for maturity to arrive and life is as it was earlier in the month when I returned from Africa with wonderful new memories to keep me company in those twilight years (nineties). I’ve been welcomed to the club by others who assure me it is ‘the best club ever’. I’ve been told fifty is the new thirty and I should make an appointment for a colonoscopy. I think I’ll get a haircut instead. There’s so much to look forward to I can barely contain my excitement.

What about you? How do you cope with a changing decade?

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