Now that I'm less than 12 months away from turning 50, I've been thinking about what that milestone is going to mean to me. What amazes me is that while I'm earning less money, have less professional prestige, and claim fewer close friendships, I also have less stress, less drama and fewer debts. In reality, I have more... more peace, more authenticity, more creativity, more self-confidence, more spiritual maturity, more meaningful relationships and more joy. Is my life challenge-free? Absolutely not, but age and experience have given me a different perspective. Big problems are much smaller when you learn to focus on the big picture.
If you're a woman over 40 and you've never read an issue of More magazine, I highly recommend it. It's a wonderful magazine that celebrates the joys of being a "well-seasoned woman." In honor of their 10th anniversary, the magazine's editors posted a list of 10 reasons why we're really glad we're over 40". Here's the short version of their list along with my editorial comments in italics.
- We know our own style. I feel absolutely no need to wear trendy clothes that cost a fortune and make me look like a clown. I didn't want to look pregnant in my 20's, and I certainly don't want to look pregnant now.
- We've honed our ability to allow things to roll off our backs. I know that there's always going to be at least one person in any social setting that's going to say something "stupid". Better them than me.
- We feel absolutely no compulsion to have a MySpace page, and no need to apologize for not having one. What's MySpace?
- We've grown to appreciate the singularity of our own selves. I'm much happier being a late bloomer than being the most gorgeous girl in junior high school who now looks like she's 65.
- Sex is better than ever, largely because we're not afraid to ask for what we want and realize that faking orgasm only reinforces male ineptitude. Enough said.
- We are able to embody the confidence and wisdom of Coco Chanel, who once quipped, "I don't do fashion. I am fashion." When the situation warrants it, I can definitely "clean up well." But then, I can look good in jeans and bare feet too.
- It's a cinch to say no. That would be "no" as in no more overcommitting to things I have no interest in doing, no more giving my phone number to people I don't want to call me, no more attending social events out of a misguided sense of politeness, and no more apologizing for things I'm not sorry for or that I have no control over.
- Younger men are now old enough to have real careers and order a round of martinis. Yes, there's something to be said for younger men when you reach my age. :)
- We've finally absorbed the reality that no pair of $3,000 sandals will ever be as sexy as quarterly dividends. $3,000! I'd never pay $100 for a pair of sandals!
- We've regained all that time we used to spend freaking out about turning 40. True.
I've decided that I want to do something extraordinary for my 50th birthday, but I have no idea what yet. If you did something wonderful for your 50th (or 60th or 70th) or you're planning to do something wonderful, please share!