Turning 50: Time To Jump Off The Hamster Wheel And Start Living

After a pause for introspection, the newest member of the 50-club packs her bags on the road to adventure

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Turning 50 was a shock

What was it like turning 50? Well, let me tell you it was quite a shock. Not because I feel old, or see my skin sagging, or feel decrepit.

In fact, hitting the half-century didn’t bother me at all at first. I finally feel comfortable in my skin and with who I am.

I don’t need to make excuses anymore, I feel I have the right to speak my mind, say no, go out looking less than presentable, wear my pyjamas all day on my day off and not have to explain why to anyone.

I am happy at where I am in my career; I am pleased with my accomplishments. I’ve had amazing relationships. I feel OK in my skin.

Not to say I haven’t partaken in some fillers and Botox, I have. I want my Ageing Badge of Honour to have some spit and polish.

Some may call it vanity, but my sister Jodi calls it maintenance and I tend to agree. I’m 50 years of age, not old for god sakes. I will always be young on the inside and I want my outside to look good for its age.

When I returned from my last bout of maintenance it felt good to have people say how refreshed and relaxed I looked. I said that’s what a great vacation does for you and smiled secretly to myself while giving myself an inner high five.

Ready for a shake-up at 50

The shock of it all arrived unexpectedly when I woke up a few weeks after my birthday and said to myself, “My god, I’m 50, what am I going to do with the rest of my life?”

It had suddenly dawned on me that I have more time behind me than I do ahead. I actually do have an expiration date and it’s much closer than it used to be. A very sobering and scary thought. It was a teenage flashback to what am I going to do with my life.

But now I have less time to squeeze it all in. My bucket list has a lot of things in it. All those things I put off for later – well later has arrived. All those things that life piles on you and that seems to weigh you down, well 50 makes you want to throw them all off and become lighter.

“In fact, I want to be so light I’ll float away and enjoy life again. Not just enjoy it, but be fulfilled, feel whole, feel invigorated, be challenged.”

Feeding my emotional and spiritual side has become more important. 50 has made me re-evaluate my life and my goals. I want to do those things I put off. I want to do all the famous walks in the world before I do become too decrepit.

I want to work for Doctors without Borders, or some other similar organisation before they tell me they want someone younger. I want to break out of my Groundhog Day life and make a rapid right turn to something new.

To stay with the animal metaphors, I want to jump off my hamster wheel and pursue my dreams. If I don’t do it now I have the distinct impression it may never happen. This is my life calling and my last chance to be adventurous, reckless, headstrong, brave and involved.

Fifty makes you hear that call and realise it’s now or never. It’s not a mid-life crisis or a psychotic break, though the restless sensation and constant questioning of my life almost made me call the nearest psychiatrist’s office.

Turning 50 means hitting the road

But after much reflection and talking to myself, what I discovered is; 50 is the time when you realise suddenly that you have grown up, and it’s time to kick yourself in the bum and get out there, and fulfill those dreams you kept putting on the back-burner.

It’s time to live life how you always wanted to, before it’s too late altogether.

So watch out world, I’m packing my hiking boots and heading out with the intention of kicking ass and taking names.

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