This is 50.
At the end of last week, just after we rang in the new decade, I ran in a new decade! Being born at the first of the year at the beginning of a decade provides a convenient opportunity for reminiscing and retrospective. Not that I am one to reminisce, I am more of the live-in-the-moment kind of person. But I thought I would take the opportunity to share some thoughts.
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Half-life? Nope, full-life!
I’ve been thinking about that midlife crisis thing or the notion that “your life is half over,” but I think “no, life is not over at 50. It is only different.” I am happy to have led a meaningful life so far, and not having kids, I am content with the amount of time I’ve had on the planet, fulfilled with living every day as it is. If I only had a year left or 10, I’d be just as happy with my life. Having it be “half over” doesn’t feel me with dread for the things that I have yet to do. I am curious about what is coming up next. There are things that I would like to do, but I wouldn’t be filled with regret if they didn’t happen.
Midlife changes don’t happen at 50 anymore!
My life changed at 32.
I’ve written about it before but I was a miserable, unhappy person before 2002. And I made everyone around me miserable as well. I was good at my job, but man I was a bitch. I had a chip on my shoulder and always had something to prove. April 2002 I woke up at age 32 and said to myself, “Man, it is painful being you. What is your problem? Get over yourself and get on with your life!”
And I did. I’d already proved myself, discovered it was pointless and realized I was okay and enough. I’ve got to know myself and found out that I’m actually pretty awesome. That I have the capacity to choose happiness and live in the moment and I never looked back.
And again at 45.
I’ve had a great career with inspiring bosses and colleagues. But close to 30 years of corporate life also came with a cost. My move up the ladder that took me to a fantastic position with a great team, a mega salary and bonus structure also came with a toxic environment (I hate that word, but it is the best I can think of at the moment). Towards the end of 2015 when I was about to turn 46, I radically changed my career direction, quit my job, sold my home and bought an RV with Mr. Misadventures. I took a sabbatical and hit the road. I don’t regret it for one single moment. We spent 18 months on the road discovering just how blessed this country is with natural wonders – our national, state and county parks are fantastic!
I re-entered the job market with a remote position in a new home and a new state ready to hit a career reset. It was a good job, but it wasn’t a great job and that was okay. I always have faith that things have a way of working themselves out.
Experience finally wins!
Bloggers who are long in the tooth are not necessarily rewarded for their longevity. Newer bloggers starting out are on their SEO game early. They don’t have 1000s of older posts they are sitting on that need to be optimized. BUT professionally, for my actual daily career, I am finally reaping the rewards of working so hard the last 3 decades. I am at a really good company. I mean really good. The kind of company that I would have never imagined existed anymore. They are open in every sense of the word and challenging. You have to prove your worth as everyone at the company is really good at what they do. And you know what? So am I. I am valued and respected for my experience and what I bring to the table. For my open-mindedness and positivity, something I am extremely proud of given my pre-age-32 life. I have an exceptional manager, a fantastic team and an interesting and inspiring role. Finally!
I’ve got the face of a 40-year-old, neck and hands of 60-year-old!
I’m good in my own skin. As long as I have a good haircut I can take on the world! (Trust me, that has been a struggle.) I have been blessed to have a youthful appearance and I thank moving to Phoenix for instigating a moisturizing routine that I would have NEVER started if it had been for the insufferable dry air in this desert! Now it is part of a daily routine that I definitely did not have before I moved here but will continue to maintain once I leave here. I may not complete the 10 steps in Clemence’s (of Ageless Beauty the French Way: Secrets from Three Generations of French Beauty Editors) “light version” of her moisturizing routine, but I do have 3 more steps than I used to! P.S. I am in the middle of the new book Older, but Better, but Older, from the authors of How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are which is making me laugh and giggle with every page turn, check it out!
I may have the face of a 40-year-old, but I have the hands and neck of a 60-year-old, but hey you can’t win them all! I am not big on putting on lotion (see above!) including my hands and while I always wear sunscreen outside, I do think my hands have taken a beating in the last 2 years in Arizona. As for my neck, I spent 20 years wearing scarves/pashminas nearly every day that I hardly ever looked at my neck. I haven’t worn a lot of scarves in Phoenix so I’ve noticed in photos that my neck looks “old” I started lamenting on that until a few weeks ago, right before the holidays, I saw a photo of a female cousin of mine who is actually younger and I realized we have the same neck! I didn’t do anything “wrong” or neglect any neck beauty treatment, it’s just my DNA and I can totally live with that! Why? Because I am 50-years-old, comfortable in my own skin and don’t give a damn! (You’ll understand when you are 50 too…)
Recovery & Health
The one thing I will say about getting older that sucks is that it does take longer to recover from injuries. It is something I first noticed in the second year of our RV trip. I injured my elbow twisting open a carafe that was too tight, it took 6 months to recover from it (thank you to the doctor in Portland who finally got me the right type of brace for the specific injury). Then this past April I twisted my wrist pulling a heavy carry on suitcase down from the super tall overhead bin space on my Air France flight to Paris. That also took 6 months to heal completely. I am not walking around tiptoeing but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t worry about injuries sometimes. I have never broken a bone or anything like that, but if I do, it seems it will take longer to recover.
At age 50 I am the healthiest I’ve ever been. I went low carb 2 years ago, lost 40 pounds and never looked back. I do still eat carbs, but they are a treat and not the norm. I eat less processed food and look forward to eating more fresh vegetables once we get out of the desert!
So what about travel?
So what about travel? This is a travel blog after all! Well, the new job is definitely going to have me hopping on more planes this year than I have been for work in awhile. Working for a domestic bank for nearly 3 years plus a nearly 2-year sabbatical certainly cramped my business travel life. As I am working on growing the program I manage it means getting me out there in front of peeps at events and in regions, something I am very passionate about doing. But what about personal travel?
I still love traveling although these days I hate airports and airplanes a lot more. I want to spend more time getting to know the places I visit at a slower pace. So I’m happy to miss all the must-do spots forgoing it for more unique, more intimate experiences or to spend more time getting to know the people and the products behind a particular meal or place. That’s why I enjoyed our time in Brittany France last year and we are moving a little further south and exploring even more in the fall. Brittany is such a huge region of France and it has so many stories to tell.
I will never get enough of Paris. So I will always gravitate back whether it is for a week or a weekend. Like any large city, I will never see it all.
Even if I am not a fan of bucket lists there are locations that I would like to get to in the next 10-15 years. More of Japan. Croatia and Africa for the first time. I have been truly blessed to see a lot of the world and if I never travel to a single other place (which is not going to be the case) I would be satisfied that I had seen a lot and would not have regrets.
Stepping down from my platform now. While turning 50 is a big milestone, for me it is just another day in a life that I would label really good. However, I did want to take a little moment to acknowledge that the best thing about being 50 is I really know myself. I now know what I like. I know what I don’t. And I’m absolutely okay with ditching what I don’t without feeling guilty about it. Life is short. Do what you like to do and choose happiness!
I leave you with a final quote that I appreciate:
By the time we hit 50, we have 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. (Marie Dressler)
How about you? Does the idea of turning 50 scare you? Are you 50 and have something to share? Do tell!
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