Here are just some of the reasons why 50 is better than 30:
- The right friends – At 30, I still hadn’t figured out negativity vampires. Some people feed off chaos and negativity; if there’s none around them, they create it. I used to allow their chaos to affect me, and I wasted far too much time with them when I was young. Now, I have learned “The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” (Epictetus) Now, I have friends who call forth my best.
- Better TV – I slept far too well when I was young—I never saw any late-night television. Now, thanks to peri-menopausal sleep disturbances, I watch Craig Ferguson several times a week.
- Healthier diet – Instead of speeding along like a high-speed rail system, my metabolism now chugs like a steam engine in the Rockies. This means I eat a healthier diet. No more poutine for me!
- Comfortable feet – No more high heels, ever. (Well, 2 inches, maybe.)
- Killer puzzle skills – I’ve been practising, and I’m much sharper at puzzles than I was twenty years ago. I have yet to meet a Su Doku that can best me.
- Active lifestyle – Twenty years ago I was sure that my 50-year-old body would be pretty decrepit. But an active lifestyle has been good to me. I still run, jump, bend, stretch just like I did 20 years ago. And experience has made me a better tennis player.
- Acceptance of my body – Age brings with it not only acceptance of the appearance of the body, but an ability to marvel at its wonders. My body miraculously created two children! This body miraculously fed them! Did I mention I can still run, jump, bend and stretch like I did 20 years ago? My body is amazing!
- Acceptance of life’s plan (or lack thereof) – At 30 I worried, “What will I do when I grow up?” I fretted that I still had to ask that question at the age of 30. Why wasn’t my career at its zenith? Was I really doing what I was supposed to be doing? Now, I know that it’s OK to still be asking “What will I do when I grow up?” I love life’s unexpected developments—the ones that send you off in an unanticipated direction. The “Phew! I didn’t see that coming!” moments. It’s just a blast to hang on and enjoy the ride.
- Ability to deal with hardships – Twenty years ago I didn’t see any pain on the horizon. I didn’t know the depths to which I would have to dig within myself to handle what would come. Back then, I wouldn’t have seen myself as being able to handle it. But I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I thought I was. I’m proud of the way I shouldered the burdens. I learned the power of presence, and that in the hardest moments, sometimes holding a hand and singing a soft version of “Amazing Grace” is enough.
- A place for faith – The 30-year-old me thought faith was for the weak. The 50-year-old me has learned that the opposite is true. Over the past 20 years, I learned—much to my great surprise—that a life of body and mind alone is a straight line that can’t stand up. Spirit added to body and mind creates a triangle for a fulfilled life. And I learned that it’s not enough to be “spiritual” without a community of faith to support me and challenge me into continuous growth and learning. Boy, I wish I’d known at 30 how much I was missing.
I wonder what I’ll write about when I’m 70? I bet my tennis game will be even deadlier by then.