The Big 5.0

Sep 26, 2014 by

Today is my birthday. I love my birthday. No matter what is actually happening, I always feel like the day is SPECIAL. That is because I put the word BIRTHDAY in front of everything and it takes on a special happy glow.

Cake is cake until it’s your birthday and then it’s BIRTHDAY Cake.

Birthday Coffee tastes better.

So does Birthday Dinner.

Birthday Nap.

Birthday Shoes. (New shoes are a must!)

Birthday Tubby.

And my personal favorite- Birthday SEX…

Even this- a Birthday Blog.

And this birthday is extra special, since it’s my 50th.

I thought I would feel weird, old and be upset about turning The Big 5.0. I thought I might rant, rave and look back mournfully while craving the wild days of my youth. I thought I might even grow an extra head or something.

An extra head, you say?

When I was really little, I was convinced that I was going to turn into a boy on my 10thbirthday since someone told me that at school. I was actually completely convinced it was going to happen and waited -horrified and intrigued for the magical transformation to happen.  I think I was simultaneously relieved and disappointed that it didn’t!

So growing a new head upon turning 50 seems perfectly reasonable. And some days that extra head might come in handy.


Truthfully, I am not upset at all. In fact, I feel great!  I am delighted to be 50 years old today. Couldn’t be more pleased.

I am way happier now in my life then ever before. Much happier then I have ever been at any of my other decade birthdays. But not everyone feels this way at the Big Birthdays. Just the other day, I was talking to one of my best girlfriends whose personal odometer had just ticked over to The Big 5.0.

“This sucks!” she told me over a nice dry Martini.  “I am totally NOT where I wanted to be in life. I thought by now that I would be much happier. More accomplished. I thought I would be somewhere more interesting and better then just a boring suburban mom. Do you think it’s too late? What if THIS is it? What if I never get THERE and I only ever stay HERE?”

She was lost in the massive rip tide of a Birthday Panic.

I understood what she was saying. Honestly, she has a great life in so many ways. In fact, she has a life that other people often envy. She has three gorgeous and accomplished children, a devoted partner who adores her and interesting work that she loves.

I buckled down and ordered her another Birthday Martini.

The milestone birthdays do invite a kind of self-reflection that the other ones don’t offer. It’s totally natural to look at where we are in our life and to ponder. And worse yet, to compare.

“I am not where I thought I was going to be either,” I confessed.

It’s true. I was remembering my 20th birthday all those many years ago and what I thought my life would be like. I was sure I was going to be a famous writer, live on the French Riviera and have a series of glamorous adventures. I am sure that my mind was warped from watching too many romantic 80’s movies like “Romancing the Stone.”

Ok, I admit it.  I thought my life was going to be like “Romancing the Stone.” Or possibly“Indiana Jones.” (How very sweet and silly to look back on that in hindsight!)


“Sweetie,” I told her, “Your life is awesome!  You are exactly where you should be.  It’s not a perfect life, but it’s RICH. It’s JUICY. And it’s REAL. No one has that perfect life that you see on TV. We look around at other people and see what they present on Facebook and compare, but everyone’s lives have the same challenges, road blocks and obstacles.  Since that is the nature of life!”

She looked slightly more relaxed, a few Martinis into the conversation. But I could tell here was more on her mind.

“50 is a tough age for women,” she said.  “We are all starting to age, but still trying to compete with the really young, hot women. We are not old enough to actually stop caring about how we look, to stop competing. But gravity is really taking its toll.”

She took a big swig from her second Martini.  “And there is MENOPAUSE.”

She said it just like she would have said EBOLA.

“Whose idea was it to put a mother with menopause under the same roof with a bunch of kids going through puberty, for crissake! It’s an epic battle of the hormones. What a design flaw!”

I had to laugh.

My pal is gorgeous and I will NOT say “for her age.” She is just gorgeous and would be in a room full of people at any age. In fact, I think she has really only come into her beauty fully in the past year or two.She looks better now then she ever has before. More confident. Sexier. More comfortable in her own skin. And despite her complaints I know that she is happier then ever before.

And it is a bone deep happiness that glows out of her and makes her luminous.

“I know hunny. It’s tough for us chicks when we have been made to believe that our very worthiness and lovability come down to youthful sexiness and fertility.”

I had a crisis of faith about this myself and had to wonder if any man would really love me or want me after I stopped my cycle. I asked The Man about this once and he just smiled a “come-hither” smile and did his heroic best to reassure me on that score. I can honestly say that I have not worried about it since.

I have read a lot about menopause lately. I love Dr.Northup’s book, “The Wisdom of Menopause.” In it, she talks about how women step into another layer of their power and their life’s purpose at menopause.There are huge changes in brain chemistry and hormones for sure, but underlying all of that is shift into wisdom.

At 50, we desire to bring our wisdom into the world by writing, teaching and mentoring the younger generations.  For me it’s about feeling totally secure on the inside and flowing out into the world from that place.  It’s about self-authorizing, really. I don’t need anyone else’s approval for anything maybe for the first time in my life.

This brings me a kind of fearless power and the desire to do what I want to do regardless of what other people think of me.

How unbelievably liberating.

“Ok, so maybe 50 isn’t so bad,” she said, after I shared my experiences with her. “Wisdom is good.”

I do notice that time slows down a little bit. I am aware that there is not the feeling of LIMITLESS time that one has at age 20, before all the big decisions that pin down the corners of one’s life are made.

These days I reflect a lot more before I commit to anything.Aware that if I say YES to this thing then I won’t have time or energy to do this OTHER thing.  I am pickier, more circumspect in my decisions, feeling that time is narrowing down to a more finite thing. Honestly, it just makes me more thoughtful and appreciative. Like winnowing down one’s possessions to the bare minimum and then really digging what’s left.

“Ok, I guess its not so bad being 50,” she said. “Wisdom, humor and self confidence are all pretty good. And so is being more grounded in your life’s purpose. I guess I’ll survive. And hey, it beats the alternative,right?”

“Yes indeed it does…”

So I toasted the girl with Birthday Martini, sitting opposite me in the mirror, who – in case you haven’t figured it out yet- is ME!

“Happy 50th hunny! I wish you the best year ever and know that the best of life is still yet to come!



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