APPROACHING FIFTY – THE DAYS LEADING UP ARE SOMETIMES THE HARDEST
One of the hardest parts of being fifty is often times the lead up. I found for Glenn, myself and many friends that those six months before the big day were really loaded with angst.
I am now discovering the further you burrow into the land of your fifties and sixties it seems to get easier in certain ways. But the over night leap from your forties to what the French call The Youth of Old Age, is hard for many people.
Glenn, who is normally good natured was uncharacteristically surly during the months leading up to his 50th birthday. He would bark he didn’t want a party. I gave him one anyway. He did not want to talk about it: there is nothing he won’t talk about. I finally said one day “You’re freaked out about being fifty.” He glared at me and walked out of the room. He came back a few minutes later and admitted I was right. He was freaked out, he got over it. He had no choice. None of us do.
I took the approach I do with most of my birthdays, I spend the six months before my birthday telling people that I’m actually the age I will soon be. I guess I’m cutting off six months of being younger than I will ever be again, but it lessens the shock when you wake up and have a different number tattooed on your head. So I told everyone I was fifty long before I was. I don’t do that so much anymore.
And I have many friends who will remain nameless, who have confessed their terror of crossing into the new land of 50, many of them men!
It is just a number, and when you wake up the next day you feel exactly the same, sort of. It’s kind of like getting married after you’ve been living with someone. But it does bring many changes: And all of a sudden you are fifty. You can tell someone you are forty -nine and they say nothing. You say I’m fifty and they say ”Wow you look good for fifty.” But then the retort really is, to quote Gloria Steniem from many years ago. “This is what forty-seven looks like.” The face of fifty is a very different face than that of our grandparents, but the image of the later is still etched in many a mind.
My friend Joanne Wilson who is a wonderful blogger , foodie and traveler and many of the things I love, is turning fifty in October. She does not seemed freaked out, but she talks about the changes in her life and how it’s not at all what if was when she was thirty.