I turned 50 last year. I definitely wasn’t looking forward to it and flip-flopped between the resistant mantra of “I hate getting old” and an acceptance state … “This sure beats the alternative!”.
Anyway, it’s nearly a year later and during this time I have turned my perspective inwards and reflected on why my ticket into the latter stages of my life should concern me.
I have never been a vain person, so it’s not that I am losing my perfect taut facial skin and unblemished complexion. Nor is it that I have had the perfect bikini wearing figure which is now lost to me along with the confidence to wear it.
Mentally I feel in my 20’s, so when I catch an off-guard reflection of myself (such as in a shop window) I can be brutally slammed into realising this clear betrayal exists between my physical body and mental state.
As I have aged, people look at me differently and treat me differently. They often give up the seat on the train or bus for me (which I graciously accept), and call me mam (to which I respond with a smile). I will never be that ungrateful cranky person.
Here is what I have concluded from my time of reflection. There is no widely held societal blueprint for this second half of life’s journey.
From birth up to 50 we follow the path that society has for us… go to school, get an education, build a career, meet that special someone to build our life with, make a home, add human or furry children to our family and raise these children.
Phew – we have happily followed that exhausting path. Now it’s the second half. What is the societal blueprint here? Work some more until retirement, travel, mind the grandkids?
I am planning for another 50 years, so I’m progressively developing my own personal blueprint to extract as much as I can from this wonderful life I have been given.
It recognises the differences faced with this second half – physical capability, mental agility, loss of loved ones, importance of connectedness and more.
It’s time to get in the driver’s seat, embrace where I am and navigate this exciting future!
The lead up to turning 50 impacted Sharon McAvoy more than she anticipated. Entering this ‘afternoon’ life stage has led to reflections and plans for navigating the ‘evening’ life-stage. In her articles Sharon explores and shares her unique perspectives and plans to take on ageing.
Sharon holds a Bachelor of Business in Accounting and Graduate Diploma in Management. She has worked in finance for many years and presently works full time in Contract Management and serves on a couple of committees. She balances this with her family life where she is busy with her husband and two children.