A few weeks ago, I saw a headline in my news feed that proclaimed, This is What Fifty-Four Looks Like! I was fifty-four at that time, so, the headline definitely caught my eye, as did the picture that accompanied the article. It was a picture of Jennifer Lopez wearing a bikini and celebrating her fifty-fourth birthday.
Jennifer looked as beautiful as ever, and she appeared to be having a fabulous time celebrating her special day. As my eyes went back to the headline and then to the picture, it occurred to me that this is what fifty-four looks like for Jennifer Lopez at that moment.
When it comes to aging and how one should be at any given age, there is no one size fits all. Despite what social media and pop culture may want us to believe, there is no singular way to look, behave, dress, or feel at fifty-four or any other age. When we compare ourselves to our peers, someone tends to come out ahead, or better, than the other person, which is not fair to either person.
We arrive at each age bringing with us every single thing that has influenced our lives from the moment we entered the world, and we are uniquely ourselves and are constantly changing, learning, growing, and evolving. Aging looks different for each of us, literally and figuratively, and it’s a process, not a contest.
How Jennifer Lopez looks at fifty-four and her status in life are simply how fifty-four looks for her. That may seem like mere semantics, but it’s important to note. If I could rewrite the aforementioned headline, I would say, This is What Fifty-Four Looks Like for Jennifer Lopez!
With this article fresh in my mind, as I say good-bye to fifty-four and embrace fifty-five, I thought about my own headline, so to speak. So, this is what fifty-five is for me today, as I celebrate my birthday . . .
- Realizing that over half of my life is over, and at the same time, feeling like, in some ways, my life is just getting started.
- Feeling as if life is picking up speed and trying to keep pace and not waste time on what is not important and does not serve me well.
- Prioritizing my physical and mental health, in order to have the quality of life I desire.
- Getting around to getting our affairs in order, instead of continuing to put them off.
- Simultaneously wanting to do more, while wanting to retreat and simply be still.
- Wishing somebody had fully explained all of the physical, emotional, and mental changes that menopause brings, instead of focusing primarily on the cessation of the menstrual cycle. There’s more to it. So. Much. More. IYKYK.
- Taking great pride and joy in watching all of our children become adults and live their own lives, while wishing I keep them under our protective wings forever.
- Facing the mortality of my parents, my peers, and myself, which causes unexpected bouts of anxiety and fear, usually during the wee hours of the morning.
- Understanding what my parents meant about how much fun it is to be a grandparent.
- Continuing to make peace with past regrets and mistakes and letting go of my guilt and shame.
- Allowing things, myself included, to be good enough.
- Focusing on cultivating and maintaining a healthier relationship with myself and with the people in my life.
- Exploring my spirituality.
- Holding space for the range of emotions that I feel as I grow.
- Feeling extraordinarily grateful that I made it to fifty-five.
This is what fifty-five is for me today, and it’s just a starting point. I am looking forward to not just being fifty-five, but making this a year of fifty-thrive!
I kicked off my birthday celebration earlier this week with Tuesday’s podcast episode, Fifty-Thrive. If you missed it, see the link in bio to hear about how Sinead O’Connor and Barbie helped me get ready for fifty-thrive.
***Content warning: This episode includes references to Sinead O’Connor & her mental health struggles, abuse, & son’s death by suicide, which may be sensitive for some listeners. Also, there are spoilers about the Barbie movie.***
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