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Turning 50
Mom with a View

Turning 50

Who are we kidding? 50 is not the new 40.


Recently we had a Shabbos guest who we hadn't seen in a long time. She had moved to New York and was back in town for a friend's wedding. We were having a good time, reminiscing about people and places. At one point she turned to my husband and said, "Nachum, I've known you about 20 years now and you haven't aged a bit. You look exactly the same as you did when we met."

My husband beamed. And I sat waiting patiently for my turn. I waited and waited (Hullo! Over here!) and waited and waited... Then the conversation turned to other topics.

But I'm okay with that (really). I can accept that I look my age (well I can accept that I don't look 25 or even 30!). And I didn't give that conversation a second thought (okay, I didn't give it a third thought) until a few months ago when I had one of those birthdays. You know the kind I mean -- big, scary numbers. As much as I couldn't believe all those years had passed they have and I decided not to buy into the PR -- 50 is not the new 40 or 30. Who are we kidding? It just isn't.

It may be true that people are living longer, and the expectations and energy of a 50-year-old are not what they were 100 years ago (thank God!). But you can't erase 10 or 20 years. I know the date on my birth certificate. I can't pretend I'm really 30. And I'm not sure I want to.

It's also not true that "you're only as old as you feel." I like facts. I'm as old as the calendar says I am. And I prefer it that way. Because even though there are days when I feel like a kid, there are also times when I feel about 70 or 80!

However I feel, I'm still 50. And that's okay too. It's even okay that I look it (most of the time, and as long as I avoid those magnifying mirrors!). Because I've earned most of my wrinkles and a few of those gray hairs.

I frequently point out to our children which wrinkles they are individually responsible for (a pastime they really appreciate!) or, on a good day, just claim they are all laugh lines.

But it is what it is. At the end of Abraham's life, the Torah teaches us that "he came with his days." This expression means that he used his days fully, made each moment productive. And while I'm certainly not laying claim to the greatness of Abraham, nor can I say I've used every minute fully, I can say that this is my goal, that I try to make full and meaningful use of my days, some days with more success than others.

And if the price is that I look like I have, so be it. It's worth it.

I'm grateful for all the opportunities in my life thus far, the joy, (most of) the challenges, and the hard work. It's okay if my guest doesn't say I haven't aged because I have. I just pray that I have also "come with my days." And that I am granted many more chances to do so. Maybe the new 50 can just look at life through new eyes every day, anticipating the future instead of dwelling in the past.

There's more to say but there's a new anti-aging cream on sale at the mall and I just need to run out...

February 23, 2008

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Visitor Comments: 17

(17) Anna, May 12, 2015 3:04 PM

Love the article of turning 50 and one on 60.

I'm turning 50 soon and I love that these articles point out to pause and review what accomplished so far in life. It's all about giving and growing.

(16) Maria, November 5, 2009 11:07 AM

I like to shimmy and kick and stretch and kick; I'm 50!

I google of women turning 50 in November brought me to your blog and I am delighted. I had no clue what 50 would look like and for that I am thankful. Everyday opens on its own and invites me to share in as much as I choose. When I finally rest, there are times that the day has been packed, pounded down, and refilled; yet others that are light as fluff. These days I honor either and both. I have learned the value of rest and play and being. I thought 50 would mean a big party, a gathering, an open celebration of all that I am with those I enjoy sharing time with. Instead, as the day approaches, I find I prefer the quiet of my family, my home, and my life. I will however, shimmy and kick and stretch and kick! I'm 50!

(15) Tim, October 17, 2009 6:06 PM

I will be turning 50 this month and don't feel any different than I did at 40. I don't hurt any more than I did then. I look about the same. I remember people that were over 50 used to tell me, "Wait till you turn 50" Well! it's just around the corner and it's no big deal. As long as you keep your health, and have a roof over your head and food in the cabinet, no age is a big deal.

(14) , October 16, 2009 1:56 AM

I'm having a pitty party. And the only one invited is me

(13) Carrie Connolly, September 24, 2008 12:57 AM

It is 11pm and my husband and kids are asleep. I was doing some work on the computer (well, research) and decided to look around a bit. I am turning 50 in a couple of days. All I can say is that I, too, have earned the wrinkles as well as the wisdom and wouldn't trade any of it. I lost my best friend 5 weeks ago to cancer-she was 50, too. With the loss of my older brother last year and Mary's death, well, I just look at my life as a true blessing-everyday. Happy New Year!

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