Dear Wonderful Community of Readers/Writers,
I will be celebrating my 50th Birthday on August the 7th, 2015. I am so happy! Family and Friends will be joining me for a garden luncheon in my backyard on the Saturday. I managed to get over 24 people to come celebrate with me in the middle of high vacation time here in Ontario, Canada. Now I have a small house and garden (not to mention very small budget) and I have had to rent tables, chairs, dishes, glasses, and cutlery and ask for the wonderful help of friends and family to pull it all off. Small extravagances such as half the food being catered and a Merry Maids house clean the day before have really pushed my humble budget of $1000. A looming strike has made me scale back on decor and extravagant spending! Thank goodness the garden is pretty already. I am organized and ready for the big event. Most importantly, I am ready to be FIFTY!
Now I cannot brag that I am in the best shape in my life…actually bad knees and a new excruciating pain in my bottom left heel have curbed a lot of extended walking of late but not the eating. I do eat green veggies as much as is humanly possible and avoid too many prepared foods, too much sugar and salt as well as take out fast food. I could do better and its on my to do list to finally stick to a millionth diet and lose the belly fat. Exercise daily! I didn’t do this in my twenties or thirties as work took up a great deal of my time. There is a lot of pressure out there to be the new 40 at 50 but folks I just want to love being 50…I am no longer expected to take up jogging…if I just walk regularly and for long distances people will be amazed! And it is definitely more exercise than I did in my thirties. So I am so happy to join the walkers’ club and I am thinking of getting those Nordic Walking Pole things in preparation for my walker with wheels in my 80s! However, I can still walk a great (yet painful) distance and this I am thankful for!
The pressure to be “sexy” is gone. No man looks at me anymore unless he wants to sell me something–very clear– no misconceptions here. This I noticed most profoundly in the company of my two young beautiful nieces at the local mall recently. Was I sad? No. What freedom! I can leave the house without mascara and lipstick and not one person gives me the “OMG look at her stare”. I am invisible. Yippee! What power I feel being unnoticed. I CAN DO ANYTHING!!! I can be seen in blue and green! I can wear white sandals before Victoria Day. I can wear a mumu in public. Also at 50, I don’t really care what other people think of my appearance. I am clean and clothes are laundered and my smile is pretty friendly. I am finding being comfortable in my clothes, shoes, in fact my own skin is the sexiest I have ever felt in my life. I am a natural woman of FIFTY!
I stopped dying my hair to discover just what is going on up there as far as grey. Glad to say there is a lovely silvery grey coming in quite nicely. Lovely to feel the natural texture and wave of my hair and no frizz! Thankfully the skin is still pretty wrinkle free with a few more larger freckles here and there (Sunspots? Ha! I call them my 50 year old freckles!) I like my grey hair and freckled skin. My scalp feels great…no itches or rashes from the harsh dyes. Its me and its freeing! No more covering up what Mother nature gave me. Good bye expensive hair dying! Good bye expensive cover up! Hello more money for fun things like gardening, sewing,theatre, orchestra, opera and technological devices! Hello authentic ME!I
I love that I have entered that era of my life where there is less expected of me in my career. It is my decade of winding down. I am not being bitter just honestly observant of certain realities in the education field. I am not expected to be a career blazer. My talents and skills are completely overlooked as I am over 40 years of age and beyond my “best” promotion years. I keep learning innovative ways to teach students because I love my students and I love teaching. I don’t have to take additional qualifications to get better jobs…I already have enough of them! I don’t have to volunteer my free time to run 10 extra-curricular clubs to impress the new boss and some self-entitled bullying parents. I run a few clubs because I love sharing my time and talents with kids and I don’t care if the parents or principals appreciate this I know my students do. I know now no matter what I do it will go unappreciated and unnoticed by most principals because of my 50 and over status. This is a trend I have observed in my particular board of education for the last 10 years. I have noticed that the ideas and reflections of my brilliant experienced colleagues in the 50 and over set are rarely listened to or valued in staff meetings and that the over 50 club rarely get sent to training workshops. More time with my students. More time to quietly sit and contemplate my garden or walks with the dogs. I love it! Experience is no longer valued in the field of education…your ability to tweet cute pictures of kids in highly decorated classrooms is what is valued now. I am not immune to the whole social media and communication pressure but I tweet parenting resources because in this crazy busy world parents need all the help they can get! It is so relaxing to have no expectations of grandeur. Now I can just be with the kids and enjoy the first and most important reason I became a teacher—the love of learning with children. It’s wonderful.
At 50, I am at the threshold of a whole new world of learning, adventure and self-discovery. At 50, I am thankful for the love and wisdoms of family and friends that share a life journey with me and blessed that I miss and remember those loved ones and their wisdoms whom have passed. At 50, I feel fabulous!
Thanks for reading and please leave a comment about your reflections about being 50 or becoming 50 or being beyond 50! Looking forward to your contributions.