Why Does Losing My 4 Feel So HUGE? A Stream-of-Consciousness Post

the_power_of_now1In about six weeks, I will exit my forties and hit the big 5-0. While no birthday has bothered me since I turned 25, this one’s going to be tough. I can feel it.

My 25th was painful because I felt like people would expect me to act like a responsible adult from that point forward and I was SO not ready to be considered anything resembling responsible. I was  bit of a wild child and had way too much fun in college and my early 20′s.

Since then, every birthday’s been a breeze. I celebrate and enjoy the day, then move on. I don’t linger on the number and don’t fret about my grey hair or wrinkles.

Why, oh why, does this one seem so different? It has me remembering when a woman I used to work with turned 50. She was (and still is four years later) gorgeous and youthful. When we celebrated her birthday at work that day, singing “Happy Birthday” with cake and candles, I remember feeling sad for her. Her age seemed like a landmark that wasn’t necessarily a cause for celebration. In my mind, 50 was, and still is, a big step in the aging process.

A few months back, I read a quote that said, “40 is the old age of youth and 50 is the youth of old age.” Somehow, that made me feel better. I can still consider myself “young” compared to some, even though I’m “old” compared to others.

I’ve pondered this subject for the last several weeks. I’ve also been doing Deepak Chopra’s 21-day Meditation Challenge for the last three. I was gifted with a “centering thought” for one of this week’s sessions that really resonated to me: “I am ageless and timeless.” It was a much-needed reminder that all I really have is now and I’m better off accepting my pending birthday and celebrating every day that I’m given.

The meditation reminded me of a book I read several years ago, “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. It’s a fascinating book, focused on changing the reader’s focus from worries of the past and fear for the future to a laser focus on the NOW. It’s really all we have and we waste it when we keep looking in the mirror or trying to predict what’s going to happen in the future.  I think it’s time to pick up that book again.

What about you? How do you manage your feelings about aging? 

29 thoughts on “Why Does Losing My 4 Feel So HUGE? A Stream-of-Consciousness Post

  1. Could it be the AARP card that came in the mail?

    I just gained a 5 myself. And, surprisingly, it was easier than gaining a 4 was ten years ago. Not sure why…

    I think you’re on to something by being more mindful. Time takes on a different meaning and pace as we get older. I think one reason I had an easier time aging into this decade than my last was the fact that with mindfulness comes contentment.

    • Ack, Lori! No AARP card yet, though I’m sure it’s on its way. I’m warming up to the idea after so many fabulous 50+ women have encouraged me.

  2. “40 is the old age of youth and 50 is the youth of old age.” I’m not sure if that makes it sound better or worse to me. I’ve never been one to care about the numbers, at least not my own. I do have jolts of, “How can my son be that old already?”

    • I have those jolts of that, too, Ginger. My son is 14 and way taller than me. Funny how they’re one of the best barometers of time passing, aren’t they?

  3. I’m just a year behind you and I have very mixed feelings about it. I’m the youngest of most of my friends, so I’m always the “baby” in the group, but, turning 50 is a significant marker. I thought turning 40 was tough and yet that seems so young to me now. It’s probably best to focus on new and exciting things that you can do in your life and less the number. That’s what I’m going to try to do. And as one of my friends likes to remind me, better to get old than not!

    • I’m feeling a lot better about it after so many 50+ women have said so many wonderful things, that’s for sure! We’ll be there for you, too, when your time comes.

  4. I am finding that this living in the now is easier than the planning of the future. The future throws me with all of its very unknown .. I may have to go and read this book! Also, congrats to you with the commitment on the big life changes.

    • It’s really an amazing book. Can’t wait to read it again, though I have to dig it out first. It definitely didn’t go in the donation box!

  5. When I turned 50, I was in the middle of a nasty divorce after a long-term, not-so-good marriage. I LOVE being in my 50s. My life is better, and I am happier and healthier. I’ve stopped worrying so much about what other people think of me. I hope you enjoy your 50s, too!

    • I did my nasty divorce in my late 30′s, so it helps that I’m happily married now. Isn’t it amazing how it can be so freeing to be alone after so much angst? Thank you for your kind words, Elizabeth!

  6. I totally get it — 50 was my toughest birthday, but only because of me. I started telling myself the story that I would hate 50 beginning when I was 30. And I made sure it came true. Recently, I had a friend who is a cancer survivor celebrate because she made it TO 50. Of course that made me feel guilty, but it also made me realize that perspective is everything. Please remind me of this little rant when I turn 60. I will need it.

    • Dame Donna, you’re one of my favorite role models for having a sense of humor about EVERYTHING! I know you’ll be there to help me laugh about it and that’s a good thing.

  7. I still have one year, three months, and seventeen days to go before turning 50, but I’m not counting. Actually, birthdays and age have never bothered me too much, as I live a life that’s older than my years. That said, though, I worry that 50 may hit me harder than most, simply because I thought I’d have accomplished a few key things by now and haven’t yet. BUT, I do still have that year, three months and seventeen days! I best make use of them.

    • Haha….yeah, I’m definitely counting. I have just over 6 weeks with my 4 and I’m trying not to go into the next decade hanging on to it too tight. I’m really lucky that I have so many great role models for aging.

  8. I heart you. Turning 50 is hard. For me, it felt like a bridge you cross to another land; the land that eventually take you to the grave.

    I am chuckling. Chuckling is something you can do after you turn 50. Before 50 a girl giggles, but after 50 a woman chuckles.

    So has you are about to span the gap between giggles and chuckles, let me just wish you an early Happy Birthday, Lori. Because I’ll probably forget your birthday when it comes because those parts of my brain that ever remembers stuff like that has died.

    The best part of turning 50 has been meeting fabulous women like you who are showing me that being 50 is pretty freaking awesome! It’s like a well-kept secret that nobody lets you in on until you’re in the club.

    Of course, it’s not all pretty what with the wrinkles, age spots, chicken skin of the neck, and occasional spontaneous incontinence. But as they say, it beats the alternative.

    • You’re right, Chloe, women in our demographic are so fabulous. Much wiser and funnier. The GenFab group you lovelies put together has been such a support to me during this transition. xo

  9. Although I’m about 2+ years from the big 5-0, I’m already fretting about it. I’m trying to decide if having a big 50th party will make me feel better or worse about turning 50….I like that quote about 50 – makes me feel better too.

    • Yeah, any quote that has “50″ and “youth” in it is good for me. I went to a workshop today and the trainer owned that she was 61 and she was amazing. That helps, too. Women who own their age and aren’t afraid to share it with others are inspiring. I will be one of those women, always.

  10. Great post! Last October I turned 50 and frankly, I wasn’t in a celebrating mood! I still feel 35 and I think that’s all that really matters. I am ordering “The Power of Now” today. Thanks, Lori! Good luck on your weight loss, but remember to be gentle with yourself. Cheers to you!

    • I’m definitely being gentle with myself. When I first came up with the plan, I injured myself and couldn’t exercise for several weeks. I’ve eased back into it and will lose it over the next so many months.

  11. I’m turning the big 6-0 in a little over a week. The thought has been alternately depressing, humbling and mind-boggling. But I am trying to stay positive and be thankful for all I have.

    • You’ve described the feeling perfectly, Helene! I’m experiencing all three of those – depression, mind-boggle and humble – all the time. Fortunately, we all live so much longer than women used to, so we get to be wise old crones for a good long time.

  12. Lori, 50s are no biggie, I swear. I love myself more than I ever have in my life. I feel so content and at peace. Like age doesn’t matter anymore. Life is just good. 50′s have brought me so much confidence and self acceptance. My 40′s were rocky.. divorce and all. But 50′s? wonderful. I love the thought of 50′s being the youth of old age :)

    • Thank you, Karen. I know I could use more self-love. I struggle with it and I hope my 50′s bring the same contentment, confidence and self-acceptance that yours did.

  13. We dwell far too much on a number, or a range of numbers, and – in my opinion – on the weight of the word “aging.”

    Not only are you going to be fine, you’re going to be GREAT. Because this is another day you’re here, you’re loved, and you’re still kickin’ ass!

    I say we start to change the conversation – away from “aging” to something less terrifying like living fully and creating our future each and every day.

    • Yes, D.A., you’re totally correct. And with GenFab, we are changing the conversation, aren’t we? When you get a group of 40+ women together and let them share their wisdom on a bigger scale, amazing things happen.

  14. I think focusing on “now” is the best thing. I’ve loved my fifties – I started focusing on taking care of myself and feel more energetic and healthy than ever before. Don’t limit yourself!

    • Now is it, Barbara. Now I just need to do my best to remember it all day every day. Women like you, who take time to encourage others and share their experience, are my inspiration.

  15. I’m 63 now so 50 sounds young! Each year as my birthday approaches I try to remind myself that my age is only a number and it doesn’t own me or reflect who I am. In my mind I’m nowhere near 63. Good luck with your voyage of discovery. You’re doing great!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>