On Monday morning August 17 2009 at approximately 4.40 am I entered my 50th year. On waking I pulled on a pair of old track pants and jumper against the seasonal westerly winds, collected the dog lead and rolled up newspaper and heading out to take Lucy, the kelpie cross red cattle dog that I have momentarily inherited from my daughter – for a morning walk. Or rather Lucy will be taking me for our morning walk – hence the need for the rolled up newspaper. – to remind Lucy to pretend she knows who’s boss. Maybe today it is a mourning walk – because I somehow I have lost about 25 years. I remember my 25th birthday, my husband gave me a surprise birthday party and it was lovely as surprise birthdays go. I got to celebrate with people I hadn’t seen in ages and some of them I have not seen or heard of since. Bless his soul he did mean well! So here goes – my list of survival tips for those of you who are turning 50 soon, have turned 50 recently or who are yet to turn 50.
1. Embrace the idea! – Accept that it is inevitable so you might as well have a good time while you are at it. Going into denial will not cut it! This means telling people, whoever will listen that you are turning 50. This will bring forth various comments about how you don’t look your age and this will make you feel good. At the very least it will increase the number of people who now know it is your birthday and a special one at that and ensure that the number of presents you receive will increase.
2. Take control of the “The Do”
Your husband, your children, your well-meaning best friends will all want a piece of the action when deciding how you will celebrate, because they all think they know you better than you know yourself. So decide what it is you want to do and tell them. This includes what you don’t want as well.
So if you are not into such rituals as bungee jumping, tandem sky-diving, male strippers or karaoke – mind you karaoke is a lot of fun and certainly on my event list – then make sure you make it clear to everybody that you plan to stay grounded and you don’t wish to be subjected to any foreign male stripper bodies. Once you have done this leave the planning to someone else – that’s right , give up the control.
3. Give your list of invitees to whoever is orgainisng “The Do” and then forget about it. It is not your fault if that annoying friend you have known for 25 years and drives you insane with her incessant whinges and whines doesn’t get invited because – guess what? Oops you didn’t send the invitations out and you had no idea that she wasn’t on the list. Yes finally give up control!
4. Take at least a week off work – because every birthday should take at least a week to celebrate and you wouldn’t want work to get in the way of a good time. Accept all the invitations to breakfast lunch or dinner and let it last as long as you can. Accept all gifts gracefully taking good notes on who gave you what because you wouldn’t want to end up re-gifting to the wrong person.
5. Be grateful – take a big deep breath of gratitude – for the last 50 years because this is what has made you the person you are. The experiences you have had, the struggles you have fought and won or even lost, the mistake you have made, the successes you have had – these will all help you appreciate that it’s really not such a big thing – it’s just another day – right? And really age is just skin deep, it’s how you feel on the inside isn’t it? At least that’s what I tell myself – and guess what – it’s not that bad – I really don’t feel any older – did I really expect to? Here’s to the next 50 years or so!