Nifty Fifty … Maybe

[Published August 13, 2003 v11 i33]

Barbara Godin’s first Voice contribution, published August 13, 2003 [v11 i33], reflected the perspective of many mature students who have found new reasons to love learning, and embrace that time of life when once again, life’s goals can be all about you.

As I reluctantly approached my fiftieth birthday I wondered if turning fifty would really be as traumatic as I had heard. Fifty certainly did not feel or look like it did when I was thirty and looking ahead. However, the gray hair was real, as was the soft jaw line, among other things. Furthermore, I know I eat pretty well the same quantity of food as I have for as long as I can remember, but it is becoming more difficult to keep that “girlish figure.” By the way, had someone turned up the heat? Maybe it was global warming, but everywhere I went I felt so much warmer than I used to, even to the point of spontaneously breaking out in a sweat with no effort.

Though being a grandmother fits in with the stereotypical fifty year old, or should I say “middle-ager,” I am also working toward my university degree. This was not a common occurrence 20 years ago, but something that seems to be happening more frequently in the over forty age group. Perhaps this is the baby boomers’ way of trying to catch up on what we missed, during the drug culture of our youth.

Against the urging of family and friends that I must have a party – a huge party, big celebration, rent a hall, go on a trip – April 6, came and went fairly inconspicuously. A small party with family and friends and I became a middle-age baby-boomer, joining so many of my cohorts already basking in the glow of acquired wisdom.

Though now only months into my new era, I do feel different. Hey I’m 50, I don’t have to make excuses cause my waistline isn’t like that of my 29-year-old daughter, or try to compete with the Susan Lucci’s of daytime TV. I don’t need surgery or botox. I’m proud of that wiry gray hair that sticks straight out as if having a mind of its own.

Most important, I don’t feel I have to please everyone else, or aspire to make everyone like me. Nor do I have to put my dreams on hold while helping others carve their path in life. Now I can cultivate pleasing myself. I can give myself permission to fulfill my own dreams and strive to make the rest of my life happy. Becoming 50 allowed me the permission to finally accept myself without apologies. Turning 50 is all right!

Barbara is working towards her B.A. in English. She enjoys writing in her spare time. Barbara is located in London Ontario and can be reached at barbgodin@sympatico.ca.

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