turning 50

Turning 50!

The Times recently reported that 50 is the age at which people start to think about their own mortality.

Not really very surprising news, but someone went to the trouble of commissioning an opinion poll before reaching this conclusion.

At 50, we’re on the cusp of old age – we are noticing changes in our bodies that weren’t there are 40 or 45. We do not always recognize ourselves in the mirror – and I for one don’t always recognize my friends, or even my husband, in the street, because I’ve forgotten that I’m now looking for someone with grey hair…

The worst thing about being 50–something is that we know the only way is down. We are clinging onto the last remnants of youthfulness and dreading the decades ahead when we will be part of the older generation. We all have people in our lives who have seemingly been old for as long as we’ve known them, and whose elderliness has reached a plateau.

At 50-something that is the abyss into which we are staring. We are slathering on day cream and night cream, booking into extra gym classes to try and tighten up flopping skin, and going ever more frequently to the hairdresser’s for our roots to be coloured. We are seeing the results of sun damage sustained decades ago, and only now thinking about wearing a sunhat and factor 50. But all we’re doing now is preventing a few extra wrinkles in our 60s and 70s, by which time we’ll already have too many to notice the difference…

How different we are from the Chinese, who, according to Xiaolan Zhao, embrace their older years as a time when they will be loved and respected for their wisdom and menopause is known as Second Spring, bringing an awakening of new potential. ‘The process of aging is really a journey towards wholeness, where all aspects of our being are cultivated and balanced to become harmoniously engaged,’ according to Zhao, who says that it China birthdays are not celebrated until after the age of 60 – which is a milestone to be celebrated with pride.