Some of y’all know that I will turn 60 next month. I plan to celebrate with a PolicyMic birthday party in my own honor, featuring some never-before-published memorabilia from past adventures.
In the meantime, however, I am reflecting upon the decade that is ending and thinking about what sort of commentary I can offer about it. I had absolutely no trouble turning 50 — my emotional dissonance always comes when my younger sister reaches milestones and I think, “Good heavens! How did that happen?!”
I know you're all millennials are likely more concerned about all your friends getting married than retirement, but time flies and you'll be 50 before you know it. Here are five things you can look forward to as you all reach the half-century, as well as one thing to beware of.
50 is liberating — no kidding. If 20 is hedonistic, 30 is self-involved, 40 is disappointing … you are going to love 50! At no time previously in your life have you been able to do things with more confidence in your own abilities, or with less dependence on the say-so of others.
You have been there and done that. Everything that you want at 25, you own at 50 — or you know that it’s unattainable. Everything that you don’t know at 25, you know by 50. What a confidence booster. You have arrived.
You have seen how all the surface noise and all the disconnected data points have come together over the past 25 years to create a whole story. You “get it” now. You understand how your generation fits into history and that you are not something unique in the world — that what Sal, Douglas, Rick, and Susan were writing all those years ago on PolicyMic was, ironically, true.
It seems to stretch out ahead of you and slow down. I cannot adequately explain this because you still work — still have your family, hobbies and so on. But there seems to be an enhanced sense of leisure and serenity about daily life that gives you comfort.
Yes, this — for men as well as women. Menopause is absolutely wonderful. They aren’t kidding about it being the “change of life.” It is. You don’t have to worry about menstruation or contraception any longer, and if you and your partner are normal human beings, your sex drive has slowed down a bit, anyway. You live more comfortably in a loving partnership than in constant lust.
There’s a fly in the ointment, though. I’d be remiss if I didn’t warn you that your dietary/digestive requirements will change about age 50. You will need many fewer calories of intake to maintain your weight, along with a bit more exercise to retain muscle tone. You will need to adjust your percentages of intake, as well: fewer fats and dairy products, more fiber and protein. Your body will take revenge upon you if you ignore this warning. It will become Jupiter…a gas giant. Note to self: bean dip, Pasta Italiana with artichokes, and a DQ Blizzard ™ in the same 24-hour time period are positively lethal.