Page 1
Beauty Style Fitness Wellness Living #RealTalk #EmbraceYourAge
Stay up to date

Get on the List

Unlock our weekly newsletter packed with tips on living authentically, healthfully, and stylishly at every age.Get on the List: The best beauty, fashion, wellness and fitness tips straight to your inbox

I Liked Being 50 a Lot Better Than Being 49

Before I even blew out the candles on my 49th birthday cake, people were asking, “So what are you going to do for your 50th?”

In a year, I would no longer be able say I was “in my 40s” or check the box on a survey marked “40-49.”  Instead, I would be 50! Five. Zero. The Big Five O! The number sounded daunting.

I didn’t want to think about it, and yet, it was all I could think about. The idea of turning 50 permeated my 49th year. Every conversation I had with friends or family, even on the soccer sidelines of my kids’ games was punctuated with comments about my next birthday. From complimenting (“I can’t believe you are going to be 50!”) to commiserating (“So you are joining the club …”) to freaking me out (“Wow! That’s a big number!”), the comments were unavoidable.

Worse than talking about it with other people were the internal conversations I had with myself. If 50 was officially middle age, then half my life was over (and that’s a pretty optimistic assumption!) I was on the back nine, and what had I really done? Had I used the first half of my time on earth wisely? Had I become the person I had aspired to be when I was young?

Throughout the year I became very reflective and questioned my choices.


As my birthday drew closer, I vacillated between wanting to spend the day under the covers in denial and throwing a huge bash. Until I said, “Screw it!” I was going to be 50 either way, so I decided to embrace it with cake and tequila.


It’s not that I didn’t love my life, because I did. I had amazing kids, a wonderful marriage, a great extended family, and lots of friends. I was healthy, an active member of my community, and had been making strides in my freelance writing career. But there were so many things I hadn’t done. Places I had yet traveled to, goals I hadn’t achieved. I didn’t write a book or even have a feature in a major publication. In fact, I hadn’t even held a full-time paying job in 20 years.

Looking back, it wasn’t just my impending old age that made me contemplative but also the new stage I was entering. I felt like I was being fired! My oldest child was graduating college, and my middle child was graduating from high school. Even though I would still have my son at home, my role as primary caregiver to three children was changing. I felt sad and scared, worried without their daily presence my life would feel less full. Though I felt lucky to have spent this time with my kids, as I approached 50 I started second guessing my life and wondering, What if?

As my birthday drew closer, I vacillated between wanting to spend the day under the covers in denial and throwing a huge bash. Until I said “Screw it!” I was going to be 50 either way, so I decided to embrace it with cake and tequila.

I hadn’t had a real birthday party with lots of guests and decorations since I was 9 years old. Not since my wedding had I been the center of a big celebration. I worried that I would feel awkward trying to chit chat and mingle; I had always been kind of shy in crowds. But I also felt giddy, like a little kid. It was fun having a reason to shop for a new dress and get my hair and makeup professionally done. My friends and family seemed excited, too.

Although it wasn’t a surprise party, the night held many revelations for me. After years of being a behind-the-scenes kind of person, more at ease taking care of others and planning events, I was surprised how comfortable I felt in the spotlight. I enjoyed having the focus on me for a few hours. As guests arrived, I felt like I was taking a tour down memory lane. Family and friends from so many different parts of my life were there to celebrate with me. I felt happy, and any doubts I had about what I had done with my first 50 years faded.


Yes, this was the end of a chapter, but not the end of the story. In fact, in some ways, it was just getting to the good part. … Being 50 made me bolder and braver.


Yes, this was the end of a chapter, but not the end of the story. In fact, in some ways, it was just getting to the good part.

After the party, I don’t think I looked a day over 50, but I felt different. Though my 49th year was filled with contemplation, my 50th was one of determination. I stopped thinking about what I hadn’t done with my life and started actually doing the things I always said I wanted to do but hadn’t because I didn’t have the time or the confidence. Being 50 made me bolder and braver.

With my daughters out of the house, my life was emptier and so I re-filled it.

I spent more time with my husband, my son, my friends, and my parents. I saw my high school and college friends more often. We started taking a lot of the trips we had put on hold while the kids were young. I read more books, saw more Broadway shows, and went to more movies. I became more focused on my writing and even went to several work-related conferences that I had skipped in years past. When my daughters called home, we’d talk about their lives, but we’d also talk about mine because I had a lot to say, too.

It turns out that 50 is pretty fabulous. And please don’t ask me what I am doing for my 60th. I’m too busy to think about it.

Photo: Ruth Black

You Might Also Like

Is Self-Love Overrated?
#RealTalk

Is Self-Love Overrated?

I’ve twice been told I have extraordinary arms. The first was in...

read
WTF Is a #CuratedLife?
#RealTalk

WTF Is a #CuratedLife?

I have been working to figure out social media. God, is it...

read
‘Gilmore Girls’ and Me
#RealTalk

‘Gilmore Girls’ and Me

The seven-season series Gilmore Girls and its four afterglow episodes, A Year in the Life,...

read
Why I Hold On Tight to Old Friends
#RealTalk

Why I Hold On Tight to Old Friends

One of the biggest arguments I ever had with my father was...

read
The ‘I Am’ Project Showcases Ageless Beauty
#RealTalk

The ‘I Am’ Project Showcases Ageless Beauty

Angelika Buettner is on a crusade to celebrate the natural beauty of...

read
My Second Awkward Stage
#RealTalk

My Second Awkward Stage

A couple of weeks ago, I took my eldest son and my...

read
How to Get Started With Exercise at 75
Fitness

How to Get Started With Exercise at 75

When you hit your mid-70s, you may feel like your daily routine...

read
5 Hormone-Balancing Foods
Wellness

5 Hormone-Balancing Foods

Are your hormones out of whack? Often the best place to start...

read
The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair
Beauty

The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair

There’s no question that our hair changes as we get older. It...

read
37 Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
Wellness

37 Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

Hormones play an enormous role in how we look, think, and feel....

read
6 Questions With... Skin Care Pioneer Jane Iredale
Beauty

6 Questions With... Skin Care Pioneer Jane Iredale

Jane Iredale began Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics in New York in 1994. As a...

read
7 Reasons to Embrace Cardio
Fitness

7 Reasons to Embrace Cardio

Cardio is any form of exercise that raises your pulse and conditions...

read
Problem/Solution: Aging Teeth and Receding Gums
Beauty

Problem/Solution: Aging Teeth and Receding Gums

If your teeth are more dingy yellow than pearly white or you’ve...

read
Office Hours: How Do I Work With a Boss Half My Age?
Living

Office Hours: How Do I Work With a Boss Half My Age?

Welcome to Office Hours, where each month, a Fairygodboss expert answers a question...

read
Eat This Now: Vegan Cornbread Dressing
Wellness

Eat This Now: Vegan Cornbread Dressing

We not only try to eat healthy, we try to be kind...

read
Women Who Inspire: Chef Babette Davis
Living

Women Who Inspire: Chef Babette Davis

It’s often said that behind every great man is a great woman,...

read
Fall’s Coziest Workout Gear
Fitness

Fall’s Coziest Workout Gear

Keep calm and exercise on in fall’s coziest workout gear. Whether a...

read
Beauty Buzzwords: Squalane
Beauty

Beauty Buzzwords: Squalane

Though oils are not new to the beauty counter, there is still...

read
What to Do When Your Vagina Dries Up
Wellness

What to Do When Your Vagina Dries Up

Aging skin needs nourishing. That’s not news. But when it comes to...

read
7 Water-Gel Moisturizers for Troubled Skin
Beauty

7 Water-Gel Moisturizers for Troubled Skin

Combination skin that doesn’t take kindly to rich, thick creams doesn’t change...

read
6 Natural Remedies for Sinus Pain
Wellness

6 Natural Remedies for Sinus Pain

We’re all familiar with the typical triage of cold and flu symptoms:...

read
Organic: Yay or Nay?
Wellness

Organic: Yay or Nay?

From food to beauty products, labels can be so confusing. Aren’t the...

read
Need to Know: Thyroid Health
Wellness

Need to Know: Thyroid Health

One of my patients recently summed up her experience succinctly: “I’m just...

read
‘Garden & Gun’ Showcases Strong Women Across Generations
Living

‘Garden & Gun’ Showcases Strong Women Across Generations

Unless you’re a subscriber of the publication Garden & Gun, you may...

read
Castor Oil: Your New Favorite Beauty Trick
Beauty

Castor Oil: Your New Favorite Beauty Trick

Move over, coconut oil, there’s a new sheriff in town. An elixir for...

read
You’re Not Too Old For ... Strength Training With Dumbbells
Fitness

You’re Not Too Old For ... Strength Training With Dumbbells

In our ongoing video series with trainer Julie Diamond, we focus on...

read
Tasty Fiber-Full Foods for Weight Loss
Wellness

Tasty Fiber-Full Foods for Weight Loss

Clinical evidence shows that fiber-full foods keep you feeling fuller longer with...

read
Get Glowing With 8 Highlighters We Love
Beauty

Get Glowing With 8 Highlighters We Love

The solution to chronic fatigue requires a holistic deep dive into your...

read
Eat This Now: Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal
Wellness

Eat This Now: Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal

We at The Fine Line eat lots of oatmeal. Especially in the...

read
Women Who Inspire: BRU Bone Broth Founder Soo-Ah Landa
Living

Women Who Inspire: BRU Bone Broth Founder Soo-Ah Landa

Some might say bone broth is having a moment, but don’t tell...

read
Load More
share
To Top