“…As she grew older, she was aware of her changing position on mortality. In her youth, the topic of death was philosophical; in her thirties it was unbearable and in her forties unavoidable. In her fifties, she had dealt with it in more rational terms, arranging her last testament, itemizing assets and heirlooms, spelling out the organ donation, detailing the exact words for her living will. Now, in her sixties, she was back to being philosophical. Death was not a loss of life, but the culmination of a series of releases. It was devolving into less and less. You had to release yourself from vanity, desire, ambition, suffering, and frustration – all the accoutrements of the I, the ego. And if you die, you would disappear, leave no trace, evaporate into nothingness…”
― Amy Tan,
The title may have reminded you of the 70’s disco music from Love & Kisses’ “Thank God It’s Friday”, or the more recent song by Katy Perry, “Last Friday Night (TGIF)”– but this has nothing to do with songs, or dancing naked, or even Fridays, actually.
For me, it’s “Thank God, I’m Fifty”.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m not thankful for the years before it. I had a great childhood. Playing with the neighborhood kids, biking all day around the village, school days and lunch breaks, climbing trees– I’d often come home with bumps and scratches, but I had fun.
Until I started getting my monthly periods, I realized I wasn’t a kid anymore. I still did some playful stuff, but as my body changed, so did I. My teen years were filled with more girly things– slum books, hair clips, fancy pens, scented stationeries, Saturday Night Fever and Shaun Cassidy.
My 20s were spent more on stressing over a career path. Where’s the fun in that? When my mind tells me I wanted to become an artist, a teacher, a writer– people around me would say, “Forget it, there’s no money in it.” But I wrote anyway.
I got married and had my first child when I was 30. The first time I took a good look at my daughter, I said, “This is the first day of the rest of my life.” I was never happier. Two boys after that, I thought motherhood was the best career I ever took. Raising three kids didn’t come easy, but it was all worth it.
When I turned 40, my mom told me that women become more beautiful in their forties. How can I believe that? Dealing with my teens added a hundred grey hairs a day, and I can’t even afford to get a salon treatment more than twice a year without stealing from the school tuition budget! Not to mention breakouts, wrinkles and dry skin saying “hello” every time I look in the mirror.
My mom passed away when I was 48, and with it, my last period said farewell. Menopause came suddenly, I didn’t know what to expect. Hot flushes, mood swings, and dryness were only the tip of an ice berg of goodness I’d no sooner found out.
I turned 50 last year without much adieu. My kids no longer wanted to be called kids. They have schedules of their own and I’d sometimes feel like a fool when I still expect them to be available for family time on weekends. My husband decided to focus more on the business (which is out of town), so now I’m left by my lonesome self. Sad?
Not at all.
A few months ago, I got a great job editing a local health and fitness magazine. That means I get to make some money, not much, but enough for salon treatments and new shoes. I also get to write something meaningful and get published. Being able to become productive and help others along the way gave me a feeling of renewed usefulness. A new purpose in life.
Along this lines, I decided to start this blog about life at this certain age, particularly about women, who, like me, are discovering the beauty, power and wisdom that this age brings. I’d like to talk about menopause, diets, fashion (that works for us), relationships, and marriage (not that I have a perfect one, but could use some expert advice).
I hope you could join me as I explore this wonderful new age of freedom, beauty and the power that goes with it. I’d just set up a Facebook Community Page where we could share stuff and get updates from this blog. After all, this is not just about me– it’s all about us and how we can make a better, happier life for ourselves and those around us.
That’s why I thank God I’m fifty!