this is my best version yet – and I’m still getting better

Thoughts on birthdays and aging – because they tend to go together!

Years ago, I had the chance to regularly talk with someone who was a couple of decades older than me. “Which was the best?” I asked

Her take – the 50’s. And perhaps it is based on current perspective, but I think I agree.

some people improve with age lgI haven’t talked to a single person who would go back to the 20’s. We were all better looking but didn’t seem to know it or couldn’t accept it. We had a world of opportunities, but seemed unsure of where we fit in. Too many of us were looking for approval in all the wrong places.

The 30’s were a period of ‘adulting‘. Starting families and/or careers, finishing advanced schooling, settling down, buying houses. Calmer perhaps, but by the end of the decade, starting to become kinda boring. Routine. Predictable.

The 40’s seemed more tumultuous again. Lots of relationships went through some serious bumps if not flat out fractures. Some losses and challenges on both ends of the family spectrum – some starting the challenges of elder care; some with rebellious teenagers and young adults or facing empty nests. Hormone changes, weight gain, hair loss stop sneaking in and start taking up permanent residence.

For many, the 50’s mark a time of transition. The big ‘5-oh’ is seen as the time of a midlife crisis – although very few of us actually make it into the 90’s, so perhaps it should be seen as a 2/3 or 3/4 crisis! But the 50’s are indeed a turning point for many. A time to start considering how best to spend the time left – to define purpose and impact. To consider how to leave a legacy.

I turned 50 a couple of years ago and noted that “I think I’m going to like this decade”. Looking back over the past couple of years, this still holds true. There’s no doubt been some very hard challenges and careening transitions, but there’s also been amazing freedom in letting go. Letting go of people who tear down rather than build up, letting go of the approval of others, and letting go of materialism and ‘stuff’. It all leads to being much more comfortable in my own skin than I’ve ever been before. Plus, I feel like I’ve gained a little wisdom over the years!

My friend encouraged me to really consider what I wanted my second half to look like. I’ve taken her suggestion to heart. Whether I have another day or 50 more years, I’ve spent the last couple of years being intentional about what I want my life to look like and what I want to be known for.

Every day I get a new chance to embrace the rest of my life.

Which is true at any age but just seems much more relevant right now.

Yep. Loving this decade.

maryjoburkhard.com #culturethriving

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