You see, I turned fifty last year and oh my goodness ... the moaning and grumbling and dislike for growing older that has spewed forth from me has been, well, a
A couple of days ago I read something that stopped me in my tracks and gave me cause to take a long hard look at myself and the amazing privilege I have of growing older.
My friend Rebecca Sparrow wrote a blog post about embracing ageing and why her babysitter, Emma has made her feel this way. Emma is 22 and has stage 4 melanoma ... to put it bluntly, this is a death sentence. Emma won't turn 50, she won't turn 40 and it's possible she won't even turn 30. Those years included some of the best times of my life ... life being the operative word.
I am alive and healthy. I am also fifty and damn lucky to be so. It's funny how I can look at that number now and not feel the angst I felt as little as seven days ago. Reading Bec's post gave me cause to sit down and reflect on what being fifty means.
I am lucky. So very lucky. My beautiful friend Suzy Connor died from cancer almost two years ago ... she didn't reach fifty, but while she was with us she gave life a damn good shake. In fact I have worn a Suzy Connor Challenge charity bracelet on my wrist since she left us, to remind me that I am here. In a way I have let her down by being so negative about turning fifty.
Another friend Tracy Rudd also died from cancer just over a year ago ... she also didn't reach fifty. So many other people won't have the privilege of reaching fifty. I am lucky. I am fifty.
Over the last few days I've reflected on growing older and have realised some things that I'd not noticed before - some really important and empowering things.
I may be fifty but that doesn't mean I've stopped growing emotionally, spiritually and knowledge wise. There is still so much I don't know and so much I still want to see and do.
I will own the wrinkles around my eyes and mouth - they mean I have laughed and laughed and that my life has been filled with joyous moments.
I will also own the mistakes I've made, the lessons I've learned and relish in the way being fifty gives me a different perspective.
I have noticed that I worry less about small things.
I'm less self conscious. I am much more comfortable with who I am and what I do and don't know.
Of course I still have some insecurities - to not have would make me arrogant. But I'm okay with that. Those insecurities will help me to continue to grow.
I will own my grey hairs because, well, they are mine, but I will cover them up with hair dye because I'm not quite ready to embrace grey hair yet. I 'll save my Helen Mirren phase for when I reach sixty. Then look out ... I'll not only keep the grey hair but I'll be running around, on a beach in a bathing suit. Oh yes I will!
This morning I saw a video on my Facebook feed ... thank you Nicky Pawsey Foster for sharing it.
The 88 year old lady in this video cemented very clearly in my mind that growing old is to be embraced and those of us who have the privilege of partaking in it ... should grab life as hard as we can and dance the shiz out of it. As she says at the end of the video ... "I could dance all f*ck'n day".
She's right you know.
Life may not be the party you expected, but while you are here you might as well dance!