I turned 50 in June and the day came and went without much notice. It didn't feel like a big deal to me at all. It turns out, though, that turning 50 is a little bit like eating that potato salad at the picnic that has been sitting out in the sun for the last hour. No big deal, you think. It's only been in the sun for a little while, and look, everyone else ate some and they are just fine. So you eat it, still thinking it's ok, until later that night when your insides are telling you that something might just be a bit different than you were expecting.
It hit me one day in July at the doctor's office. The barely-weaned medical assistant was asking me the same question she has asked for the last year every time I see her. She asked for my birth date and age (because apparently, they can't figure out my age from my birth date on their own). I gave her my birthday and then I said, "50." Then it seemed like everything was going in slow motion for a moment and I heard myself saying, "Wait? Did I say 50?" Bambi looked at me, confused, and then consulted her paper. "Yes, 50. Is that right?"
My first thought was, "No! That's very wrong! When did that happen? When did I turn 50? When did I officially become middle aged?" All I said, though, was a simple, "Yes."
For the most part, I really don't mind being 50. It's all of my preconceived notions about being 50 that I mind. Somewhere along the line I picked up the idea that 50 is the official line of demarcation between young and old. I don't remember anyone ever telling me that, but it's stuck in my brain nonetheless. I remember when I was 30 looking at women who were 50 and above, and that's about when I heard people start to add qualifiers to compliments, but only when the person in question was not around.
For example, 40-year-olds can just get the compliment without the qualifier --- Wow, she's pretty! She's a great dancer! She's got so much energy! Once a woman turns 50, though, the qualifier gets tacked on automatically. Wow, she's pretty for a 50-year-old! She's a great dancer for a 50-year-old! She's got so much energy for a 50-year-old! And the tone changes, too. For the 40-year-old, the compliment is just a statement of admiration, but for a 50-year-old, the tone starts to sound like, "Can you believe it!?!?"
So, I'm 50. I have to tell you, I don't feel old at all. In fact, what I feel (and this has been a trend that started 4-5 years ago) is more confident and more sexual than I've ever felt. Even into my early 40's there were some reservations I had about sex that are long gone now, like I need to make sure that he enjoys sex more than I do and I'd better not show that I like it too much or he'll think I'm a slut and If he's not doing it how I like it I'll just stay quiet because I don't want to embarrass him.
In the last decade, there has a been monumental upheaval in my life -- not all bad -- and my life of today barely resembles my life of 10 years ago. But, for the most part, I like my life (and me!) better than I did when I was 40. I have the best friends of my life and, yes, I've had some of the best sex of my life.
If this is what the 50's are like, keep 'em coming!