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January 16, 2014

Little Known Secret to Happiness: Turn 50. ~ Lee Sears

I never anticipated the inner peace, euphoria, excitement and contentment that would arise. I’ve never felt this good in all my life.

I am unsure of the median age of the elephant journal audience, but I wonder if 50 might be at the far end of the bell curve? At any rate, as I ponder my new age (you know, sort of trying it on in my head) it occurs to me that this number which had begun to loom before me and, once or twice, kind of psyched me out a bit, well: it occurs to me this number is just a number.

Also, it occurs to me that maybe I should report back from the beyond—the distant horizon many of you have not yet spotted because it stretches so far into your future.

I once had a boss I worked with for a number of years who was in her late 50s when she said to me, “Oh, you can’t know this now, but as a woman the best decades are your 40s and 50s. The 50s are the best of all.”

Even so, a part of my brain wants to go back over the number like fondling a worry-bead. Yet each time this happens, I find there is nothing there. There is no evidence whatsoever that anything bad has happened or will happen. Quite the contrary, I find that the odd metamorphosis that has occurred for me this year, almost from the very day of my birthday, is one of transcendence.

In short, I feel free.

And, just to be clear, this is not external freedom. This is a deep internal sense of freedom that wells up from an unknown spring. I never anticipated the inner peace, euphoria, excitement and contentment that would arise. I’ve never felt this good in all my life.

My boss was right. I am more than confident that my 50s will be my best decade so far. And, again, what I mean by this is that I will feel the best I have felt so far. External events and circumstances will ebb and flow, like always. I cannot know the future. But I love this feeling and I trust it.

Dropping a few breadcrumbs along the pathway for you as you follow me further on the age continuum, I list below some of the most prominent internal shifts for me at this age. They may sound simple. They may sound like something you already feel.

What I would add is that, while I cannot know your experience, these feelings were definitely present in my life before the age of 50—they just were not as powerful and constant as they are now. The shift may still seem and sound minor, but wow is it ever powerful to experience.

Top 20 Ways Being 50 is Better than Being 49 and Under:

1)     I seriously do not care what people think of me. This is new and perhaps surprises ME more than anyone else.

2)     I do not seem to want “stuff’ anymore. I want to do things.

3)     In fact, I want to get rid of “stuff.”

4)     I feel comfortable in my own skin.

5)     I think I might be more physically flexible today than I was five years ago, even 10 years ago.

6)     Also, there is this one leg lift exercise I began doing in my 20s that I for sure do more adroitly today. I never would have predicted this!

7)     I have more patience for idiocy (and more patience in general).

8)     However, I am more likely to speak up for myself, and pretty firmly at that.

9)     I am less emotional and more compassionate.

10)  I tend to forgive others more quickly than before.

11)  I tend to forgive myself more quickly than before.

12)  I see that numbers 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 are all related.

13)  I am more tech savvy.

14)  I want to commit more to being vegetarian, but to continue to eat seafood on occasion.

15)  Life seems richer and more filled with possibilities.

16)  50 seems like a beginning place, not a “mid” place.

17)  I will never wait by the phone again in my life.

18)  The world of femininity, sensuality and sexuality continues to open like a flower and it is clear that, like the wellspring I speak of above, this world is far more beautiful and far-reaching than I would have thought when I was in my 20s and 30s. In fact, talking to many women my age or older on this point, I can tell younger women out there that you really haven’t seen anything yet.

19)  I love my children, family and friends even more.

20)  I love myself, finally.

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Assistant Editor: Renée Claude/Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Stephen Jones/Flickr 

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