A recent Harris Interactive Poll asked the question: If you had to pick one age you could be for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
And now I pose that question to you: If you had your way—and your health—what age would you like to be for the rest of your life?
As it turns out, for me, the magic number is 50.
Here’s what 50 looks like: Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Jay Z (rumored), Michelle Obama, Molly Shannon (aka Sally O’Malley), and Sandra Bullock. To put it another way, each of those celebrities are two and a half times older than the World Wide Web.
This must be everyone’s secret, perfect number because even now men are disguising their age: Jay Z is 50, not 44.
I’m ambivalent about the idea that the “youth idolization” that happens to women is now happening to men.
When we’re young we can’t wait to be 16, to be 18, to be 21—and then that slowly turns on itself and we want to appear younger, more youthful and more hip. In our fascination with fresh and new, have we lost what is possible with wisdom and age?
In a different study, results confirm that I am 50!
For this momentous occasion, here are some things that I’ve picked up in my first decades on this earth that will not be carried forward, and some new things that will lead me from innocence to experience, back to innocence again: a fresh way of loving life. There are 50 of them.
1) Tell my truth. This does not mean that I’ve suddenly developed Tourette’s or that I have lost compassion, it just means that I’m caring for myself first. 50 ain’t for sissies.
2) Unlearn. Forget everything I thought I knew about the Universe and start over.
3) Unapologetic. Allow my passion: I can be ecstatic one minute and back on Earth the next. Join the flow.
4) Accept feedback. I’m not yet perfect—sincere feedback is helpful.Thanks!
5) Thought leader. In my 30s I felt I had to prove something; now that I’m 50, I know what I know, and I’m willing to share it with you.
6) Learner. Now that I’m 50, I look to the babies (that’s probably you) to see how you’re so nimble with world changes. Okay, digital natives, okay echo boomers: I’ve so much to learn from you.
7) Look within: Get a colonoscopy (for real—what about my friend, Barb, who died of colon cancer at age 49?)
8) Get carded: I’m the youngest one at the party; the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) card gives me discounts and access that weren’t available when I was less than the age I am now.
9) Meditate on the Goddess energy—the Divine Feminine, which is the secret of youth.
10) Express the Goddess energy: re-enroll in belly dancing.
11) Keep a sense of adventure. This fall, I’m taking a once in a lifetime trip to Morocco with college friends who are also turning 50.
12) Declutter my life: clean up the office/spare bedroom; clean out old relationships that no longer serve me.
13) Cougar. Yes, I am the sexy, older woman. Yes, sexy and older can be combined in the same sentence. Yes, I will flirt with random, sexy men.
14) Yoga: Stay limber, stay flex-y.
15) Serve butter. Eat like a cave woman.
16) Stay curious, be relevant and thrive.
17) Keep my mojo working—keep stirring the flames of my life force.
18) Follow my bliss. Express my erotica. Embrace radically intimate sex.
19) Throw a slow-dance party.
20) Jump off a metaphorical bridge: confront my fears. Make love on the beach. Just like the movies.
21) Trade strength for wisdom: being the toughest person in the room is good; compassion is better.
22) Enjoy the view. Just because someone is on the other side of the political fence does not make them a bad person. Try harder to find our common humanity, even as we spar linguistically.
23) Savor the sweet life—without sugar.
24) Be in the middle of a good book at all times. A Kindle book. A hard cover book. An audio book. Be in the inquiry.
25) Purchase a bottle of Dom Perignon and enjoy it in fine crystal.
26) Grudges. I’m giving up that you owe me. I’m taking on what I need; I’m okay if you can’t be there while I take care of myself.
27) No longer putting myself in the back seat. I’m here to support you, sustain you, but I’m no longer allowing my needs to take a back seat; I’m no longer here to be nice and make sure everyone likes me.
28) Gossip. I’m really not interested in toxic energy following me around anymore.
29) My prince in shining armor. I give up on the idea that “he” will come along and save me; that my destiny is anyone’s hands but my own. Are you strong enough to be my man?
30) I will never say “I’m too old” for something. Kick me in the shins if I do.
31) Giving Up McDonalds (you knew that).
33) Complaining—time to take responsibility.
34) Reclaim myself: the humor, love and self acceptance I had as a child. The wonder that the world held.
35) Stop proving myself. Gosh darn it, I’m good enough.
36) No “old” clothes. I’m staying stylish because it makes me feel good.
37) Stop using work as my life’s purpose. A job is what I do, it is not who I am.
38) Don’t be shy. With teenagers, with strangers.
39) Don’t over schedule.
40) Don’t live by anyone else’s standards except my own.
41) Stop regretting past experiences. They are all lessons and helped me get to this point.
42) Don’t pick battles that really don’t matter.
43) Do not start a Nerf war with my sons. I will lose.
44) Don’t try to see the Louvre in three hours or less (note: yes, I will be in Paris again soon. Not sure when, but I will. And I will sit at an outdoor café, sipping a cappuccino).
45) Axe these words or expressions: “panties”; “tummy”; “sick!”; “whatever, I’m like—totes.”
46) Sartorial sins: t-shirts that say “this is what 50 looks like.” Any t-shirt with words. Unless I’m working out. But never “sexy grandma.” Ever.
47) Remove people who take my stories and make themselves the main character.
48) Quit listening to arrogant people who want to tell me what to do rather than have a discussion and give feedback on what I should do.
49) Decline the one extra shot—tequila, espresso, Botox.
50) Give up that turning 50 is a traumatic event. How old would I be if I didn’t know how old I was?