In roughly three months’ time, I will be turning 50.
Many of my peers have already expressed their disinterest in turning the big 5-0; they see it as a constant reminder of how “old” they truly are. I always scoff on the inside whenever I hear someone—anyone—mention anything unfavorable about getting older.
Because you know what? Getting older is a privilege.
I’m so tired of listening to all the bitching and moaning. Life is what we make of it. If our overall perspective on life is skewed, then surely our body and soul will soon follow.
So, this is what I practice saying to myself on a daily basis:
“I get to turn 50. I get to live a life free of chronic pain. I get to experience more of what life has to offer. I am grateful beyond measure that the universe is constantly guiding me in the right direction.”
At the cusp of turning 50, I can honestly say that I’m a changed person. In the last decade alone, I have learned incredibly valuable lessons, some of which will stay with me for the next 50-plus years.
If you’re nearing the “half-century” mark of your life, perhaps these five lessons will resonate with you:
1. No one or nothing has the power to make you happy—that’s an inside job.
One thing is certain: I don’t rely on my mate for my true happiness. I’ve been working so diligently in the last decade to develop a true sense of self-love that far outshines what anyone or anything else can provide for me.
It will take a heck of a lot of work, but I’ve learned that the “happiness job” never really ends. Your likes and dislikes will change every decade, so you’d better get used to it.
2. You’ve gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.
Kenny Rogers knew what he was talking about! My 40s were a decade of true self-discovery, especially when it came to connections with other people.
I had the most amazing surprise party thrown for me when I turned 40. Thirty of my closest family members and friends were invited to my home, and a private chef (trained by Gordon Ramsay) was hired to prepare the most amazing food for us. I remember looking around the room thinking, “Are these the friends that’ll stick by me through the next decade?”
Guess what? Not one friend that attended my 40th birthday celebration is currently in my life today. Not one.
The harsh reality of life is that friends will come and go. The real ones are going to stick around for a long time to come, so you’ll want to hold them dear. Remember that everything in life is fleeting—if something is meant to be, it’s yours. If not, it never was. Choose your friends wisely.
3. Develop healthy habits and take care of your body.
Lucky for me, I work in the fitness industry, so this one is a no-brainer. But even before I became a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I started exercising at a young age and my mom always prepared healthy and nutritious food at home. Thank goodness for the influences I had growing up because it set the tone for how I presently live my life.
Take care of your body. You only have one. If you treat it well, it will treat you well in return. If you need help making any lifestyle changes, don’t be shy to ask for it.
4. If you are a homeowner, you must always be pragmatic.
When I moved into my first home in 2010, I was instantly thrust into a whole new world. It was a huge eye-opener for me in so many ways. At the time I thought, “This is the big leagues, baby. No more time for bullsh*t.”
Becoming a homeowner was the best thing that happened to me in my 40s. No lie, it totally transformed me in more ways than I can count, and it made me smarter, to boot. Being financially responsible for every aspect of running my home was challenging, scary, and rewarding. Today, I’m the most settled, comfortable, and confident I’ve ever been. If I could do it all over again, I would—in a heartbeat. So, if you currently own a home or hope to in the future, be pragmatic when it comes to your finances, and seek the help of a financial advisor, if need be.
5. Never compromise your comfort, safety, well-being, or soul to make someone else happy.
If I could turn back time, I would’ve approached certain situations differently in my 40s, especially when it came to my relationships with other people.
In my 40s, I dealt with my fair share of frustration and anger as I was trying to “find myself.” I had taken steps to end certain long-term friendships and slowly peel myself away from my own toxic behaviors. I gave up all of my vices. I finally took off my rose-colored glasses and started to view myself and others in a completely different light.
If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve never compromised my comfort, safety, well-being, or soul for anyone. Over time, I learned how to release the guilt and anger that came with ending some very poisonous relationships.
To reiterate: choose your friends and acquaintances wisely. Only give your heart away to a select few individuals who truly deserve it. I used to think that you needed a large group of friends in your “tribe” to feel content and confident—and nothing could be further from the truth. If you have one pal who makes your heart and soul sing, consider yourself blessed.
I can’t wait to turn 50. I feel so privileged to have made it this far! So privileged to get to spend the next 50-plus years truly living my best life.