Finding Gratitude, Confidence, and Joy at 50

April 5, 2024

Finding Gratitude, Confidence, and Joy at 50

May 29, 2023

Chip’s Note: Katie was one of the runners-up in the “Life Begins @ 50” essay contest and she’s a brilliant writer as you’ll see below. We still have a few spaces for our “Life Begins @ 50: Embracing Your Second Adulthood” April 29-May 4 workshop in Baja with my co-founder Jeff Hamaoui leading it. The workshop is for anyone 45-55 years old.

I will turn 50 later this year, and for the first time, I’m ready to say, out loud, that I am glad.

My hair is gray, and my belly is soft; I can’t read well in low lighting, and I’ll definitely forget the name of that one guy in that one show we watched one time.

But being 50 is an absolute privilege.

For starters, I made it this far.  With some of the decisions I made in my 20s, that, in and of itself, is remarkable.

Along the way, I made a great life. One with a beautiful family, a successful career, and friends I wouldn’t trade for all the skinny thighs and smooth necks in the world.

At 50, I’m full of gratitude.

My tired, saggy body grew, gave birth, and fed the two most perfect human beings to walk this earth. It deserves only the highest praise.

Those two amazing people are just starting their own adult lives, and after 20 years of being responsible for someone else every minute of every day, I’m thankful to suddenly be free to be responsible only for myself.

My husband and I have been married for 21 years. Anyone who isn’t impressed by that hasn’t been married. I’m thankful that someone who knows me better than I know myself will be there to remind me of how things used to be and why it’s better now.

50 isn’t about looking back; it’s about looking ahead.

For the first time, MY expectations are all that matter. I already had a successful career, made my parents proud, and set up the next generation for success. Now, it gets to be about me. If it ever was all about me before, I was too naïve to understand and appreciate it. I get it now.

I don’t have to prove myself. To anyone. I honestly don’t care what anyone thinks about me. I look the way I want to look. I laugh at the jokes I think are funny. Please no one but myself. I never need to spend time with anyone who doesn’t bring me joy. Ever again.

I will start a new career – not one that pays the most, but one that stokes the fire of my passion. I may even fail. I’ve earned that.

I’ll happily trade turning heads for the opportunity to meet my baby’s baby.

I’m okay with forgetting old stories if it means I get to make new ones.

I will celebrate the confidence I have now rather than mourn the young woman I used to be.  I’ve earned that, too.

At 50, I choose joy. MY life begins at 50.

-Katie

Katie Rapp is an Air Force brat who’s terrible at staying in one place, an extroverted Southerner who spends a lot of time talking to strangers, and a chronic storyteller, much to the chagrin of her husband and two teenage kids. While she has enjoyed her long career in healthcare marketing and communications, she’s now looking forward to finding out what comes next. 

Go deeper with a workshop, in person or online.

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