Life Begins at 50.
In an era when Americans are arguing about life beginning at conception or first breath, I would suggest adult life begins at the half-century mark. It’s when the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis.
When we’re 40, we’re often more focused on preserving our youth than feeling the dawning of a new era. However, by 50, we’re experiencing a second blooming with the fresh scent of possibility in the air. We may even consider ourselves a “hottie,” but that might just be a sign of a menopausal hot flash. As for me, by 50, I no longer defined myself by my body or personality.
The U-curve of happiness research shows that people feel happier in their fifties than in their forties and that growing life satisfaction continues with each ensuing decade. By 50, we’re young enough to surf and old enough to know what matters in life. We start experiencing “time affluence” as the “Great Midlife Edit” of our forties opens space in our life again. And, with that space comes the invitation to be a beginner again.
We’ve learned to create some space between stimulation and response. We’ve seen enough good and bad times to realize we can handle what life throws at us. By 50, we’ve started practicing “psycho-hygiene” rituals—ways of living that cleanse our lives and emotions. Before 50, life was just research.
Yes, we’re growing old, but we’re also growing whole. By 50, we learn to integrate all of who we are. We don’t feel so compartmentalized. Even our brains move into a more holistic place where we’re better able to “connect the dots” and trust our intuition.
50 is not the new 30, nor the old 70.
50 is 50—the age when our health practices, mindset, and way of being will likely influence the rest of our life more than any other adult age. You might say life is a 50/50 proposition.
If we live a healthy life at 50, we may get another 50 years.