Why Turning 50 is Like Appreciating Your Front Porch.

 & 
October 30, 2023

Why Turning 50 is Like Appreciating Your Front Porch.

 & 
May 29, 2023

I love reading the New York Times in the bathtub on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, down here in Baja, I don’t get the paper version so I’m taking the risky bet of carrying my iPhone into the bath with me. Yikes!

Yesterday, I fell in “bathtub love” with Elisabeth Egan, an editor at the Times who wrote this exquisite piece, “Reflections on a Porch, and a Life.” The subheading says it all: “Turning 50 isn’t the end of youth or the start of old age. It’s a perch with a stable foundation and a great view.”

I’ll let Elisabeth take it from here: 

“Six months into my 49th year, I started pondering the meaning of life. Had I contributed anything to the world? Provided my children with an ethical framework? Been proactive about climate change? Been kind to my mother? To strangers? Was it time for another mole check? Was it wrong to buy leather shoes? Take a newfound awareness of mortality, stir in a heaping appreciation of good fortune, a dollop of mortification and a sprinkle of levity. Serve hot."

Later in the piece, she explains more about the metaphor of the front porch: 

“The answers I’d been searching for were under my feet; they had been all along. Fifty isn’t the end of youth or the beginning of old age; it’s just the front porch — the threshold, outside and inside, the adolescence of adulthood (minus insecurity and Stridex pads, plus friendships you couldn’t have imagined when you were 12). By the time you arrive, your foundation is solid and your pillars are strong. You’ve polished your sense of humor and your imagination — that ageless coat of armor, impervious to sagging, fading, bloating and weird hairs. The light here is gentle. You might be invisible to some people, but not to the ones who matter. You understand that your future is likely to be shorter than your past, and you appreciate a certain perspective on both.”

I haven’t done it justice by offering just these two brief excerpts, but I heartily recommend you read the lovely piece. 

-Chip

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