Thoughts on Turning 50
Please allow me to make a small confession: I turned 50 not so long ago without any fanfare.
I felt the pressure, whether social or imagined, to do something amazing. To dress up and hit the town, to mark the ‘turning 50’ occasion in some momentous way. Or at the very least write a blog post called 50 things I’ve learnt now I’m 50.
But I didn’t have the inclination to do anything. I’m over-scheduled at the moment (find out what I’m up to here) and I felt the need to save my time and energy for other things. Not doing anything much was probably the best 50th birthday present I could have given myself.
Even not posting about it on social media was a welcome relief and felt like a small form of rebellion.
After all these years, maybe I’ve finally stopped worrying so much about what other people think and am prioritising what I want to do.
Maybe I’m starting to accept myself. To that end, I’m even ready to prove that by sharing a pic taken on a bad hair day and highlighting wrinkles galore! (We also visited Maleny Botanic Gardens where this photo was taken with mum – it’s still a top spot and the birds are as adorable as ever.)
Instead, I had lots of mini celebrations with people one-on-one. Rich and I went out for a pizza with the Candy kids on the day of my birthday and again for a special meal at one of Noosa’s best restaurants with my mum when she was visiting from England.
Also on the day of my birthday, I had breakfast on the beach with a friend, a wonderful day at my favourite spa with another dear friend and cocktails with still more. That felt like plenty.
Proud to be 50
I’m certainly not ashamed of being 50. In fact, I’m proud to be 50. I’m definitely fitter than I’ve ever been before in my life.
One of the great things about being a triathlete is that this kind of milestone birthday propels you into a new age group category and, being the youngest in your category gives you an advantage. So I was actually eager to hit 50 and join the 50-54 age group for my next triathlon.
Focusing on dreams
I have also felt spurred to go on more adventures and priorities the outdoor hikes, mountain climbs and wildlife spotting I crave most. Starting Adventure Squad was part of that and although I haven’t given it the attention it deserves I have been quietly trying a few new things and planning a few adventures. For example, on May 13th I’ll be doing an ultramarathon 50km trail run in the Glasshouse Mountains.
Even though I can’t go on a long trip right now I’m still determined to keep exploring and pushing my limits.
But I’m also loving our house, the new pool and the tropical garden which is taking off. Most often at weekends, I want nothing more than to relax at home.
Living in Noosa isn’t always paradise but it is pretty special. Check out my Noosa Tour Guide post to find out more.
Overcoming fears after turning 50
Despite the inclination to nest, turning 50 makes me even more determined to push forward with adventure. However, I am conscious that I’m getting more fearful as I age. I’ll need to fall back on everything I know about overcoming fear to make sure those dreams do come true.
In many ways 50 feels like the beginning of the end, hence the renewed urge to check items off the bucket list before it’s too late and the body gives out.
But in other ways, it feels like the beginning of a more relaxed and mindful time of my life. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next chapter brings.
What have you been up to?
You are looking fit and fabulous! Happy belated birthday! I hope you enjoy your fifties as much as I did. You are still young enough to be active, wise enough to be mindful and free enough to enjoy some spare time doing the things you love. Loved reading this thoughtful post and found myself nodding along :) xx
Thank you – it’s true – there are so many advantages :)
Annabel, you are amazing and an inspiration! Can’t believe you’ve become such a good swimmer – that is the hardest part of the triathlon! Congrats, and welcome to your 50s! I am now reminded I forgot your bday, even though I thought of it in March yet did nothing. Happy Bday! I just found and re-read a poem I wrote for your 42nd bday, which seems not that long ago. Glad to see you are re-creating a lush tropical garden for yourself to enjoy, and actually enjoying it! I too am shifting a bit of my life around so I can write more and enjoy more in my spare time (or actually have any spare time at all!) But my own triathlon goals have gone by the wayside, as I’ve now been told taking up running would not be a wise thing, with the newly discovered disc degeneration in my low back. Now I have a great excuse to never have to torture myself with running, but I admire you for doing so tremendously well with your fitness goals anyway!
Gosh I remember running with you in CR and I still have the poem and treasure it. One of the most thoughtful presents I’ve had. I’d forgotten you can swim. Maybe we can go swimming together in the future :)
So lovely to see you here – thank you for popping up to say hi!
Love hearing about what other women are doing. Can I asked where those pink patterned (kind of like a wet suit) swimmers are from? LOVE.
Thank you – I love them too and was lucky to win them in a competition run by @sequinsandsand and @lifestylefifty. You can find them at the Sequins and Sand online store.
You are so self-aware! I think we all have this mix of emotions about the big time markers in our life. I love how you see and embrace them all, and are intent to stay balance adventure and nesting.
I understand about the fear and I also love this: “But in other ways, it feels like the beginning of a more relaxed and mindful time of my life. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next chapter brings.”
Here’s to a beautiful new decade and getting an edge on your triathlon age group!
That’s a lovely thought. I’m trying to make up for a lack of self-awareness in my youth :)
Thank you! Being more mindful is what I need… but my fellow age group triathletes need to watch out ;)
I enjoyed your post. Having just turned 59 (today), you are absolutely right to push yourself and push back fear. Two years ago, I did my first-ever backpacking and camping trip to Yosemite in the High Sierras! I joined up with a group of 12 when I got there. Except for 3 of us, everyone else was in their 20s and 30s. It was the most physically challenging thing I’d ever done — ever! — and there I was, well into my 50s. If you don’t push yourself, your world becomes smaller bit by bit. I’m on a month-long solo travel in England and Spain right now. It’s great that you’re very fit — another plus for being able to do many things later in life. I think you actually have to be in physical training for old age because as my 91 year old mother says, “Old age ain’t for sissies!” A last thought: those aren’t wrinkles, they’re laugh lines. That means your face has worn more joy and mirth than bitterness. How ’bout that?!
It sounds like you’re having some amazing adventures and pushing yourself continually. I love the idea of keeping fit for old age! I do think we have to use it or lose it. The more mountains we climb now the longer we can keep climbing mountains>
Happy travels to you – buen viaje :)
Good on you for celebrating in style, your very own style. The things you did sound excellent, low key and lovely.
I almost choked when I read 50km run, that’s a LONG way. So best wishes with it and here’s to relaxing by the pool when not punding away the kilometres as you train.
A belated happy birthday, Annabel. I also joined the 50 club a few months ago. Like yours, my celebrations were low-key – a nice lunch with my immediate family at a favourite restaurant fitted the bill perfectly.
There was a time when I would have hated the thought of hitting the half century but as I’ve aged I’ve realised that turning 50 is WAY better than not turning 50!! There are still so many things I want to achieve and places I want to visit so I’m definitely going to get out there and embrace life.
Well done for your awesome achievements with the triathlons. I have joined a gym recently (which I’m really enjoying) but there ain’t no way I’m going to put my body – or mind – through that :)
Welcome to the club! You celebrated the way you wanted, which is exactly how it should be. For me though … we spent a week at the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa, our first visit to Bali. It was perfect, a lazy week relaxing with my darling husband. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday :-) .