Friday, August 2, 2019

Turning 50

Today is my 50th birthday. I remember writing a post ten years ago about turning 40, so I thought I would write another one at this round birthday.

I have always been open about my age. It's a fact, and I see no point in trying to hide it or pretending to be a different age. I don't feel that I'm any particular age, and people who want to categorize me as belonging to a stereotypical age-group are not seeing me as I really am. Just as I think that individual differences between people can be greater than any distinction between genders, I also think that individual differences can be greater than any expectations for people of particular ages.

Our society often seems to value youth over age and experience, but we are all aging. Sometimes there seems to be an unspoken conflict between the energy of young people, who are experiencing things enthusiastically for the first time, and the wisdom of older people, who have seen it all and can draw on their depth of experience and insight. To be ageless, you have to maintain the excitement and playfulness of youth along with the accumulated understanding of the world and of yourself.

I can look back on the life I have created for myself, my journey so far, with satisfaction. I have chosen what seems to be best for me, and to the extent that I can control certain things in my life, my happiness has been increasing. While in the world around me, things beyond my control seem to be getting worse, all I can do as an individual is continue to do what I can to be a good person with a positive influence. I refuse to become cynical and disillusioned as I age. I remind myself not to think in absolutes and to see the wide range of opinions and personalities out there.

I hope that I'm not yet half way through my life. I have some grounds to expect this: I'm female, women in my family on both sides tend to have long lives, and I live in a country with a relatively high life expectancy. If my health remains good and I manage to avoid wars, accidents, natural disasters, and the inevitable consequences of climate change, I think I have a good chance of reaching 100 years old. This means that I will be able to continue my happy life and my positive contribution to society for a long time.

On this "landmark" birthday, I'm reminding myself of everything I will be able to do and experience in years to come: love, friendship, creativity, compassion, and adventure. Here's to the future!

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