Friday, May 5, 2017

Thoughts On Turning 50: Yes, I Feel Different & That's a Good Thing

I want to take a momentary break from talking about my horses to talk about turning 50.  In the lead up to the big 5-0, I was curious how it would affect me, or if it would affect me at all.  It's just a number. How would it be different than 49 and 364 days?  I had seen a couple of my friends turn 50 and make major changes to themselves and their lives.  Would I, will I, do the same?

I'm only a couple weeks into this new half century, but already I have found my perspective shift--DRASTICALLY.  I find myself doing the math every time I see an older person who is either living well or not living well.  I think to myself, That is what 65 looks like, that is what 75 looks like, that is what 85 looks like.  And, I find myself counting the years to those ages and realizing they are so close now--too close now.

I also feel like I want MORE time, not LESS time.  I have been married to my soulmate for 15 years. When I say soulmate, I mean soulmate. He is absolutely the love of my life.  It has gone by too fast.  It feels like 1 year. In 15 more years, he will be 75. His dad passed away at 78.  That is NOT enough time for us.  I want MORE time with him.

I also think about health and quality of life.  I see people in their 70's who seem rather rickity--lots of health issues.  I'm only 20 years from that age.  That's too close.

Maybe turning 50 just makes it easier to do the math.  It's more difficult to subtract 49 from 75, but super simple to subtract 50.  I don't know, but it is affecting me.  It's making me feel this sense of real urgency.  I'm feeling this kind of desperation to enjoy every moment of my life.

Here are a few things that have changed.

1.) I let my hair go curly.

The other day, I lost a bobby pin in my hair and could not, for the life of me, find it.  It's because I have let my hair go absolutely, wildly curly.  It always wanted to, now it can. I joked to my husband that birds could probably nest in it, and I'd never know! I googled the picture above and showed him so we could both have a good laugh.  The truth is, I am sick to death of straightening it out and trying to conform to someone else's standard of beauty.  Why did I do it all those years?  I can trace back some of it to things people said that made me feel embarrassed about my hair or even things they said positive about people with straight hair--advertisements, media of all sorts...that as a young girl I used as a measuring stick for myself.

I'm done with that....finally.

If you can't be who you truly are by 50, when can you?  I'm a curly girl.  I'm even a poofy, often frizzy, curly-haired girl, and it's actually....GLORIOUS.

2.) I've found the miracle drug, and it's

I had a kidney stone two weeks before I turned 50, and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.  The night I went in, they gave me an IV of fluid and an hour later, I still did not need to go pee.  When the doc heard that, he said, You were severely dehydrated.  I don't want your urine to ever have color again.  It should always be clear.

Well, that was damn good advice!  I started drinking water when I wake up, throughout the day, and before EVERY meal.  I have lost 5 pounds without changing my eating habits, and I feel better.  The downside is I'm always looking for the nearest bathroom (In fact, I need to pee RIGHT NOW), but the upside is that it may add years to my life AND enhance the quality of my life.

Thank you, kidney stone!

3.)  The urgency has shifted my desire to experience and do things.

I'm more desperate to be with my horses now than ever before.  Rain, wind, snow or shine, I'm out there with them.  I don't see it as, Oh, I've got lots of time, I'll wait until later.  I think, THIS is the time. THIS is it!  And, that time seems like such a gift.  At first, I thought the change was coming from the habit that the 100 Day Challenge had created, but I think it's more a shift in my perception of Time.

I look back at my life and I ask if this or that thing made me happy.  Do I think about X and feel good, or do I think about X and feel bad?  Then, I make a plan to either incorporate or avoid X.  Every horse memory on the continuum of my life makes me feel MAGICAL.  It makes my soul twinkle.  Time with the people I love, and who love me back, does the same.


An update on Foxy.  My daughter and I took her to the park yesterday.  She started out good on the ground and the in-hand obstacles, but when we went to saddle her, she grew extremely anxious.  My daughter and I took her to the park's round pen and worked her with direction changes.  Then, I had my daughter blanket and saddle her at liberty.  If she moved off from either, I told her to push her away and have her canter both directions, stop, and try again.  After a while, Foxy stood, at liberty, and accepted the blanket and saddle.  From that point on, she became the rock-solid trail horse she really is.  She did the obstacles, opened and closed gates, plowed through water, and picked up every gait perfectly when cued.

Those adjustments that we think of as little, well, they're actually pretty big.  And, they're worth every second we have step out of what we expect to happen to embrace what actually is with that particular horse on that particular day.  (Another thing I've learned at 50, embrace what is and stop beating your head against the wall trying to change it into something else.)


  1. I could write a novel in response, but I'll refrain. I'm on the backside of 50 now (57) and definitely did, and continue, to experience the thought processes you mention. I will add two changes that occurred in my 50s as well -- you went curly, I went grey. Its so much easier and it reflects who I really am. I also noticed a shift in my work priorities. Work still matters, but work/life balance took on a whole new urgency (all that math you mentioned).

    1. That's right! I forgot you went gray, but I remember when you wrote about it. So, the feeling lasted? I was wondering about that. Will it fade? Will it grow? Will it make me change something? There have been a couple other times in my life where I felt profound paradigm shifts, and there were changes. One thing different, when I'm with someone I love or an animal I love, I think more about how happy they're making me, and I feel even happier.

  2. I've done the math too and the only thing I regret is not having more time left with my family,watching the grand kids grow up and riding more horses and playing with my dogs. I'm 65 soon to be 66 in July. I still get around pretty good and ride and do farm work and am not at all rickety or a bag of bones. I do see people my age who are walking with canes or just embrace being old. I don't. There's too much I want to do and see yet to let age hold me back from doing it. I believe there's a certain "life's over" mindset about being old and if you buy into it you might as well curl up and die. Just keep doing what makes you happy and take time for yourself and what you love, that's what keeps you young. Oh, and all that water of course!

    Nice work with Foxy too. She looks good and so does Leah. I'm hoping to ride Blue this weekend and start back. It's been too long since I was in the saddle.

    1. I can't guess people's ages anymore. I've met people my age that I would have guessed much older and vice versa. I do think it is largely in how active we remain and how we think. If we're negative, live hard, don't have something to do--it's like I was saying about Cowboy yesterday, he needs to move. On the other hand, part of all this is not so much about getting old, but seeing how fast it is going and knowing there is an end, and the end is nearer than it was. I'm not scared, but I'm alert. Or, awakened? I think it's a good thing. I think it's good, too, to reflect on what I want the next 50 years to be like and try not to let life happen to me, but make my life happen. I wonder if this feeling will last? Thank you for your thoughts, inspiration and encouragement.

  3. I will be 53 next week. I know what you mean about the math. I worry sometimes about what will happen when I can't keep the farm anymore. But mostly I try to treasure the day and time I can enjoy. You let your hair go curly, Annette went gray (still contemplating that) and I cut mine off because I'm tired of trying to keep it in control. :)

    I feel pretty good for my 'age' and I don't worry about getting older per se because I'm happy to be on this side of the sod.

    1. Ha! We covered all three bases: gray, curly, and cut it off! Yeah, the farm. For the first time I started to wonder if it would be wise to raise another foal at my age and with my philosophy of a forever home. A horse can live, like Red, for 37 years. That would make me 87. That's a sobering reality. I agree about feeling happy to be on this side of the sod. Very much so.

  4. Oh yes. the math.... wait until you turn 65. Just sayin'.
    I manage to keep active but when I look in the mirror I see that I look much older than I feel! I did stop colouring my hair last fall.
    Looking at life from the back side tends to make the important things surface instead of getting pushed aside until later.
    I still have foals because I have someone who will take care of them or find the right homes for them once I pass. So many people don't have family to pass on their legacy these days- I know many women who don't want/can't have children and it always makes me sad that they might end up lonely and alone in their old age.

    1. I know the math will continue to narrow in on me. It's an odd phenomenon--the more you live, the more you want to live longer. It's like, Hey, I have the hang of this now, and it's starting to be quite fun! I'm trying to raise a generation that will take up after me and continue with horses. It would be nice to pass it on to my family.

  5. I followed my Mom's example & let my hair grow out long; the kids called my Mom, 'Pocahontas' - they call me 'Pippi Longstocking' (I insist it's my hair & not my wardrobe that prompts this insolence). ;-)

    1. I've been reading a lot about women who let their hair grow long in old age. I'm doing the same. That's one reason why I let it go curly. Healthier.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.