10 Last Thoughts In The Dying Hours of My Fifth Decade

So, it is done and it is true what that say, life really does go on.

vintage birthdayAs the day loomed and time in its relentless pursuit marched on, the smell of my fear became more pungent. Whilst my determination to make middle age an era of opportunity and adventure is absolute there was just something about actually crossing over the great divide that I could not wrap my mind around. A moment in time, a mere second and here I am on the other side of fifty.

Whilst the great event occurred a couple of days ago, I have only now plucked up the courage to recount my thoughts during the dying moments of what has undoubtedly been my best decade. For my fourth decade was when I asked:

Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

and my forty something year old self echoed back a resounding



In line with the great “one day I’ll look back on this and laugh” tradition, I penned the following in the dying hours of my forty-ninth year :

  1. Sometime overnight I’m going to cross the great abyss. Logically, I know I’ll awaken in the same bed, in the same body, but sometime during the night when the moon steals the light from the sun, time will steal from me another decade.
  2. Politicians really do write to you on your 50th birthday, on rather posh looking stationary containing a signature that was actually penned by a human. This is not to infer that politicians are human, but apparently reaching 50 is seen by some as a great achievement. I understand at 75 there will be a telegram from HRH. Chances are by that stage HRH will be a him and I suspect that the birthday greeting may come in the form of a tweet. I mean, who sends telegrams anymore?
  3. I have no need to lament the loss of perky boobs or a thin waist. I never had them during what most people would consider my heyday. My confidence and body have now finally crossed paths and whilst there’s a few things I would tweak, I’m certainly not crying over the loss of my 20’s body. In fact, I’d be crying if I still had it.50 years of awesome
  4. Is there something pre-ordained at birth about being chosen to live a counter-cyclical life? Sure, my life has proceeded down along the conventional route of birth, school, university, marriage, career, motherhood and mortgage. However, emotionally I have never felt better or more adventurous. With the boys getting older, it is now all ahead of me.
  5. Sometimes I look at people the same age as me and am overcome with the sensation that I am surrounded by old people. Not that age has anything to do it with per se, but I wonder if they look at me and feel the same. I sincerely hope not. Particularly as I’m just regaining some relevance and credibility to my teenaged progeny. Surely it’s about outlook and energy levels, people!
  6. I seem to be entering the age when it is fashionable to engage in “unwellness” contests. This shits me to tears. I can’t understand why anyone would want to compete to have the most complex health problems or the most famous specialist treating them. Since when did having a health problem become a social status symbol? Don’t get me wrong, when people talk about their health problems I will listen patiently, but I don’t see the need to raise the stakes by out “bad healthing” them. It takes me back to the days of playgroup and new mothers competing over who had the worst labour stories. Ick!
  7. Patience really is a virtue and I’m getting more virtuous as the years roll on. Another counter-cyclical trait?
  8. One of the best decisions I made was not to have a big birthday bash, but to make this a jubilee year and have lots of little jazz agecelebrations over the length of it. From celebrating with friends on different continents to high tea in the mountains, the celebrations will focus on our shared milestone of friendship not about my individual milestone of reaching 50.
  9. I’m actually younger than Michelle Obama – go figure.
  10. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz well, by then it was 10.45 pm.

Having survived the fall over the abyss, I’m moving forward smug in the knowledge that there’s another 10 years to go before I have to worry about another milestone birthday and that it won’t involve correspondence from a politician.

Have you ever received birthday greetings from a politician? Do you stress about milestone birthdays?

About the curtain raiserhttp://raisingthecurtain.netI have spent my life in offices. For now I am putting that behind me and preparing for the second act. Middle age didn't come with acceptable signposts so I am making my own through my writing. A journey shared is more fun than going it solo.

39 thoughts on “10 Last Thoughts In The Dying Hours of My Fifth Decade

  1. I’m glad you love to hear what I say ha ha. Hope you got my belated birthday message on FB. Happy Bloody 50th Woman!! This made me laugh and almost cry and cry from laughing..ok you get the idea. I didn’t get a damn letter โ€ฆmind you with my memory I probably did and have forgotten. Sad face. Perky boobs – thin waist ermโ€ฆwhat are they? Just last night whilst at dinner with friends I said shite I shall be 60 next year (insert grimace) Oh well, can’t turn it back, can’t change it, what’s been done has been done as long as I wake up breathing that is all I should worry aboutโ€ฆno?
    As usual a great post my friend and welcome to the 50’s! ๐Ÿ™‚ xxx

  2. Judy, this is terrific. I love the last one in particular. It is still all ahead. I love the jubilee adventure celebration. If you come to America. let your blogging buddies know. Happy Birthday for the whole year. Cheers mate, BTG

  3. I’ll be joining you next month and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me. I LOVE your list and couldn’t agree more with your decision to celebrate with little celebrations here and there โ€ฆ well played. Happiest of Birthdays to you Judy! Please save me a seat in the abyssโ€ฆI’ll be there on the 19th!

  4. I imagine turning fifty will produce some angst in me, mostly because I’ll find it hard to believe I’m actually there. But be there I will, and not too far in the future, so I better be prepared. But like you, I look forward to the adventure ahead and hope I won’t get caught up in any “unwellness contests.” Happy Birthday!

    • Thanks Carrie, the countdown was a wee bit angst ridden, but I think I managed calm acceptance by the time the clock ticked over. I have even been complimented on my outward calm about the event ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I’m with BTG, Judy….let us know which coast you are closest to when next in U.S….I’m west!! I’m a few years plus hours above the 60 range and this quote I keep close at hand: “All of my friends who are my age seem to me to be really old, and I don’t feel really old at all. It’s not a matter of looks–it’s how you think and how you act physically, how you move, how you walk.”
    Your heartfelt “essay on leaving fifty” was spot-on….for any age. Like. Like. Like.
    Thank you so much.

    • This quote is right on the money, Raye. I think I’m going to have keep it close myself – thank you. And there is a very good chance I will be popping up on America’s shores before the year is out, so will drop you a line closer to the time.

      • Perfect!! BTG and I are both hoping to meet you….somewhere in the middle ground?….or…wherever you land. Do let me know if you are close to Portland OR. Just re-read your post….good the second time around….R.

  6. Congratulations, Judy. I like your style, and happy 50th. It’s only a number after all, with a lot of experience and grand memories attached. Always look forward without angst to look back. The best is yet to come. ๐Ÿ˜€
    My most liberating birthday was my 40th, decades ago. A group of lady friends and I used to go out to dinner once every month for 20 years. When the one-up-man-ship of health issues became the main topic of the evening I quietly became less and less available. I consider myself lucky because my hips and knees still serve me well.

    • Thanks Tess, I have loved your style from the moment our blog paths crossed. You’re a lady after my own heart with this comment, I might just have to slip away from a few conversations myself. To me the key is keeping on moving, whether it’s physically (always good) or through learning.

  7. Oh, I too hope it’s about outlook and energy levels! I sure feel much younger than the person staring back at me in the mirror. This was a great post, except for the fact that I’m not as funny or poignant as you in my writing, I related to every bit of it, and I’m a little closer to that next milestone.
    Happy birthday–enjoy your jubilee year!

    • Your blog is a totally different concept to mine and your writing suits it perfectly. Happy to hear that you can relate to the post, I am always searching for like minded folk to share the journey. Thanks so much also for the good wishes and may your next milestone be met with big dose of energy and optimism.

  8. How we divide our time into years is artificial, we make it up. Life is a marathon and there is only a beginning and an end, the time we give up and stop running. The mile markers are there to help us pace ourselves, they serve no other purpose.

    • Thanks for this most profound comment. Life not only has a beginning and end, but it also has a middle, of which we are not aware until we have reached the end. Some where along the way, there is also wisdom (it is hoped).

  9. Happy birthday Judy. LOL at the out-unhealthying competitions between people…..I can assure you it only gets worse when you are in your 7th decade. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sometimes it’s nice to be able to discuss these issues with someone you trust but there’s not much worse than being on the receiving end of meaningless medical trivia.
    No politician has ever noticed one of my birthdays.

    • Thanks GOF. I’m not sure that I like a politicians noticing my birthday. Sort of makes you wonder the extent of information that is publicly available and use to which it could be put. You are a beacon of humour and light as I head toward my seventh decade in what I hope will be a relatively medical trivia free zone :). Let me know if you want me to send a petition to your local State member of parliament to have your next milestone birthday recognised…

  10. Another great post! This is just ‘very Judy’ so to speak!
    I take the chance to inform you, in passing, that I have just bestowed my weird, home-grown blog award upon you ๐Ÿ˜‰ The ILFB award – Intelligent Life-Forms in the Blogosphere:
    Please check the rules carefully – you basically don’t have to do anything ๐Ÿ˜‰ But it would be nice to see that award finally floating through the blogosphere… and the rules mutating (as explicitly allowed by the rules).

  11. This post is very me? Well that’s a relief because I’d hate to think someone was out there writing in me style :). Thanks so much for this great honour. I will be on the job morphing your award (lethally) forthwith ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Congratulations on reaching the milestone. I am about to cross over to the next. How those ten years have flown, although I am told it will now slow down. That is relief. I hope you had a great birthday.
    By the way, you have already lived your fifth decade (your forties) and are about to enter your sixth.

    • You are right of course about the fifth decade. I may have to change the post title. Good luck with that next milestone. I’m going to enjoy my sixth decade before I think about the seventh ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Well, I have just crossed over that line (post to some in a week or so)….. it feels strangely relaxing. No need to fight against getting older anymore.

  13. Being 40 isn’t as bad as its made out to be, that’s for sure. Hey, Iโ€™m sorry I havenโ€™t been by lately. Iโ€™ve just had a very triggering week. I spent the past week working myself up to and actually writing the post where I tell the full story about me and Mr. X. I plan to publish it on Saturday. In the meantime, Iโ€™m having to climb out of the hole Iโ€™ve flung myself into as a result.

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