Third Chapter- Push-ups, Relevance and Misinformation

I’m 51. Sometimes, the thought, alone, confounds me. My physical and mental states disprove, daily, that I’m into the 2nd half of my personal century. But, the calendar says 1971 was, indeed, 51 years ago. In my twenties and thirties, if aging did enter my mind, it seemed so distant that I dismissed it without contemplation, with no real thought that aging was inevitable. Naivety is a beautiful thing. I can’t say age and wisdom are synonymous, but, cumulative experience forces us to either broaden our views or be tormented by the outgrown belief systems we are determined to embrace. That takes an awful lot of energy, being dedicated to untruths. My untruths on ‘having lots of birthdays’ came from two converging, overused paths in my brain. One, getting older meant declining health…as if aging were a disease. Two, I would lose relevance, since I’d be too frail to contribute, meaningfully. It’s both sad and laughable. The irony is, I love listening to the stories and guidance of those with decades more time under their belts than myself. And, I was sure that older athletes, artists, or anyone crushing it in their 50’s were the exception. Now that I’m here, I’m met with a reassurance that the panic of getting older stems solely from constructs in our youth. We literally fear a narrative we’ve completely made up. Namely, we’ll no longer “be able” to do the things that brought us joy in our younger years. What no-one tells us is we can absolutely do those things. And, we will absolutely be so over them. It’s not the ability I lack, but the “want” to shut down the bar at 2am. I’ve learned that quality sleep is one of the most undervalued elixirs for health and vitality, and I’m unwilling to compromise it. (Gone, too, is the embarrassment of that last sentence.) Our desires mature as we do. If you’re reading this in your 30’s, this is just as applicable…think of the thing you most wanted 10 years ago. Is it the same thing you most want, today? We shift. Our fragmented energy and attention subtly makes its way back to us. We realize that things like the inability to name most of today’s A-listers has far less to do with being out of touch than it does with being invested in our own life more, now, than when we recognized the names and faces of every prominent actor, musician and influencer. I would never steer younger generations away from all the excitement that accompanies, well, being young. But, I would never choose to go back to those things that once consumed so much of me. In fact, I don’t even think it’s possible to understand yourself at 50 without the experiences of previous decades. How could we? I needed to outgrow most of the things and people of my younger self to grow into the woman I am. I imagine my 90 year old self will feel the follies of my 50’s was a mandatory assignment, too. And, can I just pause to say what a privilege it is to be alive? The list of friends and family that did not see their 50th, or 25th birthday is far too long. At some point, there is a nudge to live just a bit more fully, for loved ones who didn’t get to. Our experiences in this phase of life tend to bring more profound change. It’s the decade many of us lose our parents. We become empty nesters, if we haven’t already. The dog we adopted in our 30’s has aged along with us, and we will make the excruciating choice to protect them, one last time. There is loss. No doubt about it. There was loss in the previous decades, as well. That we are more impervious to the chronic nature of impermanence is possibly one of the greatest benefits of having another 20 or 30 years before we realize that, eventually, loss is a reliable…associate. We can count on it, and, at some point, we soften our reaction to its strippings, instead, seeing the sorrow it leaves as a marker of great love. That’s another beautiful benefit of those mounting experiences in the hour glass…bitterness fades. Or, it grows. From the unfortunate event to the heinous crime, by now, in some way, we’ve all been a victim. And, if we’re alive to talk about it, a survivor. Without going down the rabbit hole, I’ll just say that getting better is a gift we give ourselves. It doesn’t invalidate our suffering. It serves to end it, to whatever degree that is possible. Healing from the myriad pains of life is a practice. Time doesn’t heal all things. We do. The more we heal, resilience is less and less elusive. Joy becomes more prompt in its return, like precious rain in a drought, and the freshest pain is soothed by the knowing that our true nature is triumph. I expected to sit down and write about not having lost my ability to do push-ups, (because, you know, I thought physical strength just…ceased) and about my interests expanding more than ever. I expected to write about the fullness of life. I intended to talk about extreme sports still not being too extreme. I thought I’d talk about the book I’ve started writing. And about getting an edgy, fun haircut and finally learning how to do intentionally messy beach waves. (The selfie is the first try, and I rarely take selfies.) These are all still honorable mentions, but, like most things I’ve learned, organic is best. If it feels right, it probably is. I hope that whatever your age, you’re not old before your time. And, when it’s your time, I hope you’re not old. Because, to hell with constructs. Peace, Warriors.


  1. Thank you for this post. I, too, am 51. I needed to read this. Sometimes I feel like I CAN’T do the things I used to do. But for the most part, I CAN. I just have to work a little harder at getting there. Age is a number, but there are good and bad sides to it. Your post reminded me of that. And yes, I’m so thankful I’m alive! Appreciate you!

    Liked by 1 person

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