Just when I thought being in my 40s was the best age ever, I turned 50 and a few years in I realized that my 50s are my new favorite age. When I stated this to my kids the other night, they first asked me if I'd had one too many Manhattans - a ridiculous question since there is no such thing - but decided to humor me and asked "why?" Here are the first 10 things that came to mind, but truth be told, I could have come up with 20 or 30 more.
You get discounts almost everywhere. At first, I truly hated the fact that AARP sent me my "Welcome" packet the day I turned 50. They are like grim-reaper stalkers with an enormous census rolodex who take an absurd amount of pleasure in sending out their cultish "join us" postcards. But once I realized just how many discounts I could get once I turned 50, and being a life-long bargain hunter, I welcomed them into my heart. Check the Big List of Senior Discounts for a comprehensive list of restaurants, grocery stores, retail stores, hotels, museums, and more that offer discounts for the over 50s.
For many of us, mortgages are paid off, or nearing their end, freeing up all kinds of cash for those bucket list trips or kitchen renovations.
People listen to us more now that we are "wise." We've survived the Maiden and Motherhood phases and have earned the status of Crone. The Crone was (and still is) revered for wisdom, knowledge, guidance, transformation, and experience. There is a certain weight applied to our advice thanks to the extremely deep been-there, done-that pool we can dip into.
Our "forgetfulness" can work in our favor. If I don't feel like going to bookclub or going to the post office for stamps, "I forget" is a totally plausible explanation.
We stop sweating the small stuff and we finally realize that keeping up with the Joneses is not a life goal.
We can start embracing our quirky sides with our wardrobes and interests. Join a drumming circle, visit an ashram, go forest bathing, or bedazzle everything you own. Read my post on making the transition to eccentric gradually.
You don't have to worry about climbing ladders, at least not with the ruthlessness of our 20-30 something selves. You're either already there, have had the guts to change careers because you've realized what you really want, or you've decided that the work-life balance scales are tipping to the life side more.
Because we remember a world before computers and social media. A world where people talked to each other over the back fence, joined the PTA and the Newcomers Club, experienced the exhilarating feeling of riding a bike without a helmet, and know the true beauty of listening to vinyl albums. We still know how to throw a killer dinner party serving food we've actually cooked ourselves, do the shag or the hustle, and play canasta.
We know who our friends are. We cherish them more and don't suffer fools. Toxic people have no place in our lives and we're no longer afraid to cut ties with them.
Our 25, or 30, or 40, or 50-year marriages prove that love deepens over time. There is something truly magical about knowing that there is someone in our life that knows our favorite donut or what we like on a submarine sandwich. Who's seen us at our worst and our best, knows our darkest secret and our most embarrassing stories and loves us anyway.