The thought of turning 50 was too much. I kept telling family and friends that I was “clinging to my 40’s.” I said it so much that on my 49th birthday, my immediate family threw me a surprise “clinging party.” As the months passed, I found myself slowly letting go of the dread of the number 4 changing to a 5.
So much transpired in the months leading up to my birthday. I completed a gospel CD, started working on monologues for a performance in Atlanta from my book, and started planning for my daughter’s wedding. I’m not sure what day it was, but by the time I turned 50, instead of a sense of dread and uncertainty, I shifted to feeling like I was about to step into a season full of infinite possibilities.
I decided that I would be proud to say I’m 50 and not claim to be much younger. I decided it didn’t matter if 50 is the new 40. I decided I wouldn’t waste time worrying about whether I’m at half time or near the finished line. I decided to embrace my 50’s and fill each day with love, laughter, and peace. I decided to spend more time with family and friends. My chief goals would be to live purposefully and to use all of my gifts and talents. And I decided that exercise was no longer about just losing weight, but another step toward disciplining myself and being the best steward over everything God gave me.
I made it! I am 50 and I see a bright horizon in my future. I am 50 and I listen to the birds chirping, children laughing, and I hug my family and friends a little tighter than I used to. I am 50 and I embrace every grey strand in my hair and the sudden hot flashes throughout the day. Oh yes, I am 50 and I am enjoying simply being who God created me to be without apology or regret.
Pamela Love Manning, Ph.D.