Aging Out

Nothing makes you feel quite as grown up as signing your will.  That’s what I did recently, just shy of my 50th birthday.  For so many years, I’ve been anticipating my 50th more than any other year.  It seemed to me to be the age at which women are truly free.  Certainly freer from parenting responsibilities, self-doubt and body image issues.

But the closer I get to fifty, the less enthusiastic I feel.  At fifty, I am a different demographic.  I check a different box.  All around me I see the optimism—“50 and fabulous”.  “50 is the new 40” And now, if recent research holds true, sixty, not fifty, is now considered middle-aged.   But suppose 50 isn’t fabulous? Suppose 50 is the new 50?  For the most part,  50 looks good.  Brooke Shields, Viola Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker.  But  I’m finding fifty has another, not so pretty face.  Sure, fifty is freedom, confidence, self-awareness and strength but 50 is also,  signing a will, burying a parent,attending the high school and college graduations of your children, getting a colonoscopy and root canals. getting a stress fracture in your ankle from running around a track aYoung Lesa.jpgnd the orthopedist suggesting that a woman your age should no longer be running, but doing aqua aerobics.  Some mornings I wake up and wonder, didn’t I just graduate from college?

The truth is that turning fifty is less about the sadness of what was left behind but the fear of what lies ahead.  My 20s were blurred by newfound freedom and ambition.   My 30’s, a rush of diapers and childcare. My late 40’s found me reclaiming some portions of self while carving out more time as a writer. I don’t ever want to revisit my 20’s (well, maybe some portions), but I wouldn’t mind a bit of that fearlessness. That confidence that life will work out exactly the way I’d hoped.

What will the 50’s hold?  Who knows, but based on intensive research, I’ve compiled a list of the best things about turning 50.

  1. You have a half century of friendships.
  2. You get to say things like “half a century.”
  3. You were there for the advent of rap and disco.
  4. You were the beneficiary of Title IX, cable tv, the internet, satellite radio, yet you still know how to play a record, operate a VCR and write a letter.

The good news is that I have a few friends who are younger, several my age, but for the most part, my friends are older which means I get a front row seat for my future self.  And from what I can tell, it’s an active, strong, balanced life full of many of life’s greatest pleasures….and colonoscopies.

Please add to the list of the best things about turning fifty.

Lesa Cline-Ransome


About Lesa Cline-Ransome

Children's book writer, reader, mother of 4, partner to one, dog lover, nester, walker, runner, truthful optimist, answer seeker, listener, negotiator, Boston girl, music maker, party starter, party ender, political, foodie, explorer, winter lover, fast talker, fighter, woman's woman
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8 Responses to Aging Out

  1. christianfekete says:

    Ohh, you are doing just great Lisa, I know, I know … me too Bises CF


  2. Pingback: Lesa Cline-Ransome’s Writerhood: Aging Out | Rhinebeck Community Forum

  3. eothegu1 says:

    Lesa, thanks for this post. I’m at an entirely different stage of life, but I find myself thinking about my age a lot lately, and what it means, and whether I’ve done things right so far or whether I’ve already made some horrible mistakes…it’s good to hear women looking back at what different stages of life have meant for them.

  4. I will add to your list.
    5. Learning that it is actually important to start caring for yourself.
    6. Knowing that it really doesn’t matter what others think of you, and that you wouldn’t trade your
    life for anyone else’s.
    7. That we are the last humans in America to have enjoyed a tech free childhood.
    8. Actually thinking you look great for Fifty. What ever that looks like.
    9. We know to be more present in the moment, or try to anyway.
    10. Knowing that other fabulous people share your Birthday! Happy Birthday!!!!

  5. Carol Rowser says:

    Love your piece on turning 50! I can’t say that I have enjoyed everything about this phase of my life – creaky knees, MORE gray hair, finally accepting that fact that the “mommy pouch” is here to stay – etc., etc., etc. But I can say that watching my boys grow into great men, finding out who I am and what I want to do with this next phase of my life and knowing that all things are possible brings me great joy and hope! Happy Birthday!

    • This is absolutely a very interesting phase of our lives. Most days I’m looking forward to it, but there are those days when I just feel sooo old. Knees, grays, belly is gonna take some getting used to! all the best..xo

  6. Cindy says:

    Good Morning! As someone who is a little further down the road (I’m going to turn 53!! this week-end) this is how I’ve handled the whole thing:
    less mirror time-
    more swimming-
    more martinis-
    more sunsets-
    more prayer…definitely.

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