Saying Yes to Life at 50

Fifty is the chronological caboose, okay?

Yet rather than focus on the past, which had an expiration date, I choose to embrace each new day.

It’s true so much of our youth is gone: friends, badges of identity like music and fashion, desires, priorities, and values.

Yet a New York Times article on March 23rd heralded our older years as an auspicious time to reinvent ourselves, reflecting on women and men who published books of poetry, invented a new business, and dared meet themselves in their fifties, sixties, and seventies

I will always remember my mother’s aunt who lived to be 82. I bought her an amethyst necklace from a gift shop for her 80th birthday party. She told me: “Oh, purple is my favorite color.” (I hadn’t known that.)

The party was at an organic farm upstate, on wooden tables outdoors with a Mediterranean feast. “I love every birthday!” Aunt Angie proclaimed, lifting her wine glass in a toast.

The point is: giving up on ourselves is not the answer. We need to wrap with love the packages of ourselves we give to others. We can embrace the good and be realistic about the not-so-good that remains.

Even when there is pain, we can find pocket(book)s of joy-a Freudian slip-pockets of joy became pocketbooks, as if we can cherish our accoutrements of style.

Yet I can’t tell you I’ll be the “same Chris” at 60, or 75-or 80. In recovery as in life, there are no guarantees. The clock might keep ticking, so we can’t shut off our minds and bodies, nor remain stuck, blind to our potential and the possibilities in our “second youth.”

Truly, at 50 and beyond, acting resilient and having the bravery to carry on are the smart accessories in our mental makeup bag.

Now is the time to say “Yes!” to life.


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