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Turning 50? ‘Aaargh’ is probably the first thing that pops into your head. But why? If we’re to believe the health pundits, this means we’re only half way through our lives, so it’s something to celebrate and embrace the next 50!

Thinking our youth is over is possibly a handover from our parents’ generation. We might be a bit more creaky, but we need to change our mindset to thinking we’re in late youth, and have many years of good health ahead, hopefully we’ve reached a point where we’re financially stable and starting to see the rewards of years of saving, kids are starting to become independent…
Time to approach your Fifties enthusiasm and love the new you.

Firstly, congratulate yourself for how far you’ve already come
Take a step back and think about all you’ve done in your life so far. Whether it’s career, family, world travel or whatever – you’ve done a lot and there’s a lot to be proud of. And the beauty is that by the time you reach the big FIVE-OH!, most of us feel there’s no need to prove ourselves to anyone – so bask in your achievements and move on to other exciting challenges.
Talking about achievements – if you have children, you’ve probably got to the point where you realise they are pretty decent human beings (insert pat on the back here). If you started young, you may even be in the market for grandchildren, who are the ultimate perk! All the love, all the cuddles, all the spoiling, with none of the responsibilities.
If you’re really lucky, you’re close to paying off your home, and the expenses of educating your kids are nearly over. So there might even be some spare cash around.

Time to spoil yourself – whether it’s new clothes or furnishings, or just a boot-load of all the books you have been dying to read – now’s the time!
And enjoy quality experiences. Another plus of maturity is not putting up bad service or suffering fools. Most of us probably find it easier to speak up when things are awful than we did when we were younger. And we can tell people what we want and say ‘no’.

Reinvent yourself

  • So who is the new you? Perhaps it’s time to learn a new skill or language or volunteer to help others. Just through life experience, you’ll have acquired a wealth of wisdom, and it’s time to start sharing it.
  • Always fancied wearing tie-dyed dresses with no shoes and being a little eccentric? Just do it.
  • Reinventing yourself means you can get rid of all the things that have irritated you in the past. Like wearing a bra. Or making supper every night. Or agreeing with people just to keep the peace. Whatever your views, you’ve had them for a while, so be confident in expressing them. And, yes, if anyone complains about eating pizza AGAIN – that’s tough!

Be grateful
For good health and (hopefully) the good health of those around you. This is the time of life when you find yourself going to more funerals than you care to. Love those you want to love without holding back. Complain less. Be honest, with yourself and with others. Life is too short for pretence.
Be silly, laugh often, be exuberant with love and praise for others.

And be mindful.
Yes – age IS just a number, so be the age you feel, not the age you are. One thing all older people agree on is that they don’t actually ‘feel’ old. In spite of sagging breasts, wrinkles and an extra kilogram or two, most of us feel as though we are a couple of decades young, at least. So there’s no need to ‘act old’. Unless you want to of course – it’s a great excuse for getting out of activities that really don’t inspire you!
If you feel about 80 years old, time to do something to get your mojo back. Take up salsa dancing, learn to skydive, challenge yourself to exercise ten minutes every day, and build up from there.

And there’s more…
By the time you reach 50, you absolutely know what you want when it comes to sex (and how to ask for it!) With the fear of pregnancy left in the past, it’s all about pleasure… good times!
Your body is changing – but this doesn’t mean you have to throw away your sexy jeans and start wearing mom frocks. Stop thinking ‘everything is slowing down’. Rather say ‘It’s time to speed up!’

  • For a start – take your exercise (important not just for your body, but also your brain) to the next level. Whatever you were doing in your Forties, you need to push yourself even harder now. Never tried running? Why not start now? Not only will it kickstart a newer, fitter you, but you’ll also feel more alert and sleep better. Plus all those great endorphins will improve your (probably menopausal) mood.
  • If you’ve avoided the weights section at the gym, get some tips on how to start using them. No-one wants to fall victim to dreaded osteoporosis (which can be quite debilitating), so chat up a muscleman and ask for help. Bone loss actually started way before your 50th birthday, so if this hasn’t been a part of your life thus far, you may have some catching up to do. Oh – and don’t forget to take a calcium and vitamin D supplement!
  • Possibly the only downside of getting older is that (sadly) you need to eat less as your metabolism slows down. BUT, when it comes to food choices – there’s only one person you need to please – yourself!
  • Now that you’re 50, you can officially join the SAARP (South African Association of Retired Persons) – even if you are not retired. There may be some discounts waiting for you!

Claire Potter wrote a list of 50 everyday challenges for her husband to do when he turned 50. Here are some of our favourites…

  1. Make a loaf of bread.
  2. Pay for someone’s tea or coffee anonymously.
  3. Every day this week, capture a moment of your day with a drawing or painting.
  4. Register at the police station as a line-up person.
  5. Buy an item of clothing from a charity shop that you really like, but isn’t the sort of thing you normally wear. Wear it.
  6. Go to a dance class.
  7. Have a lie-in until at least 11am. Revel in it.
  8. Invite someone new to go for a beer.
  9. Send a message in a bottle.
  10. Go skinny-dipping.
  11. Give lots of (genuine) compliments this week. If you have a nice thought about someone, let it out
  12. Take photos of your 10 favourite corners of your home.
  13. Pick a random novel from a bookshop. Read the first paragraph. Do something (anything) triggered by those words.
  14. Do a Life Expectancy Calculator test. So, how many years have you got left? Write down five things you’d really like to do in that time.
  15. Try an alternative therapy such as reflexology, reiki or acupuncture.

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