16 Things We Can Do in Our 50’s that We Couldn’t in Our 20’s

Photo credit Vicky Gino


Rules? What rules? They no longer apply, it’s called liberation, it comes with age, offers freedom from limits on so called appropriate behavior, and believe me I’m so havin it. “The most important thing I can tell you about aging is this: If you really feel that you want to have an off-the-shoulder blouse and some big beads and thong sandals and a dirndl skirt and a magnolia in your hair, do it. Even if you’re wrinkled,” says Maya Angelou. If you’re a man it’s all about cargo shorts, Tommy Bahama shirts, and Birkenstocks. 


The privilege of aging is real, and spoiler alert, if you’re twenty-something, I strongly discourage the reading of this post. It’s age inappropriate! Bahaha

I don’t mean to brag but if I could go back in time, and visit any stage of life, I’d opt for the fifth decade ~ permanently. And although I’m still carrying around arduous burdens from the past, I’ve grown accustomed to the weight, and now they’re a cherished contribution to the overarching campaign…becoming me. As Thomas Bailey Aldrich says, to keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent that is to triumph over old age. Let’s me assist you in this victory.

  1. Managing the details of house, spouse, vocation, pets, and children is no longer our struggle which frees up a lot of critical space in the old noodle. We have time to think, redirect, and procure new dreams, because thanks be to God, the life we were going to lead in our twenties is vastly different from the life we’re leading. For this we are ever so grateful, we’re not as susceptible to the opinions of others, as if a classic car we try to align with that which we believe, and at our age keeping fewer balls in the air is fortuitous, because honestly we’ve become rather of clumsy.
  2. I apologize for the next one, which is unabashedly crass, but true, my tits and ass are no longer my primary assets (pun intended). What a relief, except when I want to get out of a ticket, grab the bartenders attention, or get seated at a table without reservations. The trick is to apply humor ~ lavishly, as if butter on warm toast, spread it around. I’ve come to a place where perseverance, humor, and charm are my key merits. Well that and my minestrone soup. I say use your resources wisely. As Celine Dion claims there’s no such thing as aging, only maturing, and knowledge. She calls that beauty, I call it grit, and that’s just as attractive.
  3. Our children no longer embarrass us, because now we embarrass our children. We’re known to spontaneously break out in song, wear whatever the hell we want, text our spouses when we’re in the same room, we refuse to eat kale, we might start a blog, or over explain ourselves to perfect strangers, we like to brag about how much sleep we got last night, and shamelessly enjoy outdated social media platforms such as Facebook. Our kids still believe they know more than us but at least they’re growing suspicious.
  4. We no longer have to dye our hair, because gray is currently trending, twenty-somethings are now paying to go gray, and we come by it naturally. This is sort of comical, but financially advantageous, a win, win for the ancients.
  5. We appreciate the time we have left with a reverence only reserved for those of us who have crested the indomitable hill. Every day we draw breath is a gift, we get it, we have grandkids. We’d rather walk the shores of this great land, dangle our feet off the dock of the bay, lounge on the porch swing counting the fallen stars with a grand baby under each arm then anything else. Don’t waste time doing what you should do instead of what you really want to do. Life’s too short. In fact, we can act like we forgot something that we really didn’t want to do, and no one suspects a thing.
  6. After all these years of stressing abstinence, madly separating the sexes, I’ve discovered I’m sort of a slut. I say go on, be fruitful, multiply, because I am unabashedly smitten with our grandchildren. We all should have someone in our lives who love us despite the evidence, and as Ruth Goode notes our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends — and hardly ever our own grown children. This is an extraordinary gift, one I never expected, I’m calling it an elderly perk. 
  7. I no longer care how many steps I get in each day. In fact, I threw my fit bit in the trash, studies show fit bit wearers gain more weight than non-wearers, because they’re daily steps have taken on moral connotations, and now they feel entitled to that extra piece of pie. One time I accidentally connected my Fitbit account to Facebook and everyone knew I only walked 63 steps that day. The judgement was harsh, but I came up with a brilliant plan, if I didn’t make my 10,000 steps come evening, I’d throw the thing in a cool dryer with a towel, and gain several thousand steps in a matter of minutes, and than feel justified enjoying a scoop of gelato. I’m not proud, I’m just over sharing.
  8. We can read a paper map, an analog clock, and a room with fairly good accuracy, what we struggle with is technology. If you’re twenty-something, it’s the total opposite.
  9. We’re now entitled to discounts at the movies, restaurants, grocery stores, travel agencies, and car rentals, but also MacDonald’s, and Frontier Village to name a few. Check out the link above when you have time because the list is sort of colossal! You’re welcome.
  10. We live in the era of Spanx, not necessary in our 20’s, essential today…enough said. 
  11. We understand the advantages of slowing down, enjoying fine dining, drinking expensive wines, and for the love of God getting a good nights sleep. There is absolutely no reason to pull an all nighter, recovery can take weeks, and unless we’re landing in Italy, it’s not worth it.
  12. We’re finally able to give back to society, not only time, but financially supporting the causes we deem valid. And now that California is undergoing the process of cremation, middle America is flooding, and massive tornados are taking down the rest of the country, it’s time to join the cause, fighting for the environment benefits our grandchildren, and all of humankind. Like the Jesuit philosophy claims if God is laboring for creation so should we. 
  13. We’re unaffected by popular opinion, being politically correct, approval ratings, or how many shares we get on twitter because it’s a waste of our precious time. You can’t push our buttons, they no longer function, and besides we’re in the I don’t give a shit years. We’ve already seen the bottom, in fact I mopped up while I was there, so basically there’s nothing to fear. Haluluia. 
  14. Frances McDormand says, my position has always been that the way people age and the signs that we show of aging is nature’s way of tattooing. It’s natural scarification, and the life you lead gives you the symbols and the emblems of your life, the road map you followed. I love that, there’s no reason to pay someone to ink up my body, when life is the ultimate artist. Can you tell I like to laugh?
  15. As women we need a practical bra or our belly buttons end up right smack between our breasts. It’s not the look we’re going for, we don’t need anyone’s approval, we just want to be atomically correct during the day. Refer to #13 for more detail. 
  16. Our eyesight has blurred so significantly we are no longer aware of our own wrinkles, let alone anyone else’s, and discerning distances is not an option. But we recognize the Declaration of Independence, the importance of our freedom, and the sacrifices it took to get here. These are our inalienable rights and for this we are profoundly grateful. 

Patty Duke says, as much as I loathe this aging thing, I’m beginning to recognize that I am now a healthier person in terms of self-worth and knowing who I am and where I fit in this old world. That’s been a good trade-off for the wrinkles. I couldn’t agree more, aging is an inevitable process, and I surely wouldn’t want to grow younger. The older you become, the more you know; your bank account of knowledge is much richer says William Holden. And as you know I’m all about assets. 



I’m Living in the Gap, drop by anytime, we’ll compare our scarification.

Anecdotes:

  • Grandparents, like heroes, are as necessary to a child’s growth as vitamins. Joyce Allston
  • As Keanu Reeves warns, “How do I confront aging? With a wonder and a terror. Yeah, I’ll say that. Wonder and terror.”
  • And by the way Ginkogo Biloba does not improve ones memory, in fact a new study says it completely ineffective, and despite the 240 million annual revenues, the only thing your producing is expensive urine. 



2 Comments

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  1. Hi Cheryl!Sorry to monopolize all your blog replies. I just loved this entry. Totally awesome when you shoot from the hip so to speak.Quick thoughts and then I will let you be…Tommy Bahama shirts UgghThank god I never had tits and ass. (er, so to speak, 1st person possessive, did I just write that?)Huge chuckle about embarrassing the kids. Grandchildren rock (at least my granddaughter does!)Don’t give up on fitness. 2 reasons. 1 is that you will likely live longer and be able to spend more time with those grandkids, and 2, I enjoy reading about your torture experiences at the gym.I totally can relate to the fine wine. You and Larry need to bring your palate when you visit.#16 is an ultimate truth!! Words to live by.Love the Keanu Reeves Quote. His career has had quite an arc.Also loved his quote “I try not to think about my life. I have no life. I need therapy.” And of course his greatest quote of all time: “Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.”Thanks for finishing with the greatest Ecclesiastical song ever.Ah, but I was so much older then…..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h80l4XIPJC4

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  2. Hi Mike! Love when you monopolize the blog reply section, I literally jump for joy when I see your comments pop up! And you are totally right I wrote this post on the run, as my cousins were visiting from Austin, along with my sister and niece Mackenzie. Obviously I relate to the more feminine side of the aging process, and there are many, but men have just as many changes and issues to deal with. Larry after reading the blog said I was giving myself a sort of backwards compliment in that at one time the T & A were worthy assets but I was actually trying to be more funny then relevant. See what happens when I rush, I compliment myself inadvertently. Ugg.I completely forgot about fitness? I agree, keep moving if you want longevity, a sedentary life is deadly! I try to move everyday even ifs it a couple sets of sit-ups, which I hate, and then reward myself with ice cream! Life is good.Now that it's done I realize there is so much more I could have added to this post, life just keeps getting better and better. We have much to look forward to. Speaking of which we are looking forward to seeing you all twice this year! Love your finishing song! Listening to it as I respond. Thanks for the comments!

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