Updated: Nov 8, 2019
I'm a Libra, what's your sign?
I turned 50 years old last month. Yikes, time sure does fly by doesn’t it? I just ran into a friend (and Sanskrit genius) at a photo shoot and we got into a conversation with our friend Wanda (the photographer) about age and birthday celebrations. She mentioned that she really doesn’t make a big deal over her b-day. I have always loved my birthday and remember saying when I was younger that I hoped I would always have that attitude. It turns out that I still love it as much as when I was in my twenties… maybe even more! I have never been above letting a stranger know that it is my birthday, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I love getting gifts, I love cards in the mail (rare), social media messages, phone calls from those I never get a chance to talk to, and my mom sings me happy birthday every year at the exact time of my birth. Luckily I wasn't born at 3:55 am :)
Wanda, who is a little bit older than I, feels the same way about birthdays as me. We both feel that this is the one day of the year where we get to celebrate ‘ME’, and that it is damn worthy of doing so. She added, especially as you move into the big milestones of 50, 60 and on... Marcy (Sanskrit guru) is a little younger than me and she wondered out loud, ‘maybe it was when I had kids that it stopped being about me..?’. My reply to this is that I think I got even more into it when I had kids because when you spend all of your time and focus on other people, when you lose yourself in the parenting, it feels really good to have a day where you are ok with it being all about you.
I have had more people than I can count ask me how it feels to be 5O. I wasn’t sure a few months ago that you wouldn’t find me in crumbles on the floor mid-October, dealing with aging and all that comes with it. I am happy to report that it feels great. Turning 40 for me was hard. My actual birthday was great, spent it in Croatia with my Aunts and Uncle, but the actual turning of that decade made me feel all sorts of sad and gloom. I can remember scrutinizing my physicality, my life choices, and feeling a little bit of dread that the best had come and gone. This decade leaves me feeling entirely different. Sure, I can see the lines and signs of aging in my body. Yes, I sometimes find myself daydreaming about my younger years or envying all that lay ahead for my daughters (18 and 20). But the truth is, I feel really good about saying that I am 50 out loud. I do feel that I ‘look good’ for my age and I am proud of the choice that I made 15 or so years ago to make yoga a huge part of my life. This has made a difference. I am also grateful for the life choices I have made, even the poor choices – and I am here to tell you I have made some missteps along the way. All these choices have made a difference. I surround myself with good energy, people of all ages and backgrounds – people who lift themselves up, who are positive in their outlook and see the good that there is in this world. This absolutely makes a difference. Lastly, I hug the people in my life. I hug them fiercely. I hug strangers. I know this makes a difference in how I feel every day.
I thought about writing a list of 50 things that I know to be true at this age, you know, share my ‘wisdom’…. and while I love lists I think I will stick with 5. One important truth for each decade.
1. It is never too late. Don’t ever let yourself be stuck in a relationship, a job, a mindset, a body, a town, etc. Make the change, face the fear, because life is way too short to do anything else.
2. Expect good things. If you expect things will be shitty you are probably right. Look for the good in others, in yourself and in the world around you. And if you are in a place where is at a low, then expect with every ounce of faith that you have that it will get better.
3. Hugs are necessary. They say that hugs boost our happiness levels and that a good hug is the fastest way to boost your oxytocin level. This means that by hugging we get calmer and increase our positive emotions. It is contagious so go out there and hug but mean it. When a hand is outstretched in front of you for a shake, go in for a hug. I usually say ‘I’m a hugger and pull them in before they have a chance to refuse it.
4. Don’t take things so personally. This has taken me 50 years to ‘get’ and I still struggle. You will never please everyone, you can’t. Most of the time criticism pointed in your direction isn’t so much about you but the other beautiful soul delivering the opinion. So, just be the best version of yourself and learn to let go of what you think other people might say or do in reaction. Take stock of who you are and what is important to you in how you show up, and let the drama and bull being presented to you go.
5. Yoga. If you’ve read my 5 other posts, you know how I feel about yoga. Imagine that after 15/16 years of practice I have only barely scratched the surface of what it can teach me. Much of the yoga I do is the physical practice – and just this has completely changed my life and my outlook. I don’t care if you meditate, practice the asana (physical movement), do breath work, follow Tantra methodologies of how to go at life… but find some yoga and bring it into your life. It compliments all the religions, it works with all the other physical exercises, it makes your life better and lighter. If you already have a practice, then bring a friend into the mix. No one has ever gotten salty at me for dragging them to a yoga class.
Age is a number...
Age is just a number, it’s true. While I am in no hurry to be 75, I do have a deeper appreciation for my life, where I am and who I have become. I still want to slow it all down, but I have a better understanding for finding contentment, ease and maybe I feel just a smidge wiser than I was a decade ago.
My friend Sarah said to me after teacher training last weekend, ‘I have always wanted to be 50, what is it like?’. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all looked at all of our future with such awe and excitement, instead of doom and dread?
Celebrate everything about you. Today, tomorrow and especially on your birthday!
xo dorie joy