I have some thoughts…unsolicited advice…or mere suggestions.
1-Age is just a number. And 50 is a really big number, but so far I like this new club I joined.
2-If in doubt, send a thank you note.
3-Friends are everything. They fill our hearts, entertain our questions, keep us accountable, make us laugh, accept our apologies, teach us, show up for us, grow with us, pray for us, cry with us, read books with us, celebrate with us, grieve with us, listen to our stories…and become a part of our stories. Nurture the friendships! When I have a crisis of faith, I can still reach out to a friend. When I think about doing something crazy, a friend can talk me out of it….or join me. When life forces you to let go of one friendship, look for a new one. I hear God’s voice through the words of my friends and feel His presence through theirs.
4-Once you turn 50, however, don’t pretend you are going to mail a book to a friend. This is not on the list in #3. You can do things like show up for work at 6:30 in the morning or go on a 3-day detox, but getting a book packaged and mailed, it’s too hard. I’m sorry about this, especially to the 3 people who are expecting a book in the mail from me.
5-When I was 30, I saw everything in black and white and at 50 I mostly see gray. The days of easy answers are long gone, and they have been replaced by a more open mind and attentive ears.
6-Sometimes things are still very black and white, and when that’s true, it’s time to pick a side. Speak up. Stand up. Even march. It’s ok to upset people at 50.
7-Faith is everything. When my friends are busy or distracted or we’ve drifted apart, God is always there, even if my faith in Him is sometimes shaky. Nurture your faith. Find faith. Keep searching. Don’t give up on faith. And then cling to it.
8-If you look in the mirror and you think you would feel a little better with a touch up, and you can scrape together enough money (how much would this be exactly, just out of curiosity?), make that plastic surgery appointment with confidence. Sure you could spend your money on more noble things, but maybe if you didn’t look so tired, you would have more energy to contribute to the world. And if you would never, ever have *work* done, and you let your hair go gray, and maybe even skip the make up, good for you! We all get to be ourselves. Whichever path we choose, let’s live with grace for ourselves and each other.
9-Find a way to give back. We have to do this. We have been given so much. We can give back in such small ways we will barely notice the inconvenience. Big and small ways, they will make your life better and someone else’s life better. When your friends know you well, they will find ways to help you with this that are right up your alley. Yesterday I asked a friend if there is anything I can do to help. She said, “Yes. Go give my pets some love while I’m gone.” Well…..I SUPPOSE I could do that…. I suppose I can hang out with your rescue dog and precious cat and act like I’m doing YOU a favor.
10-I have not yet found a magic pill. The closest thing I have found is gratitude. It is easy and free. Write it down…text a friend…tell God…however you do gratitude, it can change your life. You can look ahead to the 24 hours in front of you, which is a daily fresh start, and choose the things about your life to notice. I’m grateful to be alive and well at 50, to have friends and faith and ways to give back. Today, let’s choose gratitude.