My sister celebrating 50.
When was the last time you jumped in the air?
Jumped with your arms extended, yelling at the top of your lungs? I'm gonna bet it's been a while.
What does jumping have to do with turning 50?
Nothing really, but it is a great way to commemorate a milestone, don't you think?
For the past couple of weeks, every topic of conversation between my twin and I has been about what to do to help my younger sister celebrate her 50th birthday. I mean 50 - it's a big one. Just like jumping - you only do it when it's a big event. There is so much attached to this birthday, more so than any other, but you don't really realize it until you're in it. If you've stepped over that line, then you know what I'm talking about. It got me thinking about the positives of this milestone birthday.
Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate.
What's the etiquette for a woman turning 50 anyway? Do you have a big blow-out party? Do you go on that bucket list trip? Do you celebrate quietly with family and friends? So many options. Is there a right way? I've had friends that have done all of the above when it comes to the "big" birthday. My twin and I chose to have an intimate party with our closest friends and family. At the end of the day, celebrate it the way that works best for you, but definitely don't pretend it's not happening.
An opportunity to reinvent and reflect.
Sure it was fun, but for us, it seemed like just another birthday. I always look at birthdays as an opportunity to reset; start over; reinvent. It gives you something to look forward to. There is so much hope and vibrancy for what's to come.
It's also a time to reflect on your life and all that you've accomplished. You've raised a family, you've established yourself in a career, you're part of a community. There is so much to be grateful for and when you reflect, you might be wondering, where did the time go. You're wiser, more seasoned, but you're still that fun person with a lot of life left to live.
Having gratitude makes it easier.
I remember waking up on that day I turned fifty and not feeling particularly different, I went for a run and felt that cold crisp 50 degree air on my face. My favorite hip-hop artists were rapping to me as I ran to the beat of the music. It was nothing short of sublime. I felt great. Stretching in the hall, I looked in the mirror and my reflection revealed the same person I was the night before, yet, 50 is such. a. big. deal. At the end of the day, it's a significant milestone. Something changes when you cross that line. Being grateful for each day makes you more aware of yourself and your accomplishments.
It's empowering to embrace the change.
Fast forward, I'm 5 years older. Now, when I look at my reflection in the mirror, I think who is this person looking back at me? How that transition happens, I don't really know, but it does. Physical and mental changes are inevitable. And just like being able to jump in the air, you want to embrace the change; you want to own it.
Menopause makes us stronger.
For women, in particular, it signifies a major life shift called menopause and that carries with it changes some of you may have heard of like hot flashes, sleeplessness, and weight gain, and some that are less openly discussed like facial hair, low energy, vaginal dryness, and low libido to name a few. In fact, there are roughly 34 symptoms of menopause that women can experience, according to Elektra Health. If you aren't familiar with Elektra Health, you might want to check them out. They're experts on the subject and have tons of content on what to expect during this transition phase in their 21st Century Guide to Menopause.
Unfortunately, menopause can be viewed as a negative experience because honestly, there's nothing fun about how you feel during this time of change. But, as with all change, this too shall pass. We will adjust, we will figure it out and we will come out on the other side stronger, more aware, and more confident for the experience.
As for my sister, she decided to embrace the milestone by going to the Pacific Northwest with her significant other and jumped for joy to mark the occasion. Sounds to me like the perfect way to say bring it on. I'm ready for this midlife sh*t.