Turning fifty is not an appealing milestone for women. With youth behind us, our bodies and looks change, and we might start feeling invisible and unappreciated. Yet our fifties are also a time when we’re freer from family and work obligations. Wiser, and less worried about what others think of us. Resting more in ourselves and coming into our feminine power. That’s worth celebrating – meaningfully and joyfully! Here are 50 ideas for how to do that – Part 1…
When I turned fifty, I had a sense of having reached a real milestone.
It wasn’t just about the round number, or the half-century I’d been on this earth. It felt like this milestone was heralding something new coming within me – and by that I don’t mean the menopause! 🙂
Of course, erratic periods, hot flushes and sleepless nights were telling me in no uncertain terms that my body was changing. But after a horrific year at forty-nine, in which I ended longstanding business collaborations, witnessed my elderly mother’s cruel physical decline, and fell ill myself, I felt that, in the year I turned fifty, new and better things would start.
Change was coming within myself – and not only change, but a veritable transformation. A new, next version of me was about to be born: A wiser woman, deepened and made more compassionate by her life experience. A beautiful woman, strong, in her flow and very true to herself.
I totally expected this next self, once fully embodied, to change my life – in all kinds of positive ways!
And I felt strongly that I wanted to mark this transition on my 50th birthday – meaningfully and as a joyful event in my life – rather than feeling down about it, or pretending I’d stopped counting…
So I had this emerging woman painted onto my skin in a Sacred Body Art ritual – more about it below. It was an amazing, unforgettable experience – perfect for me to start embodying my fifties and the woman I was becoming.
Of course, that’s perhaps not your cup of tea… 🙂
Which is why…
I’ve put together 50 ways you could celebrate your fiftieth birthday
Or simply celebrate being fifty, if you haven’t celebrated turning fifty.
I feel that fifty is a wonderful age for women to be – and I want us to enjoy it!
So here we go…
Turning or being fifty is a transformation that happens within you – so you might enjoy giving it the internal space it needs and raise your consciousness of it. Here are a few ways in which you can do that:
1 Shed the baggage
Whenever something new wants to come into you or into your life, it needs the space to be able to do so. So if there are things that prevent you from entering your fifties fabulously, now is a great time to recognise them and let them go. Perhaps that’s a relationship that has run its course, work that isn’t right for you anymore, unresolved conflicts with others or within yourself, regrets, bitterness, unhelpful behaviours… even the clutter in your home. Close what needs to be closed. Release what needs to be released. Whether you do it as a conscious ritual for yourself, or with help from a professional: Shed the baggage. Lighten your load. And create a clean slate.
2 Take stock
Midlife, and turning fifty in particular, is a perfect time to stop what you’re doing – at least for a bit – and look back on your life so far and take stock, before embarking on a next phase. It’s like harvesting your current crops before sewing the next ones. Where have you come from? What have you done so far in your life? Whom have you met? What’s your life path been like? How has it felt? What have you learnt? What are you grateful for? What has your life journey given you that makes you uniquely you? Make some time to map and review your life so far. Celebrate your achievements, savour your joys, acknowledge your disappointments, mourn your losses. Don’t judge. Just honour and marvel at your own, unique life path!
3 Envision your 50-plus self …
… and the life you love to live, in your fifties and beyond. At fifty, we’ve lived a while, we’ve matured into our authentic self. We’ve got another good while on this planet, but we also realise that we haven’t got forever. So how can we make this time count? How do we give it purpose? How do we live in a way that is meaningful and true to ourselves? And how do we want to live, anyway? Try a bit of visioning now – to mark your fifties and set yourself up appropriately for the next part of your journey!
4 Go on retreat
Going within and transitioning consciously into your fifties, might be easier to do by getting away from the business, obligations, To Do lists and responsibilities of your daily life. Go somewhere beautiful and quiet – perhaps a place surrounded by nature, or a community centre where you’re going to live simply, share in the daily community tasks and have time for yourself. Or perhaps you prefer somewhere you will be pampered? Let yourself slow down and take time for reflection on your fifties and what they mean to you.
5 (Learn to) meditate
This serves a similar purpose as going on retreat – but it will teach you to slow down and create a retreat space within yourself, wherever you are. You’ll be able to reflect on your fifties, allow ideas to emerge, or tap into your own wisdom by asking yourself questions and seeing what answers you find. You might find that you get clearer on what you want for your fifties, or can deal better with difficult emotions that may have come up for you around reaching this age.
6 Start a journaling practice
Journaling is a great way to become more conscious of yourself and your life by bringing what’s going on within you out into the open. It also gives it added visibility and importance, as you’re making intangible thoughts and inner processes visible by writing or drawing them onto a page. You could set yourself a practice to journal at least one page without interruption each day when you wake up, and see what comes out. Or you could journal about a specific question that’s on your mind, about your life so far, or about what it means for you to turn or be fifty. Your choice – just keep it non-judgmental, free and enjoyable!
Focus on what truly matters
Turning or being fifty can bring a greater awareness of our mortality – and with it a clearer, sharper focus on what truly matters to us, in the precious time we may have left in our life. This might sound harsh, but isn’t a bad thing, as focusing on what matters often re-invigorates our life. Here’s some inspiration for you:
7 (Re-)establish your health
For many of us, our fifties bring a health wake-up call, as our body starts to weaken, function less well or break down altogether. You might say We only learn the hard way, but, really: What better way of celebrating your fifties by learning how to treat our body in the best possible way and (re-)establish our health? I for my part have renewed my enthusiasm for a right-carb, mostly vegetarian diet – unwilling to put up with digestive issues any longer. 🙂 And I intend to keep up my walking and my yoga practice – two classes a week now instead, plus home practice. The benefits are undeniable: Gentle weight loss, better digestion, increased strength, less aches and pains… You might of course be into running, cycling or badminton, having a health check-up with your doctor, seeing a nutritionist, having more frequent massages or learning to use essential oils for your health. Joyful and useful opportunities are endless. So what’s it going to be for you then?
8 Replenish your energy
Our midlife can sometimes feel like we’re running to stand still, what with responsibilities at work, home and family obligations, social life, hobbies, social media and all other modern life trappings that vie for our attention. Never mind that us women also go through the menopause! Undoubtedly, this is an intense life phase, and our energy can suffer, as we might well find we haven’t got the stamina we had when we were twenty or thirty… I’ve found it really worth-while to understand my energy better and learn to look after myself better energetically. Learning to recognise when I am depleted, and knowing how to recharge my batteries, for example. Being more aware of how I spend my energy, and how I can safeguard my energy boundaries. Getting and staying in my energy flow. Trying Reiki treatments. Esoteric stuff? Maybe. But it’s opened me up to a whole new level of awareness. And it’s definitely felt celebratory in terms of my wellbeing!
9 Get into your body
Dance. Walk. Run. Hop. Step. Skip. Move in every way you like! But that’s not all. Delight in your senses – seeing the world around you; hearing the wind in the trees; feeling the vibration in your bones and muscles as you sing, loudly; shiver with the pleasure of being touched; notice what things or people feel like when you touch them; smell the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee or bread just out of the oven in the morning. Find your own way to switch off your brain for a bit and tune into your body instead: How does it feel in any moment? What does it need? What impulse would it like to follow? And you? How do you feel? What do you need? Celebrate by starting a regular get into your body practice. Or have a body-centred celebration: A tea dance (why not?) or a nostalgic disco evening with your favourite dance music. Go on a special walk. Attend a baking workshop, or an essential oils training. Have a sauna, or a massage. Have a special, intimate celebration with your partner. The possibilities are endless!
10 Show your love
Not showing our love enough is one of the biggest regrets many of end up with – it is featured in countless stories and books, from Ebenezer Scrooge to Little Lord Fauntleroy, to modern tales such as The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. You could say that points 7-9 above are (important) ways to show love to yourself. Then, from this place of loving and nourishing yourself, become more appreciative, gentle, kind and loving with your nearest and dearest – particularly, if you’ve been taking them for granted lately. (It happens!) Then see if you can expand your love – it is, after all, a boundless energy… You could do a stranger a kindness, or volunteer your time and energy to help others in need, or support a worthy cause. Also try for an even more advanced practice of love: Be kind to someone you actually don’t like that much, or find irritating. You could also show your love to planet Earth by reducing the waste you emit into the environment, growing your own vegetables or planting a tree. Showing your love means showing you care. If you’re not going to do it now, then when?
11 Go in search of your purpose
Why are you here on earth? What purpose does your life have? What are you about? These are some of the deeper life questions that typically come up for us around midlife, when we’ve lived a while, seen a few things, had our wins and losses, and start wondering what the faff is all about. Maybe you are inclined to think that we are nothing more than a fart in a universe that is utterly indifferent to us, and so we better enjoy farting about – fine. But if you feel a longing inside, in your quiet moments, to know what you’re here for, to live out consciously what you have to contribute to the world, then now is the time to go in search for what that is. Because living in a way that is meanigful and purposeful to you, whether that is a purpose you feel was given to you by a Higher Power, or whether you have given your life such meaning yourself, will make you feel more congruent, steadfast and at peace with yourself and the world – through life’s inevitable ups and downs. If that’s not reason to celebrate…! Read my suggestions about finding your purpose here: Let me tell you what the point is and 5 places to find your purpose in
12 Make a small change in your life
Most of us don’t like change, so how is making changes a celebration of turning fifty? Well: How about making a meaningful, positive, purposeful change that will improve your life and help you feel more yourself as you start this new decade? Whether you decide to eat more fruit and veg (and buy them at the local market instead of the supermarket, start to meditate for 5 minutes each day, give up something you don’t need anymore, be more patient with your co-workers, revive a weekly date night with your spouse or partner, or learn a new skill – small positive changes, particularly when they’re changes to our daily habits, can have a big impact on our life, making us healthier and happier. Why not try for yourself? Check out 25 examples here.
Want to read more about turning fifty and living a life you love being fifty?
My next article in this series: 50 Ways to Celebrate Your 50th Birthday – Part 2
Over to you now
What are your experiences of turning 50?
Did you mark the occasion or celebrate? Why / why not?
If you did celebrate, what did you do? And what did that do for you?
I’d love to read your comments, please share them below – thanks!
And if you want help in shaping your fifties…