Turning fifty is not an appealing milestone for us 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 or 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 2…
I feel our fifties are a wonderful age for us women – and I want us to enjoy it! Which is why I’ve put together 50 ways you could meaningfully and joyfully celebrate your fiftieth birthday – or simply celebrate being fifty-plus.
If you’ve missed Part 1 of my 50 Ways, you’ll find the article featuring the first 12 ways here: 50 Ways to Celebrate Your Fifties – Part 1
And the next 13 ways to celebrate our fifties are right below:
Mark the occasion
Here are six ways of stopping, acknowledging, reflecting and marking your fiftieth birthday – or your fifties altogether.
Sentimental? Self-indulgent? Waste of time? I don’t think so!
Marking meaningful occasions is a way of living our life more consciously. It helps us review, process and really take in what’s happened to us in our life, as well as letting go of what we don’t need anymore, in order to move forward in a purposeful way. Much insight, joys and learning can be harvested from it and put to good use in the life time still to come.
For, if we never stop and mark significant milestones, our life will just pass us by like one endless, same-same blur!
13 Have a special party
A friend of mine had a party with the obvious theme of fifty: She invited fifty people to a bar called Fifty, where she offered fifty kinds of drinks and foods and had a DJ play her fifty favourite songs. She even gave each of her guests a computer key with those fifty songs to take home. She created a book for her guests to browse, with her fifty favourite things and fifty things she learned in her life, and she asked them write her a good wish, so she’d end up with fifty good wishes.
If this seems a bit over the top to you, then you could pare down your party: Perhaps review and celebrate every decade of your life with friends, then eat together and set your intentions for your fifties, both serious and ligh-hearted. You could ask your over-fifty friends to read out their best piece of advice, wisdom or hilarity about being fifty. Or you could set out to demonstrate that partying is not a privilege of the young and dance the night away with your friends!
14 Perform a ritual or symbolic action
This is what I really wanted to do – I had a strong sense of a transformation happening within me and wanted to celebrate it consciously. I’ve always loved ritual as a joyful, meaningful way to make transitions – and, of course, it doesn’t have to be religious!
I chanced upon a Sacred Body Art weekend at the Wild Ways on the Borle Druid retreat, which really spoke to me. The Druids have a long tradition as keepers of ritual, so where better to have this new woman emerging in me painted onto my skin, and get to embody her in a beautiful natural space? It just so happened that the weekend was on the exact date of my fiftieth birthday, so I just had to participate! It became one of the most beautiful, memorable things I’ve ever done in my life.
If you fancy something more conventional, you could simply light a candle, reflect on your fiftieth birthday and envision how you want to be in your fifties. You could meditate and invoke the guidance of whatever you feel held by in life: If God isn’t your thing, it could be the Universe, a Higher Power, a Guardian Angel, Nature, a community…
Choose whatever feels right for you!
15 Feel yourself beautiful
If you’re changing on the inside, you might feel the need to change your outside, too, and be in tune with the woman you are becoming at fifty.
Me, I let my hair grow from a sharp, short and straight cut into a longer, wavier and softer look. I also ditched the bright clothes that had been a happy hallmark of my forties. In fact, I followed my urge to give most of my clothes away! (Read more about how to create a clean slate in your life here)
I’ve never been one to worry too much about beauty and style, but now I felt the need for a makeover… and asked a local Colour and Style Consultant for advice. She was really into using colours, style and clothes to help her clients express their Authentic Self. Perfect for where I was at! A good friend gave me a make-up lesson as a present, too, and I enjoyed making myself beautiful in this way, more than I had ever before.
I don’t think that us women should get too hung up about, nor define ourselves by our looks – it can become a trap! But consciously bringing out and feeling our natural beauty and personality, particularly, when we are renewing ourselves around midlife, can be a great way to love and honour ourselves.
Of course, this doesn’t have to be through clothes and make up – it could be through an activity, a way of being or showing yourself, pampering yourself or letting yourself be pampered.
What’s your way then?
16 Embark on a celebratory project
When actor Ian McKellen turned eighty, he set up an eighty-date live tour through a variety of venues he had a personal connection with, right across the country. He visited the grandest theatres as well as amateur groups, fringe venues, pub theatres, drama schools and small art centres. What a way to enter a new decade by celebrating its number!
A friend of mine devised fifty activities to do throughout the year of her fiftieth birthday, grouped into five categories (Travel, Golf, Diva, Friends, Special Events – or something like that). She called it her 5×10 Project and dedicated the year to these activities in celebration of her birthday.
You could do something like that as your way to mark your fiftieth birthday. What rings true for you?
17 Create a 50 Years of You poster
You can fill your poster with all sorts of documents from your life: photos, tickets, written stories, bits of fabric, coloured papers, letters, newspaper or magazine clippings – anything that is meaningful and important, and has marked your first fifty years of life. You can stick these on by the decade, or jumble everything up into one big, glorious patchwork.
The process of creating your poster can be cathartic, joyous and poignant, as you revisit the times of your life, coming face to face again with what you were like back then! 🙂 You might feel like celebrating how far you’ve come, or shed a few tears for what has ended, or was not to be.
Embrace it all – it’s made you who you are today. And it’s your foundation for what you’re still going to do in your life!
18 Create a Year I Turned Fifty photo album
This is similar to the poster of number 17, but more portable, sharable and storable. 🙂
I was given an empty album by a friend for my fiftieth birthday, and I really enjoyed the tactile experience of filling it with real paper photos, as well as leafing through it on my own and with friends.
If you’re more of a digital type, you could of course create an electronic album and have it printed as a beautiful photobook, using one of the many online photobook applications.
Step into your own power
If not now, at fifty, then when?
We’ve lived a while, we know ourselves, we’ve acquired skills and experience, and hopefully a little bit of wisdom, too. With that comes a better connection to our intuition, or gut feeling. Noticing and understanding better what’s right or wrong for us. And acting accordingly, too.
That’s power. Personal power.
Why not own it and use it for our own, other people’s and the world’s good?
19 Own your strengths and talents
You don’t feel you have any particular strengths and talents? I don’t believe it! If you’ve lived for fifty-plus years, there’s got to be some things that you know how to do well – professionally, and in your private life.
It doesn’t have to be something earth-shattering: Perhaps you know how to organise things. Or you’re a good listener. You can knit. Or build bridges. Perhaps you’re creative, intuitive, loving or logical, precise, persuasive.
What is it you’re good at? (Whether you know it or not, here’s a great exercise for you) Own it. Use it.
For some of us, in the UK’s culture of apology, restraint and self-deprecation, that can be a scary thing. After all, we don’t like to be boasting! And yet: There’s a great feeling of flow, wellbeing and being in alignment with ourselves when we do use and apply our strengths. Without boasting, but also without making ourselves smaller than we are.
Try it – what better to celebrate your fifties than being fully, utterly you?
And: If we don’t own our strengths and talents, putting them to good use, how is the world ever going to become a better place?
20 Trust yourself
I don’t know about you, but one of the nice things that’s been kicking in more noticeably at fifty for me is a feeling that a) I know myself well enough by now to trust my instincts, gut feeling, intuition or judgment, and b) I don’t care so much about what others might think or say about that, because that’s their problem, not mine.
That’s so liberating – don’t you find?
And it’s power, too, to lead a life that is right for you – a life you love. Once you start trusting your own truth – what is right or wrong for you, just because it is – and once you start acting upon it, your life will feel more authentic, more in tune with the real you. And you’ll feel happier for it.
So you could celebrate your fifties by deciding it’s time to trust yourself!
21 Conquer your fears
That doesn’t sound very celebratory – but it is.
As you’re entering a new, more mature phase of your life, and as you’re trusting yourself to live and speak your truth, the time might be just right to look at the fears you might still have that hold you back. Social phobia? Fear of heights? Fear of putting yourself out there with a new professional practice? Fear of leaving a toxic situation in work or private life, and moving on?
Whatever your fear: You might feel motivated to tackle it – with our without help – and conquer it once and for all. Or live with it in different ways so it doesn’t stop you from doing what you still want to do in your life.
Believe me: It’ll strengthen your confidence and your personal power. A great way to enter and enjoy your fifties!
22 Experiment, play, enjoy
One of the life areas many of my clients are dissatisfied with when they start working with me is Fun and Adventure.
We reach a stage in life, don’t we, where life becomes quite serious – a matter of working, earning a living for ourselves and our families, taking on responsibilities… These things are important, but if they become an endless rut we’re stuck in, our soul starts to wither. Because it needs lightness, fun and enjoyment just as much.
Is it possible to relent on responsibilities, duties and obligations in your life at all? To give yourself space to experiment, play and enjoy life? Could you try something you’ve never tried before, or haven’t done in a long time? How about letting yourself be surprised? (Re-)discovering yourself, others and the world? Giving yourself the time and space to play, doing something just for the fun of it?
Spend an afternoon reading a book. Or go on a bungee jump, or have a river rafting experience. Do a jigsaw. Build a model railway with the children in your family. Go out dancing. Take up painting, or a craft. Attend a talk, or a rock concert. Have a leisurely picnic with family and friends.
You know what that could be for you – pick something you enjoy. Why not give this to yourself for your fiftieth birthday, or at any time in your fifties when your life feels stale and constrained?
23 Say no
No is a strong and categoric statement of our personal power. It’s us putting our foot down, setting a boundary, drawing a line.
If you, like many of us, prefer to be obliging and accommodate other people’s needs and wants, saying No might not come easy. You don’t want to be rude, nor hurt or offend other people.
And yet: Recognising when something’s not right for you, or when you’ve had enough, or just cannot accommodate someone’s request, and honouring that by saying a polite No, is a great gift you can give yourself. Some of us, of course, discover this before being fifty – but it’s never too late! 🙂
24 Say yes
Where a No closes down, a Yes opens up.
Again, spoken consciously, it is a statement of your personal power. Saying Yes means to give yourself permission to be open to something. To allow yourself to go somewhere, do something, be the way you want. To accept and receive what comes from others.
If you feel you’ve closed down your life too much, give yourself the gift of Yes. (And see point 22 above, too.)
25 Cultivate self-compassion
In a society where we all want to prove ourselves, where competition is rife and succeeding is a must, and where self-development and self-improvement have become a lifestyle, making mistakes or even failing does not sit easily. As you look back on your life at fifty, you might also experience regret at what you recognise you didn’t handle so well, or what didn’t turn out as you’d hoped – with our without your own doing.
And yet: Because at fifty we’ve lived a while and experienced first-hand what life can be like, we know that it isn’t perfect. That we’re not perfect, either. That nobody’s perfect. And that perfection doesn’t exist. Ah, the benefit of wisdom! 🙂
So celebrate your fifties by cutting yourself some slack. Cultivate your self-compassion. Not as an excuse to be less than you could be. But as a way of giving ourselves the same benevolence and understanding we would give to an imperfect friend, whom we love with his or her imperfections. And knowing that each day, going forward, is a new chance for us to do better where we feel we can and need to.
Want to read more about turning fifty and living a life you love being fifty?
Head over to my previous article in the series
50 ways to celebrate your fifties part 3
Over to you now
What are your experiences of turning 50?
What’s your life like in your fifties decade? What are its joys and its challenges?
What do you want it to be like?
I’d love to read your comments, please share them below – thanks!
Need help creating the fifties life you want?