What does it feel to hit 50 – finally?

What does it feel to hit 50 – finally?

Ever since finally becoming half a century old this month, the question I get asked often is how it feels to finally hit the big five o. And my answer is always the same – age is but a number. It doesn’t feel any different being 50 years old – you are the same old you but yes, there are things you can work on.

When you reach 50, you begin to understand what really matters in life and what doesn’t. It’s a great point in time to choose what is important in life and what can wait. Or forgotten. You understand the fragility of time and the importance of spending time doing things you want to do. Somethings that were on the back burner can be brought up front. Spending time with your spouse and the children are important –  at 50, realization comes that time can be fleeting and the opportunities to make the best use of relationships can be gone before you can grasp them. Finding time for your aging parents is also paramount here ; they don’t have much time left and it would be good to make an effort to spend some time with them.

At 50, you don’t want to hold grudges and be enslaved by them. It’s a great opportunity to forgive and forget. And to let the slights pass. Especially from younger, over confident folk who think they’ve seen it all – you can laugh it off and shake it out of your system. Retorts and rebuttals are not worth the while, considering the bad blood it pumps into your system.

At 50, you are comfortable – or at least you should ideally be – with who you are. You don’t have time to keep analyzing the portrayal of you by others. Fat or thin, easy to please or hard to get, you are who you are – and you can only improve upon what you are. You can set goals to achieve once you understand and realize that the buck ends with you. You can still bring on change even at 50 – but first, you need to know where and what to change without having to reconsider it later on.

Hitting 50 , in my book, gives you a few privileges. Chief among which is not to have the time or the desire to put up with anything you don’t want to. Having lived for half a century, you somehow come to the conclusion that you don’t really have the time to keep on playing games. If someone doesn’t want to be your friend, that’s fine. Not that you would ignore that person for the rest of your life but you understand the dynamics of relationships. They don’t always stay the same and that’s fine too. You don’t have the time to spend mentally reversing situations and regretting the flash backs.

At 50, feel entitled to some opinions – even though they don’t seem to matter to anyone else but you. You have earned them ; they are yours to keep. You may not always be right but you have time on your side. You have been there, done that and when someone not touching this side of 40 thinks you ought to know better, you have earned the right to shrug it off.

Being 50 is also a great time to finally comprehend that you will never have that hour glass figure or be able to squeeze into that bandage dress hanging for ions in your wardrobe. Give it to charity – instead, focus on eating and exercising right. Not because it is fashionable but because it can keep you fit and healthy and add productive years to your life.

In the final analysis, being 50 isn’t bad at all. In fact, it is good because it is that point in your life when you know for certain what remains and what is fleeting.  appreciate more – you can look out of the window and experience the sunset instead of worrying if another day just ended on an uncertain note.

WHY WE DON’T TALK ANYMORE…

It reminds me of an old Cliff Richard song but there’s a whole lot more to it, in relation to the social relationships we lead today. We seriously don’t talk anymore, we go on social media. Our opinions are shared and shaped by Twitter – our conversations with our friends are on Facebook. Now Facebook is great and I absolutely love it because it gives me the opportunity to share information with my friends, many of whom I haven’s seen in years and found never have found if not for the Facebook. And the sheer power of social media can be exhilarating. But in the process , we have sacrificed the beautiful art of writing letters and communicating with people face to face. Sometimes I wonder whether it is worth it.

Technology is wonderful and allows us to engage with others in more ways than could be imagined. Our opinions can be shared, our pictures uploaded instantly as it happens, can be viewed by friends and commented on. We no longer need to show albums or photos to friends and relatives who visit. We can share it all. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had a photo developed. The down side is you don’t have any photos to share in print, they are all on the iPhoto stream!

Whether in building a business, a community or a family, meeting someone face to face and exchanging ideas cannot beat any tech related system, whether via social media or the web. The face to face encounter can generate new relationships, give opportunities to touch and transform lives and ensure that as humans, we can and keep the connections that are important. Sharing a cup of tea or coffee, engaging in conversation – these simple but profound things make relationships special. Especially for those of an older generation, nothing brightens up their day and renews their hopes in life than visiting them in person. No amount of gifts or e mails can satisfy the longing in the human heart for good company – in person and not on Skype.

We are developing relationships with devices that could reach dangerous proportions, the experts warn. The other day, I saw on the web a warning from none less than the Silicon Valley Czars who would naturally want us to spend all our time entangled in our devices. Disconnect once in a way from your devices and social media, it said ; in other words, try going outside and watching a sunset instead of checking status on FB.

Technology is wonderful and has empowered individuals like never before to engage with the world in ways we couldn’t imagine in the years gone by. I can connect with anyone in the world at a mere mouse click and that empowers me as an individual to make my opinion known m make purchases and participate in whatever that’s going on in the world without leaving my chair. But does that make me an active member of my community, in my family, in my office?

Inter-personal skills and relationships make the world go around. We benefit from the conversations we have with our spouses, our colleagues, our children, our friends and our parents. Sometimes a stranger can turn into a lifelong friend. Sometimes a look or one word is enough to seal relationships. We cannot expect technology to do all the connecting for us.

We must make an effort to spend time away from our devices and spend time with the people around us. We need to have a balance between using technology and meeting and talking with people.  More importantly, we need to impress upon the next generation who were born wired, to talk and connect human to human and not via devices. Someday, they would benefit.