Reaching your 50th birthday just means hitting the reset button with your life.
What is it about birthdays? As a kid when the big day arrived, it marked a passage of time as I moved closer to becoming an adult. Sure, I liked the presents, cake and party, but it felt good to be older. I was closer to becoming a man and have control over my life. No more parents telling you what to do and adults telling you you’re not allowed to do that because you’re too young. Oh, to be older others in my age group and I thought at the time. I looked to what my future would look like.
It was that way when I became a teen and at 16 when I was old enough to drive. Of course hitting 21 was a milestone, but back in my day you could drink at 18 so it wasn’t as big a deal as it is today. But it still was significant because it came at the end of your college career when you’re about to hit the workforce.
I think 30 marked a great birthday when you feel like you’re in the prime of your life and everything’s still ahead of you and at 40 you feel like you’re ready to take it to the next level.
When I turned 50, it was different. The end was closer than the beginning, and it marked a time for me to look back on what I accomplished and regrets and mistakes I made over the years and wished I had done things differently. That’s only natural, but you can’t dwell on it because it can eat at you and be unproductive.
But I think my generation and I are different from our parents and grandparents in how we look at our future beyond 50.
I recently turned 52 and my focus isn’t on the past, but I don’t think my better days are behind me. I know they’re ahead of me. I think we’re lucky have to benefits of better medicine today that helps us with diagnosis and treating illnesses and extending our lifespan. Our generation’s focus early on with exercise and diet makes us healthier than our parents and grandparents.
So when they say 50 is the new 40, I know it’s true. I’m living it. My dad looked old and beat up at the same age.
I just reached a milestone for me. I have surpassed the age when my dad died of a massive heart attack. He had diabetes, didn’t watch his diet and didn’t exercise. He worked hard, but that can take a toll on health and not improve it.
I have learned from his mistakes and am not going to make them myself. Just like your car, a little preventative maintenance and oil change will keep the engine running for a lot longer.
I will never understand why our fathers were so afraid to even go to the doctor. I guess it’s the fear of knowing something might be wrong, but knowing something early enough today will save your life.
Health is important because once we can get through the heart attack stage by the early 60s, we can live a long time in today’s medical world.
That’s great and a relief to me because it doesn’t feel like it’s time to look back. It feels like the regular season has just started after finishing the exhibition portion of the schedule. There are so many more things I know I can accomplish and look forward to doing that I haven’t even started on yet.
I think that’s why we should all have hope that we can prepare for our retirement financially even if we aren’t to the level we wanted to be at this point. I recently interviewed author Steve Siebold who says it’s not too late to become rich in your 50s and beyond. I believe that to be true.
So hitting 50 isn’t the beginning of the end, it’s hitting the reset button. The game counts for real now and we have all of this pre-season experience to draw upon to perform at our best. Winning is in the horizon.
We don’t have to have accomplished everything we wanted in life by 50. Life is a bucket list that we can keep checking things off and adding things as we go. It’s an exciting time just like it was when we were 13, 21 and the milestone birthdays after that.
I’ve been thinking about what a friend recently told me: “It counts now.” Game on.