Insights: On Reaching a Milestone Birthday

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age 50What do Five Crowns Restaurant and I have in common? We both just turned 50.

While Five Crowns is proudly celebrating its half century of success, it feels more like a dichotomy for me. Part of me is thrilled and thankful that I made it to 50, and that every day beyond this is a gift. It truly is.

I can reflect back at my life, gain insights, and see my growth, the proud moments of my accomplishments, the sad memories of losses.

I have seen my daughter grow up and become a wonderful person. I know I have made a difference in people’s lives and in the community. I have worked hard and studied hard. I have hiked all over the world and climbed many mountains. I have learned to salsa dance and run 5 k’s. I have helped the homeless and done many things that people have told me I could never do. I am proud of all that I have done.

The other side however is horrified that I am 50—half a century. It hit home when I got my invoice to join AARP. Really, I am not ready for that. Okay, so I have settled down a little since that invite. Yet I am still adjusting to being 50 years of age.

The good is that I definitely feel more secure in myself than I did at any other decade. I love that I care a lot less about what people think. I have always had the attitude that I have my life ahead of me and now I realize I now have to look at this a little differently. I started with coming back to what is truly important. Relationships, health and adventures.

I still plan on hiking a few mountains this year as I have every year. Just because this year the clock turned over to another decade does not mean I instantly cannot have goals that are active. I am still physically fit, I still hike in the weekends and run during he week, and do a 5 K every few months, maybe not as fast and maybe I am a little more cautious of my knees, but so what, I am still doing these things. In fact, sometimes I am even beating those 30 year olds up the mountains or over the finish lines. I enjoy that I do not feel as competitive. I just get to be me, with a few more wrinkles, but also with a lot more wisdom.

Consequently I am digesting the fact that I am now 50 and taking the attitude I had before I turned 50, loaded it with wisdom, and set my goals for the next year with a little more selfishness. That is one of the great gifts of aging is you start to be clearer with your boundaries. I now know that I have to take more care of myself so I can live well as long as I can. So yes I planon eating more kale and less sugar, and instead of jumping off those rocks I will safely plant my feet down. I will apply for my AARP membership so I can save on car insurance.

With some eagerness and some apprehension I will embrace my age rather than fight it. Where would fighting it get me? I plan on living fully engaged in my 50s, 60s and 70s and if I have the privilege to be 80 will continue to embrace it for what it is.

I am going to enjoy whom my younger self was and loving the 50 year old also. I plan to be kind to myself, take care of all aspects of myself, mind, body and spirit and be proud of being 50.

Someone once wrote, “Happy 50th Birthday and by now you’ll know: There is still no cure for the common birthday and you’ll also be aware that reaching another birthday is much better than the alternative.”

So I am with you, Five Crowns. Let’s celebrate making it to the half century mark. The alternative is not good for either of us.

Contact Dr. Zavala at [email protected] or DrZavala.com.

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