RASHMI OBEROI | 11 NOVEMBER, 2019
OMG -A Half Century!
50 to celebrate
For women the world over, turning 50 is a major milestone. I am absolutely ecstatic about turning 50. I can tell you that I am almost as excited about turning 50 as I was about turning 21...almost. I've never been as excited about one of my own birthdays as I was about turning 21. Turning 50 is a close second, though. If you live life to the fullest and have a positive outlook on life, then you’ve got it. It is all under control. All those things point to being happy about a milestone birthday. Maybe I'm weird, but I look at fifty as a positive.
Of course, I always look for reasons to celebrate. Fifty is the perfect excuse for celebrating myself! Fifty deserves Champagne at lunch and anytime I want it! Trust me, this is the time to do anything you wish and take full advantage of the same.
The chilled November air holds possibilities, and the leaves are brushed with orange and gold. This is what I was born into, the plain old honest beauty of an Indian autumn. As I am about to turn 50, my journey of five decades twists and turns across oceans and continents. It winds and spirals through a military childhood, endless schools, hostel life, adventures, rock ‘n’ roll, marriage, motherhood, divorce, studies, redemption, healing, career, journalism, and marriage again coming back full circle into a military life and all the other crazy beautiful things around us. I embrace turning fifty. I see it as the age of respect. I have knowledge I didn't have at 20, 30, or 40. I have experiences I wouldn't trade. As a result of those various experiences, I have wisdom. If you are thirty and want to tell me about ‘real life’ be prepared to get raised eyebrows and a "Just hold your horses… I'm 50. Let me tell you about real life."
There's also something relaxing about being fifty. When you're twenty, you worry about what other people think. When you are thirty that becomes less of a worry. You understand that when you go to a party, other people don't really care what you're wearing...they're more concerned with what they are wearing. In fact, I like to think that at 30, that all went out the window with me. Some people refer to 40 as their "kiss my a** age where you stop letting other people influence you and stop caring so much about what other people think, but I think mine was 30. Some people who knew me in my 20s might argue that it was earlier.
My mother will tell you I was the ‘classic strong-willed child’. I caused trouble, and I was stubborn. I was known for it in my family. My Dad always talked about it and wondered aloud where I got that lovely trait – from him of course! He would often say, "If she doesn't want to do something, or if she doesn't agree with something, she is not going to give in." Generally speaking, I didn't care what other people did, but I wasn't going to do something I didn't want to do, and I wasn't going to be talked into changing my mind about something.
As life has gone on, I've become less rigid, more relaxed, and most of the time, I don't sweat the small stuff. My children will tend to disagree even though I like to think I quit sweating the small stuff when I was in college. Whatever happened, I had gained wisdom in those four years, and I've gained even more since... I don't care who is right and who is wrong...unless, of course, it negatively affects me, my children, or my family. Then...well, you already know about Mama Bear.
For me, with age has come peace. I have peace in knowing I am in charge. I truly have peace in knowing there are some things over which I have no control. I have peace in knowing that I, generally speaking, try to do the right thing. I will admit that I'm perfectly capable of being annoying, but I try to do the right thing most of the time. I have peace in knowing I have a wonderful family and excellent friends. I have peace in knowing I'm trying to raise my children to take care of themselves and others. I have peace in knowing a small act of kindness can mean a lot to someone. I have peace in knowing that I have the perfect husband, soul mate and best friend all rolled into one. I have peace in knowing my parents are here with me.
So, to all my other friends who will be turning fifty in the next year or two, this is my gift to you: Embrace the 5-0! Tell everyone you see you are enjoying your 50th birthday! Enjoy it! And don't just celebrate it for one day; celebrate the whole damn year! Find the peace you deserve at 50!
The main reasons why I am telling people I am 50: Because in our culture, and probably in many other cultures, I’m supposed to want to hide my age. Well, I am an age-defying rule breaker, because here I am announcing my landmark birthday to the world. Age isn’t that scary when you don’t allow it to dictate or limit your life. Potential is forever. Because I’m proud to join the ranks of the iconic women I admire most. How I long to be that much closer to the irrepressible, inextinguishable creative blaze because the spirits of these women defy time and redefine what it means to live big, to live well, and to live beyond limits. Because aging is beautiful, not an illness. Because I earned it. I’m a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend and a writer. I have earned my degrees with hard work. The post-50 years is a time of self-actualization, discovery, and liberation from the confines of convention and time to live with more energy and authenticity. Here I am with all my dents, bruises, achievements, and failures. I bear the marks of my experiences in body, mind, and soul. And I am the keeper of all the stories behind them. Because when you can see the end of the trail, every step counts. Yes, turning 50 also raises my awareness of my own mortality. Denying death is more difficult now, but denying life–failing to be fully and expansively alive–is out of the question. Every step, every day holds more promise, more love, more wonder, and more gratitude that the journey isn’t over yet. No, not yet.
At age 50, although a woman's physical appearance and attractiveness are still important, it is not the main focus of her life as it might have been in the preceding decades. Women in their 50s often acknowledge being more comfortable in their bodies and less critical of how they look. This self-acceptance, combined with a zest for living are quite magical.
As my parents keep telling me, "Life is not a dress rehearsal. Make it good the first time around." I'm certainly trying. Friends, enjoy every day. Be glad you're turning fifty. It is a milestone. Eat cake! Cake is for winners! It should be a celebration. Now, let's pop the Champagne!