Life At Fifty And Plus

Ask my mother. She will confirm to you that I have been waiting for my golden age forever. So much so, that I have upset her with a million, ‘ I am nearly fifty ’, as reason for anything that she wants me to do (or not).

Persuasive Her: You should dye your hair.

Indignant Me: Ma, I am nearly fifty.

Persistent Her: You should wear your hair shorter.

Unconvinced Me: Ma, I am nearly fifty.

Authoritative Her: You should wear jhumkas with your silk saris.

Exasperated Me: Ma, I am nearly fifty.

When people told me I didn’t look fifty, it was because I wasn’t. However, it gave me a goal to work towards.

Not to look fifty when I actually turned fifty.

I began to eat healthy, exercise regularly, reflect spiritually, look inwardly. I made more women friends and surrounded myself with like minded people. I continue to enjoy humour, read and write. I look forward to my birthday with the same fervour that I had for all my birthdays so far. I have not felt more comfortable in my skin, ever. I still look forward to each year with the same enthusiasm that I had for my forty ninth or forty eighth year.

Fifty is such a fine age to be!

But Arthi, why are you talking about your fiftieth again? July is still a few months away.

Ah, sorry! I am digressing. What prompted this post, this hot summer afternoon, with the sun blazing down on the backs of people who toil hard, is what I have learnt from a few fifty plus women I met this week.

So there is me, of whom you have heard enough about, not a dull moment in my life. I was busy planning coffee catch ups, lunch celebrations, shopping expeditions with my cohorts.

The girlfriend I went shopping with, who is a year older than I am, shares the same life interests with me. We talk about dogs, daughters, divinity, diets and deadlifts. Even though we don’t live in the same city, I feel pumped and alive when I speak to her. We have so much to share and discuss, teach and learn from each other.

The girlfriend that I took to lunch for her anniversary, is two years older to me and lives alone. She is geographically separated from her working husband in one country and her college going son in one other. She misses being with her family, indulges her time passionately growing plants and taking care of her furred, four legged companions.

As far as you can see, there is no big change in attitude towards life till a few years after fifty.

The other two women, one whom I spent an afternoon over coffee with and the other, an evening over dinner with, are in their mid and late fifties and it is what I observed about them that scares me the most!

They used to be people who were fun, who did things, travelled, kept beautiful homes, lived in different countries, borne and raised children who have done well as young adults. These same women have transformed into people who won’t be impressed with anyone’s achievements, who won’t be bothered about the younger generation and their quirky choices, who won’t watch anything on Netflix that has too much sex or violence, who won’t do anything ‘creative, useful, innovative or adventurous’ with their time because they can or must, but because they choose not to.

They just want to… be.

Between one who said “ I hold my iPad high to exercise my arms once in a while when I am guilty of not having moved for hours” and the other who quipped “ I don’t feel like doing much with the space I have at home”, they seem to have finally reached a point where they are content just being lazy versions of themselves, without needing to express concern or worry for generation next or have an opinion about anything that doesn’t bother them.

If that means that I have just another three or four years to be the version of myself that I am today, I am going to enjoy being her that much more.