Life’s lessons come into focus after age 50. Find the silver lining to go with the silver hair and share your wisdom with the younger set.
You discover that Mother was right
“What goes around comes around” is another way of saying that mother knew best. Looking back on clumsy high school days, a failed relationship or two, a lousy boss, and poor choices concerning health, mother’s words echo. To boot, it didn’t really matter what the nasty girls at school said, that good-looking boyfriend was never going to be a keeper, the unsupportive boss who did not deserve that promotion got fired in the end, and it is not a good idea to bake in the sun wearing just baby oil and a bikini.
You get to mentor younger people
Once we are in a more senior position, whether it’s with our own kids at home, on the job, in a networking gathering, in a volunteer role, or wherever we dedicate our time, younger people will look to approachable mature folks for advice. I’ve embraced that and am generous with my time. When those we mentor blossom under our guidance, it simply doesn’t get any better than that. On a side note, it’s also important to know when it’s time to let them fly off on their own. And, as a bonus, we can learn a lot from kids as well.
You cut the ties to anger
Not all friendships are meant to last. As we go through the decades of this life, like chapters in a book, sometimes characters die, move, change, or fade away. Some actually behave downright rotten, and that’s when we must learn to let the grudge go. My 95-year-old friend Rosemary once told me that hanging onto the hurt is like allowing someone to live rent-free inside your head. It is difficult, but I am learning not to do it.
You know that classic outranks trendy every time
When it comes to the cliché that age is just a number, I’ve learned that, happily, this is true. However, it’s also important to understand what this does not mean. It does not mean that miniskirts and bare midriffs look great on women over 50 and it does not mean that I must go out every Saturday night. The good news is that I can wear the expensive blazer I bought for a new job in 1988 and receive compliments in 2013. A good return on investment is found in your classic pieces and at the consignment store.
You look for the silver lining
Stuff happens. By the time we turn 50, we accept that good stuff as well as bad will happen, but that there’s no need need to dramatize over the bad stuff. It’s great to learn that time changes everything and that lessons lurk behind every twist of fate. Even better is to know that, with the benefit of hindsight, a silver lining will appear. It makes it ever so much easier to find one.