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Facing 50: Age is not just a number. I can explain after I find my reading glasses.


I turned 50 a few weeks ago and many well-intentioned friends said the same thing to me: “50 is just a number.” That is very kind, and also very untrue. If it were true, then 30 would just be a number and we would say it to 30-year-olds on their birthdays. But we don’t, because most people don’t worry about turning 30 and having to go for a colonoscopy or losing their reading glasses.

Fifty is a real age, with real biological, hormonal, chemical and spiritual consequences. Twenty, 30 and 40 are markers of change as well. But they are usually changes that don’t require as much medical care or trips to the hair colorist. 

I don’t say this bitterly, but matter-of-factly. Facing 50 means facing the fact that dairy isn’t my friend anymore, and that my workouts are becoming more low-impact, and that two glasses of white wine come with a price the next day. It means there is likely less runway ahead of me than behind me and it means my daughter looks better in my jeans than I do.


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