The thought of turning 50 seems to terrify some people.
Yet, hundreds of years ago, the idea of reaching that age would have had people jumping for joy. During the centuries spanning from the 1500s to the 1800s, the average person lived to be somewhere between 30 and 40. Today, the average person lives to be 78 to 80. But while our life expectancy has doubled, the fear of ageing is undiminished in many of us.
For some of us, that fear might have to do with reminders of our mortality. Or about changes in our appearance. For others, the prospect of being thought of as irrelevant in a young person’s world can trigger some alarm. As far as we can tell, fears like those are groundless.
What we need in the first instance is some perspective. Go back to when you were 10 years old, and how you looked upon a 20-year-old as someone “old”. And then, as a youthful 20-year-old, it was the 40-year-old who was a bit “over the hill”. But ask a 90-year-old, and they’ll tell you that someone who is 40 is just a baby.
Age is all about your perspective.
As we age, we can remind ourselves that 50 is the new 40, that 60 is the new 50, and 70 is the new 60 and so on.
There is something very true about all of this, with scientific and medical advances increasing our lifespan and giving us a far better quality of life. For example, health conditions that used to be ignored are being treated far more effectively than ever before.
Here’s another example to consider. New research reveals that cyclists in their 80s (and there are more of them than ever before) have the same immune system as 20-year-olds cyclists. Staggering! As we age and improve like a fine wine, healthcare improves with us. We’re fitter, healthier, and happier.
Maybe our fear is based on moving into unknown territory.
Although, when we go from 49 to 50, we’re turning just one day older rather than a whole year. Hardly a quantum leap. But as we look ahead it’s only natural to wonder where we’ll be and what our quality of life will look like in 10 to 15 years’ time. We can do a lot about that, and in taking charge of our destiny, our state of anxiety might ease. It’s never too late to change your life and embrace a healthier lifestyle and positive attitude that will turn nagging doubt into decades of enjoyment.
Ageing is a natural process, and a part of life we all go through.
If you could ask those people from the 1500s how happy they’d be at the prospect of turning 50, they’d respond in a flash: we’d take it any day! It’s all about perspective and seeing a long life as the precious gift that it is.