Turning Fifty

In a couple of weeks, I will become a quinquagenarian. I will join the ranks of Michelle Obama, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Phoebe from “Friends” and Will from “Will and Grace” who also turned fifty in the last few months and who all look better than me!

Apparently 50 is the new 30.  It is not!  It is 50.  That is half a century.


OK, breathe!   The thing is, it’s not actually such a big deal.  It’s probably best to ignore it altogether, because otherwise turning fifty seems to be a reason to celebrate wildly or hit the depression slide.  I don’t want to do either but I feel it’s too big to ignore and that it needs acknowledging in some way.  So, I thought I would use the blog to work out the good and the bad of this momentous milestone…..

People keep asking me what I am going to do to mark this big birthday and so far I have managed to avoid answering.  However, the fact that no gilt-edged invitations have gone out should be a clue that the answer is a big fat NOTHING.  I’m not in the mood for a party.  I’m more in the mood for a wake as it feels like an occasion for mourning.  I don’t want to pretend to be jolly about something that quite frankly, is pissing me off !  

A part of me wants a spectacular party.  I like a party.  I like entertaining.  I like being the centre of attention.  But all I can think about is the effort it will take to organise a bit of a do when I don’t want to really acknowledge that I have reached an age where I have started to creak a bit.  And I don’t want anyone to do it for me as I’m a bit of, OK a total, control freak.

I suppose the big “five-oh” is no longer an age that sees the start of the twilight years with only the dreaded menopause and Saga cruises to look forward to.  Now that life expectancy for women is at least early eighties, being 50 is still relatively young.

And if I’m honest, I don’t really feel very much different from when I was about 19. I still have that enthusiasm for a good time, still have some of my friends from back then and embarrassingly, still listen to pretty much the same music.  When I met Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet a year or so ago, I couldn’t have been more excited if I was still a teenager.  So nothing really changes!

A male friend told me he enjoys being 50 because now he appeals to the older ladies….. and the younger ones. I admit to feeling slightly envious.  There was a time when I walked into a room and people noticed. Men noticed!  I would see them do a quick double take as I walked past in my tight jeans or short skirt.  But that was long ago. Men don’t flirt with me like they used to and if they do, it’s in a kindly “make the old lady happy” way.  Most of the time, they don’t even notice me.  I am invisible…..and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. 

I am fortunate enough though to be pretty healthy and although my face has fallen a bit, it’s passable once I have spent some time buffing up.  I’m fat but after fifteen years of being a “larger” lady, I’m used to that now and can’t be bothered to fight it. Besides, if I lose weight now, my face and neck will look scrawny and gaunt.  Best to keep the fat to help plump out any wrinkles!!  That’s my excuse anyway!

One day, I’m quite determined to become an old eccentric wandering around London wearing purple with a red hat, striking up pointless conversations with people I like the look of and shouting wildly at people (probably youngsters) that I don’t!  But although I’m getting on a bit, that’s a long way off.  I don’t think my mother could even get away with that yet, and she’s 70!

That reminds me – one of the perils of getting older is looking in shop windows. The last time I did that, I thought I saw my mother and realised, with horror, that it was my reflection!

On the whole, I think I should thank the years as I’ve had fifty good ones:  great parents; a fun childhood with the freedom to play out on the streets or in the park without fear; a good education; a sense of achievement and pride from all those years at the BBC where I met so many people and had experiences and saw places that I never would have had the opportunity to do otherwise; good health; a lovely kind husband who is still good to me even when I’m the bitch from hell; two wonderful children who have made me proud many more times than they have made me anxious or upset; the opportunity to pursue hobbies and interests; a great social life and a fabulous circle of friends.

I think it’s about being comfortable in your own skin and now I’m forced to think about it, I realise that actually I am and I have so much still to look forward to.

If my children follow my example, then what I’m looking forward to most in this decade is becoming a grandmother  I really can’t wait.  After my dad died, I knew I wouldn’t have any more children as I couldn’t bear the thought of him never knowing them.  But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been broody every single time I’ve held a baby in my arms.  I’m guessing the next few months will physically put a stop to that possibility so it’s down to my two to give me children I can dote on, while I’m still fit and young enough to run around after them.  I’m waiting …….

And turning fifty doesn’t mean I have to stop dreaming.  I yearn to be a good enough actor to make a proper living out of it.  I still want a really nice house.  I want to grow up into someone with elegant taste….but I fear it really is too late for that one.

Five decades of various experiences have given me a certain wisdom which has sort of appeared without me even realising. I love that people of all ages feel free to ask for advice – it feels very natural and I’m good at it.

So, this has been a very good exercise in making me feel a bit more positive about this whole business.  I’m still not having a party to celebrate the actual day but I quite fancy making a year out of it – so maybe there’ll be a party in the summer.  After all, being around for half a century is worth marking and I’ll regret it in years to come if  I don’t do something.  Whatever happens it probably, no definitely, isn’t worth getting all miserable about.

After all, age ain’t nothing but a number !