Why Turning Fifty Is Something To Celebrate

In Denmark this past December. Almost fifty…

Earlier this year, I turned fifty. As I approached the milestone age, I wrote a few pieces about how I felt. About those I’ve known over the years who left too early, never to see fifty, or thirty, or even twenty. About how women ‘of a certain age’ are somehow meant to disappear from the narrative, and how I won’t be going quietly (or anywhere!). About how I’m Generation X, and we really don’t give a shit about boxes and being put in them – all we’ve ever tried to do is survive. About how life, which seems so long when you’re twenty, seems so much shorter when you’re fifty.

With Gaz from Supergrass after their London show in March – I had a very exciting birthday weekend (just before the world changed)…

But none of these pieces seemed to truly articulate what I felt. In the end, I didn’t publish any of them. And I discovered that what I really wanted to do, in fact, was celebrate. Celebrate the fact that I’ve lived through five decades on this tumultuous planet. I’ve done so much over these years, yet wish I’d done more. And I really don’t feel any different to that girl in her vinyl mini skirt and big boots who left home to follow love, even though there is as much time between her and I as there was between her and the day she came into the world. Only what you see in the mirror changes, really.

In London, aged twenty-five…

Time, more than ever, seems to slip through my fingers. And I realise there is so much more I want to do and experience. I know I am fortunate to have choice, to have love, and to experience wonder.

And so, in fifty years, this is (some of) what I’ve learned:

Life is short

Children grow more quickly than you can imagine

Opportunities and people come and go

So dance all the dances,

Sing all the songs

See all the things

Visit all the places

Tell all the stories

Hug all the hugs

Watch the sunset

Watch the sunrise

Count shooting stars

And never, ever be ashamed of your age

Life is a gift, and to be here for another year is something to celebrate

Follow your heart

Your dreams

The wind

And see where it takes you

There is so much more, still, to do

Life, as much as possible, is to be lived. So look to the stars, to the night sky, to your dreams. They are free, and no one can take them from you.

We are stardust, after all…

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36 thoughts on “Why Turning Fifty Is Something To Celebrate

  1. Absolutely lovely, dear Helen!

    At first I thought you were in Canada when that pic was taken until I read it was London!

    Love the skirt!! You looked awesome then and you look equally as awesome now!

    Here’s to tons more dancing, singing, and whatever the bloody else you want to do! Cher xoxo

  2. This is lovely. And, you are still lovely and young at fifty. Sorry I didn’t know you had turned at the beginning of the year so I could send along birthday wishes. It sounds like it was a wonderful celebration! ❤

    • Aww, thanks so much, Alethea 🙂 That’s so kind of you to say. I still do feel pretty young, but I also know I’ve been privileged in life, so I think that contributes. And I didn’t say much about it at the time – it was at the start of March so basically just before the world was plunged into chaos. I wrote the post but didn’t publish it – then found it the other day and decided to do so! xx

  3. Helen, I especially liked your comment about not being ashamed of your age. We are the lucky ones, and I am certainly not wishing to be younger, just embracing gravity and all that goes with it 🙂 Belated birthday wishes.

  4. Lovely thoughts and picture, Helen. Happy Birthday for the beginning of March. Yes, so much to be grateful for and here’s wishing you many more dreams, singing, creating and dancing. ❤

  5. I figure the human body was not designed to last more than fifty years — mileage varies, I realize, but basically things begin breaking down when you get past forty — so every minute beyond fifty is biologically miraculous. Welcome to the miracle years! May you enjoy a great many.

    • Haha thanks, Louise! I don’t know if it would go around one of my legs now, but it’s nice to have photographic evidence at least 🙂 And I’m looking forward to all the living! Hope all is well with you and that you’re staying safe over there xx

      • Yes I think so too, age is just a number (I myself am soon to be 40) and yet I feel (and have been told that I look) much younger than this. It’s an attitude, a zest for life and living, a childlike curiosity and a sense of adventure. I hope to always be this way, sounds like you and I are the same in this way 🙂

      • Absolutely! It is definitely an attitude – one of my closest friends is in her seventies but is still vibrant and strong in her movements, constantly exploring and still travelling (though not at the moment). I always tell her she is ‘goals’ haha! So yes, you and I are definitely the same in this way – may we continue to be so 🙂

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  8. I love this post Helen and your passion for living. I know it’s true, but I’ve lived half-heartedly, not really following my dreams and passions. I feel the loss of opportunity and motivation with each passing year.

    • Thank you – it’s been a hard-fought battle and times and there are years I look back on as well where I wasn’t doing what I should have been. However, I like to think of them as fallow years, preparing the field for the crops to come. Looking forward, not back, is the way to go 🙂

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