My 50 at 50’ish

I know, I know I’m a few weeks ahead of my 50th birthday but when my thoughts align and the compulsion to write takes over, I don’t stand in the way with reasoning and rationality. I mean after all I am closer to 50 than 49…..

For the last three years I’ve made a list of acquired wisdom and Rachel’isms in relation to my age. The list takes form based on recent experiences and those that have passed who’s lessons and reasons have pushed forward to make themselves known. As I’m typing them all out, I can recall the place in time when these thoughts became relevant or when I surrendered behaviors that no longer fit the person I had grown into. I had an unusually high tear count and heavy heart moments this last year but, that’s to be expected when you step out from the shadows of grief and whole heartedly invest in growing a personal life into something that looks like the future and not the past. I made new friends, rediscovered old ones, enjoyed the hell out of my favorite pals, had some carefree maybe even reckless fun, and went through the process of connecting and disconnecting from people. I’m not sure I have anything figured out but that’s ok, I’m only 50.

So here we go, my 50 at 50

  1. Over the last 5 decades my priorities, taste, and tolerance have changed. I’d like to think that most of it has been for the better. I guess it all depends on what side of the table you’re on. 
  2. The past is a real fucking tool at times. So many good moments end up being overshadowed by things we’d rather forget. I guess the trick is to stop clinging so tightly to things that can’t be reversed or undone. If your arms and heart are full of the past there’s no room for what the present has to offer. Leave room for the lovely embrace of serendipity and while you’re at it, extend yourself the same grace you so easily give to others. 
  3. My personality is a mix between a needy 5 year old who can’t control her emotions, a teenager who makes some questionable life decisions, and an 80 year old woman that needs a nap. 
  4. You get the best version of me when I feel safe around you. If I’m not calm and soft with you, I don’t trust you. My femininity comes out to play in a healthy environment. I protect that version of me because I’ve spent so much time cultivating and healing it.
  5. The right person by your side will have you living better, making moves, and laughing constantly. The wrong ones will become sponges and take every bit of goodness you have to offer and leave you feeling hollow. 
  6. One of life’s biggest disappointments is being an open book and finding out a lot of people are illiterate as hell.
  7. I try and explain as much of life as I can to my kids but in doing so what I’ve discovered is that there are several parts of my life that they’re the explanation.
  8. I don’t get jealous. I’m grown. I get turned off.
  9. I’m often asked why I write. I write because it makes me feel like I’m finally listening for myself. 
  10. There are different types of tired and more sleep isn’t always the answer. When your soul is exhausted it’s time to do things that wake you up and make it feel alive. Time spent with someone that never makes you question if you’re important to them, a road trip to nowhere, dancing around your house to music that brings out your inner stripper….whatever it is, take the time to recharge and refresh the hidden parts of yourself. (Please tell me I’m not the only one with “that” kind of song)
  11. Happiness has always been about learning how to live with myself. It took a lot of running to realize that no matter where I went or how great the scenery was, I was still coming home to myself and sometimes that person was a miserable cow. I have passing moments of discontent every now and again but, if nothing else, I’m thankful that my happiness isn’t tied to a zip code or in the hands of other people.
  12. Life would be a lot more fun if everyone’s middle name was mother fuck’n.
  13. Some days it’s about killing it and making progress you can feel. Other days it’s simply about getting to the other side of the day without wearing your lunch down the front of your shirt or fighting off the urge to brake check the tailgating asshole behind you…or being the tailgating asshole.   
  14. Valentine’s day…I can get on board with the martyrdom/sainthood stuff that went down in 3 A.D. but the hallmark version not so much. By all means take that one day a year to show a little extra love but please use the other 364 days to love the shit out of all kinds of things. The thought that all that really matters is how selflessly we gave love, even when we didn’t feel worthy of it ourselves, is what the road to authenticity is paved with. 
  15. Real kindness is loaning someone your strength- not reminding them how weak they are.
  16. Don’t think you’re an athlete? Think of all the heavy shit you’ve carried inside yourself or for someone else. Emotions carry a lot of weight and most of the time it’s not evenly distributed.
  17. You don’t need to pretend to be ok when you’re not ok. Can we please stop reserving the word “strong” for people who appear to get through the storm with ease? It takes some big dick energy to be vulnerable and honest about what’s really going on in your life. 
  18. Judge me by the people I avoid. Period. 
  19. That being said, I choose not to judge others because in some areas of my own life, I’m still on trial myself. 
  20. Early in my life, I believed that there were going to be a lot of people I would gel with, that would just get me. Then I got older and experienced life. It happens seldomly. But the people I connect with are still with me, even if it’s only in my memories. 
  21. You only live the life you create for yourself. I’d like to think I live by that principle out of the belief that I’m capable of great things and not from a jaded place of disappointment I’ve experienced from others.
  22. I use to think being charming was were it was at but it’s not. It’s all about charisma. Charisma isn’t about getting people to like you- it’s more about people liking themselves when you’re around. 
  23. Being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive. How did that become a cultural norm anyway? I stopped using “I’ve been busy” as a reply when people ask how I’m doing. Now, I respond with “I feel good about my day” at times the answer is “I wasn’t very motivated today.” For me, changing the narrative made me aware of what was actually going on with me. “Busy” is a great distraction from what we’d have to face if we slowed down.
  24. Build people up. Put their insecurities to sleep when you can. Some folks haven’t stowed their emotional baggage in the overhead bin so they may need a little more help getting things situated. 
  25. If you have a problem that can be solved with action, you don’t have a problem. 
  26. When your intentions are pure, you don’t lose anyone. People lose you. Anyone that makes you feel complicated or messy can fuck off. Don’t you dare throw away your authenticity.
  27. How I view the quality of my life has drastically changed over the years. It was once about matching dishes, thread count on sheet sets, and the size of my house. Today, it’s defined by my ability to love. Loving people is part of that but it’s more about loving who I am and what I’m doing in this moment. 
  28. Rule #1 Never be #2
  29. It’s your choice how you want to spend the rest of your life. After Ken died I felt like my life became a spectator sport- like what is this crazy broad going to do next? That notion, true or not, never stopped me from making the right decision for me in those moments. If anything, I think it gave me a confidence I’d been lacking most of my life. 
  30. The people who move forward in life are the people who look for the circumstances they want and if they can’t find them, they make them. I’m living proof of this. Let’s make some shit happen. 
  31. I don’t think any of us are truly afraid to love. I think we’re afraid of not being loved back.  It all gets so confusing when someone who didn’t know how to love you made you believe you were unlovable. 
  32. I adore seeing people walking by with a smile on their face- it means something made them happy. Maybe they got a perfectly timed text, maybe they got laid, maybe they got to pet a bunch of puppies….I’ll never know but I’m happy for them. 
  33. Finding someone who thinks you’re interesting enough to talk to every day, whether they’re a friend or a lover, is one of the best feelings ever.
  34. Some of the greatest connections are unexpected. I’m a total believer and lover of serendipity. You meet someone when you least expect it, and the chemistry is just there. When they talk, you notice the way their lips curve when they smile and the way their eyes come alive when they talk about something that excites them and, in that moment, you know you’re either lucky or completely screwed. 
  35. Reading is sexy. Hell intelligence in general is extremely enticing. 
  36. There are no short cuts. Life has a way of demanding certain things be felt and the occasional mountain climbed. 
  37. You’ll drive yourself crazy trying to control something that isn’t yours to control. Free your mind and energy to focus on building something beautiful.
  38. Your insecurities have too much imagination- be careful with that.
  39. Be so completely yourself that everyone else feels comfortable enough to be themselves too. 
  40. When a photographer can’t make a scene work, they change the angle and the lens. Maybe the same principle applies to situations in life you can’t change.  Perhaps we should be changing our perspective to get the best out of it. There’s nothing wrong with a little filter every now and then.
  41. Where did this whole women can be sexy at 50 thing come from? With Jennifer Lopez, Selma Hayek, and Halle Berry out there being hot I’ll never be able to turn into a swamp creature as nature intended.
  42. Inconsistency is fucking unattractive.
  43. Not everyone will understand you. You may sound totally off your rocker to some people but there will be someone that only need a single moment of eye contact to get a grasp of who you are. Never dumb down or change who you are to fit somewhere you don’t belong.
  44. The number 50 has kind of messed with my head a little. Pretty sure that’s how old the “old” lunch ladies were in school. But one thing that’s been empowering about putting another number notch in my age belt has been a new appreciation for my mistakes and times that weren’t happy or amazing. Whether it was kicking my own ass through shitty choices or not being present in my own life, I survived myself and I grew. There’s a calm wisdom that comes with a change in your view of life. 
  45. We think we’re these complex creatures but at the end of the day we all just want to know we aren’t going to be alone when we need someone the most. Bad day? I’ll be right over to kiss your forehead- we got this. 
  46. Please, no more relationships that are supposed to be a lesson. I’m quite the scholar now.
  47. Communicate. Even when the timing feels off and you have a snarly feeling in your gut. One of the best ways to heal is simply getting everything out. It’s the unspoken words that get us in the end. 
  48. You’ll know you’ve arrived at a place of peace when circumstances haven’t changed by the way you respond to it has. You’ll start to crave this kind of energy, trust me. 
  49. Few things beat the feeling that comes from laughing with someone and you both keep adding things which makes it even funnier. Those are my favorite kind of breathless moments. 
  50. In the last five decades the thing I’ve fought the hardest to conquer is being alone. It’s such a personal experience. I come home after work trips, make a cup of tea, snuggle up on my couch with a blanket, and my world is completely silent. Everyone has to decide for themselves if that’s loneliness or freedom. 

One Comment Add yours

  1. Margaret says:

    My favorite line – “It takes some big dick energy to be vulnerable and honest about what’s really going on in your life.” You hit the nail Yael or have you changed all our middle names to MF’ers lol. Beautifully written and can’t wait to celebrate your 50th Birthday…you youngester ❤️❤️❤️

    Like

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