I am approaching my 50th birthday. I have been really surprised at how I have been reacting to this. When I turned 49, I remember declaring how I would make this birthday a blow-out celebration and do all kinds of wild, outrageous things to mark the occasion.
I had heady ideas of becoming one of those guys that people are shocked to find out their age. â€œDave isâ€¦.50?…No wayâ€. Itâ€™s embarrassing to admit.
But as time went on, I sensed an uneasiness. What was it? I didn’t know for sure.
First there were thoughts about where I should have been in my life by the time I hit 50:
Big house, big job, big salary. At the top of my game and playing big.
At Christmas, I received a bunch of those family newsletter-type letters from friends. You know, brag sheets on all that they have accomplished, what they do for fun and how great life is. I really started stewing. Reading so-and-so was now a VP or how they vacation at their second home on an island every winter. Was that supposed to be me? I felt a strange surge of envy and shame at the same time.
And I am not even all that materialistic. God knows I donâ€™t want that lifestyle. So whatâ€™s really going on?
I kept hanging in and listening to my insides. Sometimes I got really sad that â€œthe first half of my life endingâ€. But wait a minute! My halfway point happened probably 15 years ago! So what is this about it being a midpoint? Itâ€™s not. So that doesn’t even make sense.
There have been times I found myself getting obsessive about my health. Making promises and resolutions to eat better, exercise more and manage my stress. There was lots of angst and swearing I would do better each time I fell off the wagon, but that wasnâ€™t it either. A low-grade anxiety kept rumbling.
Iâ€™ve kept poking at it. I pay attention to the thoughts that arise late at night or when I first wake and Iâ€™ve discovered that underneath the surface, deep down, there are lots of thoughts about dying. Being gone from this life. Knowing there is more behind than ahead.
Ok, so a piece of this is about mortality.
But why at 50? Why is this one some sort of tipping point?
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Tags: The Disquiet, midlife, Stress, turning 50