Gray Hair and Silver Linings

long grey hair, woman

70 is the new 60.
60 is the new 50.
50 is the new 40.

Right.

These two NY Times Op-Ed pieces are beautifully written where ever you land with your math. I’ve chosen 2 excerpts. Be sure to click through to the full stories.

Frank Bruni turns 50 and writes Gray Hair and Silver Linings:

[…] There’s a point at which you have to accept that certain hopes and dreams won’t be realized, and 50 sure feels like it. I mean the lost margin for error. When you’re in your 20s and even your 30s, you can waste months, squander love, say yes to all the wrong things and no to all the right ones. And you can still recover, because there are many more months and loves and crossroads to come. The mistakes of youth are an education. The mistakes later on are just a shame. And I mean the lost people most of all: the ones from whom you’re separated by unmovable circumstances; the ones who’ve died. By 50 you start to see the pace of these disappearances accelerating. It’s haunting, and even harrowing. But there’s something else that you start to notice, something that muffles all of that, a muscle that grows stronger, not weaker. More than before, you’re able to find the good in the bad. You start to master perspective, realizing that with a shift in it — an adjustment of attitude, a reorientation of expectations — what’s bothersome can evaporate and what only seems to be urgent really isn’t…

Emily Fox Gordon, 66, with The Meaning of Fulfillment:

AT 66, I find myself feeling fulfilled. I didn’t expect this, and don’t know quite what to make of it…Fulfillment is a dubious gift because you receive it only when you’re approaching the end. You can’t consider your life fulfilled until you’re fairly sure of its temporal shape, and you can’t get a view of that until you’re well past its midpoint  […]  At any rate, by now I’ve racked up enough achievements that I feel I can stop trying. Paradoxically, of course, I find I don’t want to stop. Now that not much is at stake, I’m more ambitious than ever, or at least more conscious of my ambition. Liberated from an anxiety I’ve struggled to suppress, I feel a new energy. What is fulfillment made of? Mostly relief…


Image Source: imgarcade

Comments

  1. At 35 I was mostly gray but felt like I was 21. At 40 I still felt like I was 21. At 50 I realized I must be at least 29. I started celebrating the anniversary of my 29th birthday at age 30 until I had 29 anniversaries making me 58. So at 59 I quickly gave in to 59 but felt like I was still in my mid-forties. Now I am about to turn 65 and feel blessed to have lived such a health life. I look forward to the next 35 years and than at 100 I will for sure feel like I am 75. Life is what you make it so make it fun!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. here in my 50s , i find myself at a very calm and happy place in my life –

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Although I don’t completely understand the contentment aging has brought, and know that it was not expected, it does seem to be a gift. That’s not to say that there are no more bad days, crying, or disappointments. They’re easier to accept knowing how much I’ve already lived through.

    Call it strength, resilience or dulling of the memories of pain, or being able to calaculate one’s span of remaining years down to two or three decades, life seems to free us as we see and accept bothj its nature and inevitable end.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. “Fulfillment is a dubious gift because you receive it only when you’re approaching the end.” I love this because as we get older this is exactly why we start to appreciate and acknowledge what we already have and unfortunately realise it won’t be forever. Great thought provoking post David.
    Karen

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “What is fulfillment made of? Mostly relief…” I love that. Realising that you’ve done enough to satisfy your own self expectations (and I think for me personally, the expectations of my parents), means that everything else will be a bonus, and you can breathe some sort of sigh of relief at that.

    Coincidentally I’ve just started reading a book written on the Greek island of Hydra by a 56 year old American philosopher. He has gone there to work out how to live his old age happily. It’s called “Travels with Epicurus”, and I’m finding it totally gripping.

    Funny how fascinating this subject has become for me. Maybe that’s another symptom of fulfillment: feeling able to chose what to read rather than feeling you should be working through some “must read” list.

    Like

  6. I was having dinner the other night with a friend who is about to turn 50. He told me he wants to talk to me about how he is feeling about it (I turned 50 last year) and that he is having a hard time. I’m going to pass this post on to him. I think 50 is the beginning of the realizations that Emily Fox Gordon is experiencing; I’m on the cusp of fulfillment (I feel it lurking 🙂 though I still have those “I can’t believe I’m 50, where has my life gone and I haven’t succeeded, etc.” moments! I’m looking forward to feeling total contentment, though I am not going to rush it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Like wine and cheese..we just keep getting better.
    Calmer.
    Clearer.
    Stronger.
    Funnier.
    Wiser.
    Smarter.
    True-er.
    Braver.
    We just keep getting better.

    Liked by 1 person

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