Jumping joyfully into my 50s


Most women don’t jump for joy when they turn 50. But I am not most women. I am the one who promised myself decades ago I’d be young at heart no matter how old I got. If you are close to my age, you might remember those tacky displays at gift shops—the ones where if you were lucky you’d find your own name proudly featured on mugs, key chains or bookmarks.  One lucky day I found my name, Julie. More importantly, I found out that it means joyful or young at heart. Knowing that made little girl me smile.
 
That’s not what I was doing when
I got my mail a few weeks ago and found a most unwelcome piece of mail. Yes, the dreaded invite from the AARP welcoming me to the 50s club. I scowled and told myself I’m not ready to be that old.
I was on my way to my son’s 12th birthday party and I had to be happy for him. So I put my mind on more youthful things and drove to the trampoline park where the celebration was taking place.
One of the moms who attended my son’s birthday party asked how I was celebrating my 50th.  I didn’t have a clue. There was no big party in my future. No airplane to jump out of. No hot air balloon to carry me magically into my 50s.
I didn’t know how I’d commemorate such an important milestone. And then I found myself doing something I hadn’t done in decades. Jumping on a trampoline. Connecting with the little girl inside of me.
The simple act of jumping made me feel years younger. I giggled with another mom. Talked about how we both took gymnastics as kids. Laughed about topics like urine leaks that only a mom in her 40s or 50s would find amusing. Heck, we even got reprimanded by a teenage employee who told us to jump one at a time. I looked at the other mom—a kindred spirit-- and exclaimed “I feel 10 years old!” She said, “Me too!”
That’s when I knew it would all be okay. I would turn 50 in a few days but I would still be joyful on the inside. I would carry that with me into the next decade and that would be enough.
I didn’t need to make a list of 50 lessons I had learned in my life. I didn’t need to tell the world all the wisdom I would carry with me into the next half of my life. It all came down to joy. And I knew exactly what I’d do to usher in my 50s.
I jumped for joy on a trampoline. It was toddler time so my little one got to jump free with my paid admission.  As an added bonus, my mom was visiting so she got in on the fun, too.  She surprised me when she decided to get up from her chair and try her hand at jumping. I really shouldn't have been surprised as I come from a long line of "young at heart"women.

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