50 Years of Wisdom: What Fifty Years Has Taught Me and What I’m Carrying Forward

When I was younger, I remember thinking thirty was old, fifty was really old, and anything beyond sixty was Yoda-from-Star-Wars-old.


I didn’t want to be old because old did not look fun. Old looked painful and sad and stuffy. All the older people in my life were working, going to funerals, and taking naps. Why didn’t old people swing on swings, or ride bikes, or have sleep overs with their best friends?


I’ll be entering really old status this month, when I’ll be turning 50. But I’m not dreading this milestone as I once thought I would – instead I’m feeling grateful for my loved ones, my health, the many places I’ve been able to visit, and all the experiences I’ve had.


I’ve got big plans for my fifties, and for my Yoda years too. I want to soak up all the moments, especially those with my people. I want to swing on swings, ride bikes, and have sleep overs with my best friends. I want to meet new people, see new sights, experience new things, and I actually want to take naps.


But most of all, I want to relish the gift of time that I have been given because boy does it all fly by fast.


I’m not that naïve little girl anymore with a bleak view of her fifties. I’ve even made a list of fifty nuggets of wisdom that remind me how I want to live during this really old stage of my life. Some of these nuggets are tried and true ideas that I’m sure you’ve heard before. Others are reminders of knowledge and understanding I’ve gained along the way, and all are invitations to live.


  1. You are allowed to have needs.
  2. Take action around your desires, hopes, and dreams. Without action they will only remain desires, hopes, and dreams.
  3. Stop waiting for Saturdays, holidays, some Life doesn’t begin when this or that happens. The time is now. The day is today.
  4. Flawed doesn’t mean imperfect. Flawed means human, and that very thing you consider a flaw might be the thing the world needs more of.
  5. Grace and Grit are the how of everything.
  6. Grace is medicine for healing. Grace brings you out of hiding (shame) and allows you to be your fullest self. Grant yourself grace. Grant others grace.
  7. Grace (love) is the answer to every single thing. Shame? Throw some grace on it. Pain? Throw some grace on it. Anger? Smother it with grace. Joy? Expand it even further with grace.
  8. Boundaries are for you not them.
  9. People are messy. Allow them to be who they are.
  10. Sometimes the goal is to just keep going.
  11. Healthy relationships require boundaries, and healthy boundaries in and of themselves require that you know yourself and your preferences and beliefs.
  12. No is a complete sentence. No additional explanation is needed.
  13. Perfect does not exist.
  14. It’s not your job to “fix” anyone, save anyone, or change anyone. The belief that you could possibly “fix” someone is a fallacy.
  15. Release the need for things, situations, or people to be how you think they should be.
  16. I am only in charge of my emotions, feeling states, decisions, and actions and reactions. I cannot “fix” anyone, save anyone, or change anyone but myself.
  17. The work of becoming the most authentic version of you is really the process of unbecoming everything you were taught to believe you were supposed to be, do, or think.
  18. Not making a choice is making a choice.
  19. You get to choose your thoughts.
  20. Abundance is found within – in the thoughts we allow.
  21. What you focus on grows. Focus on the good things.
  22. Pay attention to what you’re thinking about. Are your thoughts the things you want to happen, or the things you fear will happen?
  23. How good will you allow this moment to be?
  24. People are capable of solving their own problems. Trust them to figure it out in their time and in their own way.
  25. What is your intention? Why are you doing this?
  26. Turn your worries into prayers. You can sit around worrying about things that may never happen—things you don’t want to happen—or you can pray for the things and situations you desire.
  27. Sit in stillness every day. No one ever said developing a meditation practice was easy, but research shows that the benefits are mind, body, soul, and life expanding.
  28. You don’t have to agree about everything, and yet you can still have your opinion.
  29. Go for a walk. Go ride your bike. Go find a safe, secure swing and swing.
  30. Linger in a sunrise, a sunset, a cool breeze, an amazing view, the presence of someone who makes you feel loved.
  31. Learn to listen to your inner voice—your intuition. Nurture that voice. Trust that your inner voice knows what you really need.
  32. We find ourselves on the journey, not at the destination.
  33. Life is about growth and change.
  34. Beliefs are meant to be questioned, explored, and repeatedly revised.
  35. Read books – lots of them! Then lots more. Discuss them with your friends, or random people in book stores.
  36. Anger is a healthy emotion.
  37. “Anger and aggression are two different things.” ~ Jeanna Bunker
  38. Allow yourself to fully receive compliments, help, and joy.
  39. “You can’t have courage without vulnerability.” ~ Brené Brown
  40. Always seek to find the light in others. It is there.
  41. Joy is a form of resistance.
  42. You can do hard things.
  43. Self-awareness is the key to every single door.
  44. All transformation requires dissonance, so don’t be afraid to feel uncomfortable. It’s just your body telling you something needs to change.
  45. Ask for what you need. It’s actually important that you do.
  46. Never miss an opportunity to tell someone what they mean to you.
  47. Listen to what people are saying—really saying. Especially those you love so dearly. Words matter. Actions do too.
  48. You CAN have the life of your dreams.
  49. Look for awe every day. You never know what you’ll experience when you open yourself up to something greater.
  50. You are Enough. Just as you are.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on growing older, and any and all of your tried and true invitations to live.