If I Could Turn Back Time

 

I turn 50 today and here’s The Thing.

NO ONE LIKES AGEING.

Yes, I know…there are cultures where age is venerated. But really and truly, except for maybe some long-robed, lovely bald dudes in Tibet (who, have you noticed, have really good skin anyway!) NONE of us like getting older.

The seriously positive amongst you will be saying right about now, “but Malini, life begins at 50! . But are any of you ‘Positives’ under fifty? When you’re under fifty, the concept that life might actually begin at seriously old age is ridiculous. Come on, since I was born, I’ve been suffering from a sexually transmitted, terminal disease (Deepak Chopra’s words, not mine!). It’s called LIFE. We all have. And none of us like the symptoms. Aching, sagging, loss of perkiness (you know what I’m talking about, ladies) grey hair, wrinkles, memory lapses. Hmmm.

All you ‘Positives’ out there – depressed yet?

I’ve been whingeing long and loud about it for about a year, hoping that my whinges will magically turn into some kind of self-acceptance and total well-adjustedness. That I might even become Centred and Calm about this. Don’t laugh, friends. I’ve heard it happens.

I’m still surprised that I’ve mysteriously and suddenly gotten old. That I now qualify for the Seniors Discounted Funeral Plan. Free mammograms. Colon checks. Crikey.

The well chosen people I regularly hang out with help me forget. To the ones that are older than me, I appear lithe and nubile, to the ones younger than me, I appear to be “ageing gracefully”. However, the bottom line is that George Bernard Shaw was right.

Youth IS wasted on the young.

But then all this begs the question: Would I like to turn back the clock?

And I say, “HELL NO!”

Back to being a skinny, awkward, gormless teenager?

Back to being a misfit, terrible scientist in my 20s, when the average IQ of my peers was roughly a gazillion?

Back to being chronically fatigued mother of a small child in my 30s?

I Don’t Think So!

So here’s the Other Thing. I turn 50 today and although I have no seven step process to make sense of ageing, I don’t want to turn back time. Against all odds, I find myself feeling rather… grateful. Grateful for all the irrational fears, for they have propelled me through my life. Grateful for all the parts of me that work (and even those that don’t) for they remind me that EVERYTHING changes. Grateful for the crazy, colourful, creative tapestry of my life – the darks, the lights, the textures, the colours, for I’ve survived it all, I’ve made it, I’m here, I’m ok. And that is not to be taken lightly.

Oh my gosh. I sound like I’m actually ok with this 🙂

Comments 63

  1. I’m also quite OK with it!
    Shall we age gracefully (whatever that it is) together?
    As always a witty write and relaxed read.

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  2. I wasn’t wild about aging either til one of my closest friends found out she had secondaries from a long past breast cancer. She had four types of terminal. She was so sad not to face the prospect about moaning about getting old and wrinkly and crêpey skin that I would never dare complain about it (not near her at least). When we both turned 50 recently we were thrilled! She thought she would never get there and she did.

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      Yes, it is definitely something to be grateful for. Greg is living with Stage 4 kidney cancer and every day is precious, so all my whining is really ridiculous 🙂 I truly am grateful 🙂

  3. Enjoyed my 50th birthday – Loved my 60th, but my 70th (recently!!) was the best ever. If you don’t believe me I wll show you the photos sometime of all of us celebrating on Rottnest Island – dressed in RED!!
    Planning my 80th…………….

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      OH MY GOSH!!!! That is fantastic, what an inspiration! I would love to see those photos 🙂 For once I can truly believe ‘The Best is Yet to Come’ 🙂

      1. Malini, I turned 68 last month and I cannot imagine a better decade than the one I’m in. I surely look forward to our time together in Jervis Bay. I’t going to be a sweet time. xo

  4. I am now approaching 60 and my 50’s were the years that I felt most comfortable with myself, had more courage and dedication to do what I wanted to do and not what everyone thought I should do, it was a time when I become more tolerable of others, where there was no rush to achieve what would never be, but to do the best in whatever I undertook… and now going into my 60’s in a couple of months I can only see it getting better and better… enjoy, every day.. who cares if its 50, 60, 70, 80 or your 90’s… life is certainly what you make it.. and goodness you have certainly made it.. enjoy!!! xx

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      Susan, that is wonderful to hear. All this advice helps me to process and contextualise the whole ‘thing’ of ageing. We are fortunate indeed to live in this fabulous, peaceful country and to be alive, at all….And I can certainly look forward to being more comfortable and settled, as you have so beautifully described. Thank you for sharing!

  5. well little baby sister… 7 years younger than me… took away my title of “baby girl”….
    I got over that … sort of… (after lots of therapy 🙂
    I’m loving being an older and ‘wise’ person in the world ha, ha,… who would believe that? ( apparently wisdom comes with age:)
    I’m glad (you sound like )you are OK with this number attached to your age… ENJOY!!!
    and I wonder when you will be telling someone else that life is awesome 50+ and that you are loving it!!!
    …and 50 will be a young person… and you might be loving it and planning your 80th birthday in some exotic part of the world…
    sing away ,heart , sing… and laugh and shout and cry and enjoy the next half century or so
    and how does it get even better and happier and fuller than that?…and what else is possible?

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    1. I ignored my 50th birthday thinking “this can’t be happening to me when I only feel 28 inside”. It took a couple of years before I acknowledged that I was in the other side of the mountain sliding downing …into the grave.

      But then a kind of ephipany….”I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life” and “Wow, I feel strangely liberated from an unknown something, perhaps a clinging to life. It was time to do a few things that I alone wanted to do…it was ok to WANT to FLY and also OK to start FLYING. I am now approaching my 54 th birthday and loving this decade more than any other decade if my life, even though life is far from problem free – somehow one accepts them as the stimulus for getting up in the morning and CRANKING into GEAR (literally). That has to be a good thing!

      HAPPY 6th DECADE BIRTHDAY DEAREST MALINI!

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      Thank you, thank you! You’re the first that acknowledged to me that the lead up to 50 is hard, but it gets better ‘after’ 🙂 You make me feel like it’s all possible ! I’m certainly cranking (and cranky, a lot of the time!) but thinking of your giggle and radiance at nearly 54 makes me think ‘the best is yet to come’.

  6. Happy Birthday and thanks for a good read everytime. Im not sure life starts at fifty but it sure is fun, really life starts when you decide to embrace every minute of just being alive, one day at a time. I think you’ve been enjoying life long before turning 50, so just carry on…………

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      Thank you Julia! I totally agree! I’m so fortunate to have 3 older sisters who inspire me all the time, and an 86 year old mother who is just a delight. There’s hope 🙂 x Being grateful for everything is the key for me!

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      Well, Hooman, I’ll give you some tips about ‘the other side’ when you get there 🙂 Hey, you should start treating me with more respect, now that you know I’m older and wiser!! much love and thanks for stopping by my blog!

  7. Marlini all you have said is true. You made it!!!!!!!!!! But you made it with your sense of humour in tact
    and that is what will keep you feeling and looking younger than you are. Enjoy the day girl!
    My best wishes for a long and joyus life Bobbie xo

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      Hello Bobbie, thank you so much for your kind wishes and thoughts 🙂 Always good to hear from you! I hope you have a great year ahead with love and creativity abounding xx

  8. Dear Malini, A very Happy 5oth Birthday. I didn’t enjoy turning 30 at all. MY 40th Birthday was a hoot and I enjoyed it very much. So I am hoping that when I turn 50 in 2014 I will have a blast. Malini you look amazing for 50, try and enjoy every moment of fun and laughter, as I know you will.

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      Hi Elaine! Life is good 🙂 It’s just the concept of ageing that seems to be difficult for me at times! But I am so very grateful for all the blessings around that I have basically forgotten what I was whingeing about.!! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  9. Dear Malini, Happy Birthday. Welcome to the 5 series – that’s what it’s called in Malaysia. I’m enjoying life more than before, Enjoy yourself and keep on writing your lovely pieces (and drawing too).

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      Thank you Hooi Gnoh! I think life is good and I’m looking forward to it getting even better…no mattter what lies ahead 🙂 Thank you for your wishes and thanks for stopping by!

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  10. OK, I confess, I’m one of those irksome positive people who fist pumped on my 50th birthday! I think the one thing that comes as a reality check for me is when I realise how many presidents and prime ministers are younger than me! 🙂 Come to think of it, most of the people on earth are younger than me and, on my side of the family at least, I’m the matriarch, yep, the oldest surviving female. I used to look up to people like me – seek guidance and wisdom and even thought of them as role models. Now THAT scares me more than the wrinkles! 🙂

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      It’s so weird how people older than 50 are almost universally loving it, and those younger than are dreading it! I guess I should believe the older ones…and look forward to some wonderful, wise, wrinkly years ahead 🙂 Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  11. Hi Malini,

    Happy Birthday to you. What can I say?

    I am nearly 55 (in November), and yes the wrinkles are becoming more prominent, the weight has stacked on and, oh my! where did that double-chin appear from?

    sometimes look in the mirror and think I look like a sumo-wrestler! However, having said all that I remind myself daily of how far I have come in this wonderful journey called life and I would not turn the clock back if I could! As a transformational coach and healer, I have just written a spiritual self-help book which challenges peoples’ rigid and negative thinking and helps them find their higher purpose and live a fulfilling, joyful life with no regrets at the end. So, I cannot afford to sit in negative thoughts for too long!

    Long live life over 50 and the best is yet to come! You do not know what you are capable of until you try! Maria Parkinson

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  12. Hi Malini
    Congratulations on your 50th. So much more living to do sharing your gifts and friendship.My 50th was so long ago can hardly remember.Would I like to turn back the hands of time? only if I could have the good times and leave the tragic ones out ,but that is not life so live the best way we can,some are taken too soon a long life in nursing has taught me so much. Malini you started me off in art and gave me the confidence to give it a go.We are having a large art exhibition here in Morawa this week and I have put some paintings in,they may not come up to the standard of long time artists from all over wa,but they are mine and I find art a spiritual experience. So malini keep on being the beautiful person you are for many years to come
    kathy

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      KATHY! So lovely to hear from you! Oh, I am thrilled to hear you are exhibiting your work! You are such a heart-centred, gorgeous kind and lovely person and I am so touched to hear from you. You were one of my first students, you inspired me 🙂 Beautiful Kathy! thank you for stopping by my blog. Please stay in touch!

  13. Happy Birthday Mal,

    So you sneaked into our class. I thought we all turned 50 last year. I have never been so happy in our own skin till the last few years. It is not the age but rather the inner strength having gone through so much with so many wonderful people. I love hanging around the wise women “older” than me not because they make me feel younger ( sometimes i admit it is a bonus) but I can learn so much from them. I have so much zest now and I want to do so much ….i wish the wrinkles are a mirage and if they are not i wish they add more character to my face – smile!

    Judging from all the comments here, you are surrounded by such lovely wonderful people – congrats on turning 50 – join the club!

    Ps. we must meet again soon

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      Hi Jessie
      Yes, I skipped a grade in Primary School! So you were all older than me 🙂 Now I understand why you were all making such a fuss of turning 50 last year – it is a kind of a big deal! Glad you are enjoying life. Makes me feel it will all get even better from here!

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  14. Hi Mal, Congrats on the big 5-0!! Great read!!!
    Suddenly realised what a baby you are as I have 2 – repeat 2 – children older than you!! And they don’t look too bad.
    But YOU – you’re a dream to look at, to hear you and to watch as you teach that wonderful gift you have -art/talent! So glad you are a part of my life and hope there are more of the 00000s to come in the future.

    Much love

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      Oh Robin, you are a treasure 🙂 thank you so much for the thoughtful card dropped by today and the promise of a woolly wonder made by your loving hands 🙂 I’m so glad you’re in my life too! Bless your heart xxx

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      Hahahaha! Well, my child, you’ve made me laugh out loud and cry out loud today, what the hell, can I have a rest?! Thank you thank thank you for everything you’ve done for me for today and all the hard work and love and cake and love. I definitely organised your genes brilliantly.

      love
      Mum

      PS 50 is DEFINITELY better than 20. But you have heaps better hair.

  15. Great post! I guess it’s not very comforting to hear comments from someone younger than you? I have my own anxiety about turning 30 in a few years. Now that’s even less comforting I’m sure! But, I really like what you say about being happy not to go back to times past. I look forward to enriching my own tapestry. I’m a bit afraid of all the hurdles life will inevitably throw my way, but it’s good to hear from others that we gradually develop the patience and acceptance to deal with such things. Anyway, you do seem to be coping well, and I think given what you’ve already become, the future is very bright. I hope I am as accomplished and interesting as you by the time I’m fifty!

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      Hello Melissa
      It’s lovely to hear from anyone, even those waaaaay younger than me 🙂 You know I spent the eve of my 30th birthday crying! What a dufus! I felt I should have been more, accomplished more, I don’t know…I guess every decade has its own challenges, but the good thing about the one I’m now in, is that I get to look back. I never thought that would be a good thing – as I now have more years behind me than ahead of me – but looking back means I get to appreciate the tides of friendship, recall the ups and downs that sent me spinning at the time, but realise it ALLLLLL changes, and you get through it … and just feel happy to be alive and loved 🙂

      Thank you for your kind words xx

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  16. Happy 50th Birthday Malini. I just turned 50 in March and yes my body feels different. Softer in many ways, not just physically. But mostly stronger.I love this age. I think that we have spent 50 years in training to get to this time of our lives when we get to deepen and play more and master our art and share our gifts.It feels like it was Life before 50 and now it is Life after 50.Yippee! It is play time. We are finally conscious enough to know that we create every moment in our lives. We could have another 40 years to use all this experience we have to create and give back. I see so many adventures ahead for both of us. I reckon you are going turbo your way through the next cycle with joy, grace and the usual hiccups. I am really looking forward to seeing what you create. Happy Birthday Malini and welcome into the beginning of a wonderful new cycle.

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      Hello gorgeous, your perspective is so warm and reassuring and loving – as always 🙂 Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to share it. I think I’m already feeling some of what you describe, having whinged long and loud, I’ve come a full circle, and I’m overwhelmed by love and gratitude for all that’s been and a kind of calm, quiet anticipation for what’s ahead. It now doesn’t matter that there are more years behind me than ahead of me. I can look at them all with the certain knowledge that ‘Everything Changes’ and it’s all good. much love to you, dear Dawn xxx

  17. oh Malini… this was a great post. So honest. 🙂
    Based on your photo, i never thought you older than 35.
    But alas… you are but ONE year older than I am.
    We’re all in this together, girl. Happy Birthday! xox

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      Thank you Pauline! One of the great secrets of life is having a good photographer along your journey 🙂
      I’ve decided I’d rather be this age anyway! Thank you for stopping by and here’s to many more wonderful years ahead for ALL of us xx

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      Hi Alison! Thank you for your message, I had a wonderful birthday and can now relax about the ‘the other side’ 🙂 Yes, it’s all relative, isn’t it! Just glad to be alive, now 🙂

  18. Happy Birthday Malini! I loved your honest and funny prose about turning the big 5-0.
    If I am sharing my talents and encouraging others’ creativity in the special way that you do at 50, I will be a happy lady. Wishing you much joy and happiness. x

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      Hi Astrid, thank you so much for the wishes and kind comments! I have had so much joy and happiness so your wishes have already come true for me 🙂 x

  19. Happy birthday Malini,

    All tho I only attended the one class you have made me appreciate what I beleive I can do more fully.

    I turned 50 last year and YES it was a shock!!!!

    But then I thought if 50 is the new 40 then 40 must be the new 30, so it’s all good…

    So happy 30th birthday, you really only look to be in your 30’s anyway so you can swing it.

    Cathryn.

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      Aww Cathryn, that is so sweet of you 🙂 Yes, it is good, and now that the milestone is reached, I feel like I can ‘live’ it more fully 🙂 Thank you for stopping by and happy creating (in all things!) x

  20. Hi Mal

    Good to be one of three role model sisters who are ageing gracefully 🙂 I looked around at work the other day, and realised I was the oldest in my office! how on earth did that happen. But then I also realise that with age comes a little venerableness that I find rather quaint but pleasant. And I I love being able to say what I mean without fear or trepidation. So, apart from the aching knees, and the encroaching dementia, it ain’t too bad at all!!

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      Well my sister – first of all, CONGRATULATIONS on working out to leave a comment on my blog! Yay for you! And secondly, thank you for being such a wonderful role model of what it’s really like to age with grace and humour and seeming effortless-ness 🙂 So much more to say, but I’ll see you tomorrow :)xx

  21. Dearest Mal, I can’t believe the years have passed so quickly ! You were a kid when we last met ! In my mind and heart, you will always remain my dearest gorgeous young mate !
    Happy Belated birthday !! Hope that you ‘re beginning to embrace and enjoy it once the shockwaves have passed ! It can be tough especially if your body reminds you constantly of the changes…
    I am very proud and happy that you found yourself and your love/passion – live it, love it, Mal !
    Lots of love to Greg, Mary, mum and the rest of the brood !
    Love you always,
    Fifi
    P/s I apologise I am hopelessly hopeless with correspondence and emails !!

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      Lovely to hear from my old roomie 🙂 No, I wasn’t a kid when we last met, I believe I was a young mum, and so were you! And you left a lasting legacy of chicken pox in my household! But our years together in my teens also left a lasting legacy of friendship and love, old friend! I hope we meet again before we’re too old to enjoy it (or recognise each other 🙂 much love to you! xx

  22. Dearest Mal,
    To me, you did seem like a teenage mum with a toddler when we were at your home in Perth ! Sorry, we left a nssty virus behind – I am still amazed how we slipped thru aussie immigration!
    Any hope coming out to europe or ..haifa… Yes, we should meet before Alzheimer knocks me out!
    I am sure Switzerland and her panoramic Alps will spark off the artist in you and you enjoy the crisp mountain air ! Would be absolutely great if you cld come for some months …! Think sbout it !
    Lots of love, Fi

  23. Malini,
    Happy much belated 50th birthday! By now perhaps the shock has worn off a bit. When I hit 40 was when I struggled – for a few hours anyway. I recall looking in the mirror thinking, “Oh, God! I’m 40! How can I be 40?!” And, I swear, in my mind I heard God’s voice – only He sounded like an old Jewish rabbi – and His comment was, “So you’re 40…you’re gonna live for eternity…so what’s 40?!” I immediately thought, “Oh! right…” and haven’t felt like fretting about my age since.
    Of course, beginning bio-identical hormones, cleaning up my diet and finding the right combination of supplements for my struggle with depression have made the years much more satisfying all around! I, also, would not want to go back…to any past age and live it again. I’m painting now – for the past 3 years – what I was created to do. It can only get better from here on out!
    abundant blessings to you – your “flying” sister – Jody

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      Hello Jody
      Yes, I’ve definitely gotten over it, and I can relate to all the things you describe too 🙂 Looks like we have plenty in common! I barely think of my age anymore, and at the time (only a month ago!) turning 50 seemed a fairly Big Deal. Now I’m happy to be alive and very grateful for having ahd all this time with wonderful people and rich experiences.

      Thank you for stopping by along your ‘flight’ 🙂 xx

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