I recently turned 50 and I’m starting to feel like my life is over. My husband passed away last year, I’ve been on my own, and it’s given me more time to reflect. Is there life after 50?
Old in Omaha
I just turned 11 human years on St. Patrick’s Day. Mom calls me an old lady. She says that I am 67 in “dog years,” but I still swim, fetch, and feel like a puppy myself. Dad says that he married mom when he was almost 50, so you are just getting started!
Mom told me a story about her grandma. She decided that, even though women did not typically get advanced degrees in her days, she wanted to get her Masters. So, when she was approaching 60 and already had a long career as a school music teacher, she finished her Masters. Why? Because she wanted to, and it made her happy. She also inspired a lot of younger women to do it, too. What makes you happy? How can you inspire others to be happy, too?
Mom tells a story in her book, Get Over It & Get Started, about how she had dreams but she felt she was not worthy. She had not given up, though, so even in her darkest hour, she still held on to those dreams. Instead of giving up, she worked her tail off. (It’s true — mom literally does not have a tail!) She has since published several books and travelled all over the world because of her speeches. Mom said to tell you that she is almost 50, too, and she did not even start college until she was 36.
I am so sorry about your husband, I understand how it is really hard to go on when someone you love goes away forever. I remember a couple of years ago when my kitty, Jr. Barnes, got sick and did not come home again. We all missed him very much. We still have pictures of him and talk about him a lot. We can never replace him, and we do not want to. It took a while, but now we use his memory as a way of feeling good, not bad.
My first dad disappeared after mom got hurt and we moved. I never saw him again, and it made me sad, but my dad, Jim, has been around much longer and he loves me as if he had been there all along. He sings me songs and takes me on car rides and gives me lots of treats. I am glad that both mom and I gave him a chance, because he has been awesome. We never would have met him at all if mom had not picked herself up and given other people a chance.
I have a book named, “Nose-to-Nose Networking.” Well, mom wrote it, but it has lots of pictures of me and stories about me. One of the things she talks about in her speeches and workshops is how to make friends and build networks. Mom has a lot of friends through Toastmasters and her improv group. Dad made a lot of friends through theater and the Eagles club. I make friends at the park by talking to anyone I meet and sometimes sharing my tennis balls with them. Maybe you just need to get out and play fetch once in while!
As a real old lady, I can tell you that there is a lot of life left for you! Each day, enjoy a swim in cold water, a roll in warm grass, and the people who love you. Go out and explore new places, and make sure you do what you love as much as you can.