On turning fifty

Have you noticed how conversations on aging, mortality and their peripheral existential conundrums elicit the most incongruous responses? In the last month, I’ve heard how age is just a number, how 50 is the new 30, how I now have the ‘wisdom’ I always wanted, how grey is the new black, how the time is now ripe to ‘pursue my passion’ and how growing old is liberating, especially for a woman! I hoped my reaction to such collective enthusiasm would be nuanced – ranging from an eye roll to a shrug – instead, of course, I found new variations between animated defence and argumentative disgust. Not quite in the ‘wisdom I always wanted’ category, clearly! Truth is, everyone marks a milestone in their own way. There’s always something to celebrate, much to ponder, perhaps to regret, even to silently fear. Some find equanimity and grace, some find wild abandon, some find courage, some find love, some walk away, some find excuses, some discover new challenges to overcome – some write poems.

the more I learn
the more I know
about things I will never know

I am writing a set of 10 poems on turning 50 that I will be ready to send out pretty soon. They won’t be posted on this blog but if you’d like me to send you a copy of the PDF, write to me at suspension.point@yahoo.com 

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48 thoughts on “On turning fifty

  1. I love that you are doing this, Rajani. I am approaching this mark myself with a range of internal responses. There is the wise old crone inside, who has always been there, who says, “finally, you’re catching up with me”, and there is the spry, young woman who catches glimpses of me in the mirror – my face, hair and body all radically altered by age, cancer treatment and forced menopause – and says, “that’s not me!” And on goes an animated discussion between substance and vanity. I am finding more and more to love about the wisdom of experience though. I can’t wait to read what your experience is like. I will send you a request for that PDF right away. Thank you for offering it.

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    1. I feel great respect for what you have experienced and overcome. Thank you for sending the email as well. I should have the poems out to you soon. The process of accepting age and mortality, at some level, has been interesting and has led to a lot of unexpected thoughts and realizations.

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  2. I’m not too far from that big 50 myself. LOL, my response is to indulge my inner child even more and become a peculiar old crone in training. Here’s to stripped socks and loud shirts!

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  3. That’s a great idea, to write poems on turning 50, Rajani – I would have liked to have read them back when I hit that age, quite some time ago now! I’d still like to read them – they might help me make sense of the past decade or so. I hope I found ‘equanimity and grace’; I’ve definitely overcome plenty of challenges and, as you know, wrote plenty of poems. I love the senryu – it sums up my life.

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    1. Thank you, Kim. I was inspired by something I read recently to write the poems. Do send me an email, so I can add you to my mailing list. Am not posting this set on my blog, just sending it to folks who’d like to read it!

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    1. That’s so interesting Bjorn, that you started writing poetry after 50! Am taking inspiration from that – maybe I’ll find something new as well. And do it as well as you write your lovely poems! Thanks so much!

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  4. Ah, 50 is indeed a milestone and one that different people experience in different ways. I really think that the 50’s were my favorite decade as a whole, but then I have also experienced much joy since. Like Bjorn, I did the majority of my poetry writing post-50. I had dabbled before, but discovered the blogosphere, and that made all of the difference in my enthusiasm and productivity. I bet most people you talk with will speak positively of the 50’s decade!! I would enjoy having a copy of your 10 poems.

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  5. I think it’s lovely that you re writing poems about turning 50 😊 especially resonate with: “Truth is, everyone marks a milestone in their own way. There’s always something to celebrate, much to ponder, perhaps to regret, even to silently fear.” ❤❤

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  6. Oh how touching. I am 69, i remember at age 50 i cut and locked my hair and let it grow locked, to 18 inches over a span of 13 years. Then cut off all of my locks.
    Yeah it was a celebration for me.
    Thanks for dropping by sumie Sunday, Rajani

    Much❤🕊❤love

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  7. No don’t cut your hair. Maybe get a few technicoloured streaks to scare your work colleagues. 🙂
    Happy Birthday. You are right in thinking life is a continuous learning process reaffirming that when you reach the end you wont know anything except about three things….I’m not spoling the surprise:)

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  8. Turning points are difficult, but not insurmountable. Ignore the conventional wisdom. Do what you must: Write poems! (I look forward to reading your musings on turning 50. I plan to share them with my daughter when she turns 50 in three years.)

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    1. Do send me your email id, so I can send it to you when it is ready. Leave it here or email me. Am delighted you would want to share it with your daughter. That made my day, truly! Thanks so much!

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  9. Every age I am feels like the best age to be to me, since I’m alive, since I can’t go back, since I can’t move forward at a faster speed… So, why fight the reality of living when we could spend our day doing what we can to enjoy it instead?

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    1. Oh I agree.. being in the present is the most rewarding approach for sure. And your positive attitude shines and inspires in all your writing. Lucky for me, I enjoy the deep rumination into life – the thinking and the writing- so I can wallow in it, totally guilt-free 🙂 🙂

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  10. I think it is nice that you are writing poetry for your 50th birthday. I have just kept on keeping on with my birthdays, each one different from the one in the now. I am 67 years young. Each year gets better.

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  11. This stirred up…well, mostly the silent fears that seem to be raging lately…but reminded me of the way curiosity helps. Love the way you laid this out.

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  12. You’ve hit just the right tone in the prose piece to keep your readers reading. And your senryu is perfect. It does not repeat the prose piece, while taking it just a little bit further. A thoughtful post and a pleasure to read.

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