Just got here? Welcome to life after 50
When you think about it, you might as well ask ‘what does 21, 35 or 40 look like?’ Because whatever age we are, we don’t all look the same.
We don’t wake up the morning of our 50th birthdays, look in the mirror and find a grey-haired stranger staring back at us. We look exactly the same as we did the night before – in all our wonderful variety.
Breaking the stereotype
Men and women who are 50 today have seen a lot of changes since they were born, back in the 1960s.
Women have entered the workplace in huge numbers and it no longer causes outrage if they turn up in trousers. And while many still choose to stay at home or work part time when their children are young, husbands and partners are now expected to at least change a nappy or two - and to know one end of the Dyson from the other.
These factors (and many more) have changed expectations of what we can do, who we can be and, of course, what we should look like while we’re doing it. And thank goodness for that.
Getting our 50s groove on
At 50, many of us look back on our younger selves and wonder why we ever worried about how we looked: we were gorgeous – or at least in our prime; if only we had recognised it…
Good things come with this realisation. For example, we appreciate that we have made it this far – and many of us are more comfortable in our own skin now than we were at 21.
Plus there is such a wide variety of role models out there for men and for women, and they rarely involve beige, elasticated waistbands and comfy shoes.
Fabulous at 50 role models
People famous for looking good into and past their 50s include Helen Mirren, George Clooney, Elizabeth Hurley and Brad Pitt. But there’s more to being a good role model than rocking a good look…
Here are some examples:
Focussed at 50 – JK Rowling
Bravely talked about hitting rock bottom before bouncing back with Harry Potter.
Multi-honoured and multi-talented – an inspiration for us all.
Frisky at 50 – Chris Evans
An accomplished broadcaster who has kept his boyish enthusiasm as he’s aged.
Frankly indescribable at 50 – Helena Bonham-Carter CBE
BAFTA-winning actress and charity patron, who certainly carves her own niche in the style stakes.
Unconventional but well on her way to becoming a national treasure.
And let’s not forget Dame Helen Mirren, a sex symbol at 71.
Glad to be grey
Dare we say it, getting older can even be fashionable.
Take grey hair. For men, being ‘silver’ has long been considered distinguished. Now it’s gaining a cooler edge – from cheeky charmer Gary Lineker on prime time TV with his grey goatee to the runways of London, Paris and Milan, grey is everywhere.
For women, grey has become high fashion for some - and low maintenance for others.
Should you choose it, fight it or give in gracefully? It’s entirely up to you.
The best is yet to come
With people living longer than ever, 50-somethings are realising they still have many good years ahead of them.
We’re no longer prepared to put up with stale or failing marriages once our kids have flown the nest; online dating has opened up a world of opportunity - and many silver surfers are seizing it.
This, and the fact that we may be earning more than we ever have, could explain why the over fifties (and their fivers) are cropping up in unlikely places, such as nightclubs and festivals, as well as jetting off on a multitude of mini breaks.
And whether coupled up or single, we can choose to please ourselves while worrying less about what other people think – a refreshing change from our younger years.
Enjoy these golden years
In conclusion then, there’s nothing to fear in turning 50.
Women turning 50 don’t have to give up laughing, dancing or yoga for fear of springing a leak - and men don’t have to have a mid-life crisis, an affair with a younger woman or a buy a new Harley; they are stereotypes and we are not.
So don’t worry; it really is just a number. Welcome to life after 50 and the best years of your life.