This is 55

H & KI’ve been fifty-five for a little over a week now. Rounding this corner, finding myself squarely in the long-shadowed afternoon of my own life, has given me pause.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately gazing out the window in my kitchen, watching the sunlit leaves float from tree to ground.  The days, the hours, even the moments, feel ripe and full — time to be cherished rather than rushed through.

And so, on this autumn afternoon I shut my laptop.  For the first time in years, I pick up a pad of paper and a pen instead.  I grab a sweater and head outside to write.  Perhaps what I’m yearning for is a different kind of knowing – words that come from the still, silent place in my soul, a glimpse of my own depths, some intimation of my rightful place in the world now that I’ve crested the arc of life and begun my descent down the other side.

55.  How strange it feels to write that pair of fives, to associate them with me. Have I really been alive that long, half a century plus five?  And what exactly am I, now that I’m no longer technically middle-aged but not exactly old yet, either?

I turn to a fresh page, brush a stray leaf from my hair. 

This is 55. . .

Fifty-five is being aware there are fewer years left ahead of me than I’ve lived already.  It is understanding, in a way I couldn’t have at twenty-five or even forty-five, the bittersweet truth of impermanence. It is knowing that tomorrow isn’t a guarantee, that every plan is provisional, that life isn’t a promise.  Fifty-five is dreaming less of the future, dwelling less in the past, and learning (yes, still learning) to be here, in the now.

Fifty-five is realizing that being present is my choice to make, again and again and again – not always the easiest choice for me, but always the best.

Fifty-five is asking the same “What next?” question I was struggling with when I graduated from college.  It is knowing there are an infinite number of answers.  And that none of them are wrong.

Fifty-five is two sons in their twenties.  It is still-fresh memories of motherhood as it used to be: intensely physical, all consuming, endlessly challenging, viscerally satisfying.  And it is finding my way, day by day, into this new, arm’s-length role of mother to young adults. Fifty-five is holding on to faith in their best selves and letting go of fears for their well-being.  It is holding on to all I love in each of them and letting go of my need to have them under my roof.  It is holding on to a vision of their destinies and letting go of my ideas about how they should get there.

Fifty-five is not knowing where my children are, who they’re with, what they’re doing, what they ate for dinner, or what’s on their minds.  It is resisting most of my impulses to text or call. Fifty-five is learning to worry less and to trust more.

Fifty-five is pride and delight in the two young men who come home to visit us. It is laughter around the dinner table and help with the dishes and crowding together on the couch to watch The Daily Show.  It is honest, heartfelt conversations and easier partings. It is growing used to empty bedrooms. It is being in the home stretch of paying for college.

Fifty-five is being a couple again.  It is having the central task of our marriage – raising a family – completed.  It is re-invention, re-negotiation, and renewal.  It is a different kind of commitment.  Fifty-five is looking at my husband’s nearly sixty-five-year-old face and seeing, even now, the same face I fell in love with all those years ago as a girl of twenty-three.

Fifty-five is twenty-six years of marriage. It is routines and rituals, family traditions and jokes told a thousand times. Fifty-five is knowing my husband so well that his story has become my story.  It is a mountain of photographs, none of which are organized.  It is realizing I’ve lived more of my life alongside this man than I lived before I knew him.

Fifty-five is not sweating the small stuff (the ice cream scoop left on the counter, the toilet seat left up, his tendency to talk too loud) and being grateful for the big stuff (loyalty, forgiveness, humor, love).

Fifty-five is feeling the ten-year age difference between us in the slowing pace of our morning walks and not feeling it at all when his arms are around me. It is less about trying to change the man I married and more about loving him as he is for as long as I can. It is knowing the words “till death do us part” will one day come true.

Fifty-five is passion transformed into tenderness.  It is the end of “the quickie.”  It is love that’s long and slow and unguarded.  Fifty-five is less often but with more feeling.  Fifty-five is less self-conscious and more trusting.  It is less awkward but more exposed.  Fifty-five is still good.  Fifty-five, my husband says, is better than ever.

Fifty-five is discovering that my heart has no notion of time or propriety.  It is admitting that love can still surprise me.  Fifty-five is my pulse quickening at the touch of a hand; the blood rushing to my cheeks at the sight of a smile; a funny flip-flop in the pit of my stomach at a sentence in a novel that puts into words everything I never dared say out loud.  Fifty-five is invisible when I’m walking down the street.  Inside, fifty-five is as chaotic and as confusing as fifteen.

Fifty-five is tears and laughter every day; sometimes, it’s both at once.  It is joy and sorrow intertwined.  It is shadow and light. It is admitting I’ve learned as much from my losses and failures as from the gifts that have been laid at my feet.

Fifty-five is going to bed in pajamas and fleece and socks.  It is being stark naked at 3 a.m.  It is my husband knowing better than to mistake this for an invitation.  Fifty-five is hot flashes and night sweats and Swiss cheese for a brain.  It is bedclothes off and on and off again. It is sleepless nights and staring at the ceiling and Tylenol PM and earplugs.  Fifty-five is getting by on fewer hours of sleep than I ever thought possible.  Fifty-five is standing outside in the wet grass, watching the sun come up.  Fifty-five is being astonished, still, by the resurrection of morning.

Fifty-five is jeans that stretch, bras that lift, shirts that cover, and shoes that don’t pinch.  It is knowing I’m too old for the Gap and not rich enough for Eileen Fisher. It is throwing the Victoria’s Secret catalog in the trash on my way back from the mailbox.  It is one pair of good black boots.

Fifty-five is making peace with my habits: a cup of dark roast coffee every morning laced with half and half, a glass of wine with dinner.  It is saying yes to champagne and no to mixed drinks. It is cooking meat for my family without ever being tempted to eat it myself. It is drinking extra glasses of water, taking “Wiser Woman” vitamins, skipping dessert more often than not.

Fifty-five is standing in front of the mirror and drawing the sagging skin of my neck up and back.  It is glimpsing the possibility of looking a decade younger. It is considering getting a little “work” done.  It is turning away from the face that looks too old to be mine and getting on with the day.

Fifty-five is accepting there are some things I used to do that I may never do again: downhill skiing, rollerblading, galloping across a beach on a horse, hot yoga.  It is realizing how much I long to do some other things before it’s too late:  sleep outside under the stars, swim naked in the dark, sit by a campfire, hike the White Mountains, visit my best friend from college in Santa Fe, wear a cocktail dress and heels, take a trip with my mom.

Fifty-five is knowing that some of my secret, youthful fantasies aren’t ever going to come true: living in a cabin by a lake, spending a month in Paris, learning French, writing a best-seller. Fifty-five is realizing I’ve outgrown those fantasies anyway.

Fifty-five is talking less and listening more. It is choosing less screen time and more real time. It is saying “no” to things I don’t want to do. It is craving solitude. At the same time, it is a willingness to be more open, more intimate, more vulnerable with the small handful of people to whom I’ve entrusted my soul .  Fifty-five is knowing what makes me happy: time alone, time in nature, time with dear friends, time with my family, time with a book.

Fifty-five is reading glasses and wrinkle creams and concealer for the dark circles under my eyes.  It is a root canal.  It is a basal cell removed and a new, worrisome place on my forehead.  It is a groin pull.  It is a stomach growing softer and shoulders growing rounder.  It is a pair of tweezers kept in the glove compartment for plucking the stray black hair that sprouts from my chin, which I discover (always) while sitting at an intersection waiting for the light to change.

Fifty-five is also twenty-six miles walked with friends to raise money for cancer research.  It is a three-minute plank pose.  It is breathing deeply in headstand.  It is running just for the fun of it.  It is two strong legs and a strong will and an undiminished sense of adventure.  Fifty-five is still going strong.

Fifty-five is knowing what it is to lose a friend.  It is being there right till the end.  It is death growing more familiar and hitting closer to home.  It is grieving with a mother who’s just lost her son, a boy I’ve known since the day he was born.  It is an email bearing news of a diagnosis.  It is a loved one calling from the hospital.  It is a new understanding of the word “random.” It is learning that finding meaning where there appears to be no meaning is part of our spiritual work.

Fifty-five is two parents just shy of eighty.  It is the joy of still allowing them to parent me.  It is knowing that one day I will be there to care for them.  It is a whispered “thank you” for every family gathering, for my dad’s grilled turkey on Thanksgiving, for my mom’s handmade cards, for their voices on the other end of the phone.  For all that was and all that still is and all that someday will be no more.

Fifty-five is finding my sense of purpose in unexpected places.  It is teaching yoga after years of thinking I could never be a yoga teacher.  It is writing for the joy of writing rather than to be recognized as a writer.  It is sitting on the floor, feeding our old dog by hand. It is helping my son hang a shower curtain in his new apartment.  It is proofreading another’s son’s job application and not changing a word.

Fifty-five is sitting quietly with someone in pain and it is celebrating another’s joy as if it were my own.  It is driving a neighbor to the doctor, making dinner for the millionth time, answering a letter from a reader, cutting sunflowers and putting them in a vase.  It is holding hands with my dearest friend, heart brimming.

Fifty-five is ordinary.  It is the relief of not being exceptional.  It is recognizing what is precious and beautiful in someone else. It is choosing not to live in drama but in harmony. It is less ambition and more appreciation.  It is gratitude for things as they are rather than grasping for something just out of reach.  It is seeing the futility of comparing and judging and craving.  It is a deepening sense of compassion. It is gratitude. It is plain and simple.  It is less clutter.  Fewer words.  More love.

Fifty-five is learning to approach each day as a blessing, each word as a benediction, daily life as my practice. It is being open to what comes, offering prayers of hope and healing for the universe, trusting there are forces at work here that are larger than I am.

Fifty-five is the joy of waking up each day and taking part in this great, ongoing human conversation. It is mystery.

How old are you, and what does your age mean to you?  I’d love to know!

(With thanks to Lindsey Mead whose post This is 38 inspired me to gather up these thoughts.)

for my reflections & inspiration

your comments

  1. Thank you so much for the beautiful words above. I’m not 55, I’m 48 but I am starting to feel the same things you mentioned above. My husband and I growing closer each day, his story becoming my story and feeling gratefulness for the love and acceptance we have of one another. I also feel my son’s independence clutching at my heart, but ready to fly and I need to welcome their leaving. Their leaving of home, of their childhood, of thier sports games, and of their need of me, their mom. Well…I could go on and on, but to me, 48 means new opportunities to grow in relationships with your family, friends, and co-workers in a deeper, wiser way.

  2. Vanessa Angela Jowell says:

    At 41, I am the mother of three boys, married for 20 years to my high school sweetheart who I met when I was a freshman as my oldest son is right now! Although I havent quite reached this stage of life yet, I can imagine it through your eyes. I smiled, laughed, sniffled, and cried along to your words. I have read Mitten Strings and Gift of an Ordinary Day both of which relected me to the core! I feel that you are an outstanding writer, a “best selling ” writer in my book! Thank you for continuing to write about your life journey giving hope and inspiration and understanding to me and many other “forever” mothers, wives, and friends.

  3. Carol Brown says:

    You are writing about 65. Only now it’s sharing every day with a 95 year old mother who thinks a God has forgotten her; the most amazing grandchildren anyone could dream; sons in their 40s that I still pray for every morning and night and, after being married 45 years, not really remembering much about another life. In the blink of an eye, time is flying. My Mom says the days are long – for me, there is not enough time. I “retired” from my second career to care for my Grandkids and Mom two years ago. Only, it feels like last month. My husband asks me “when will you have time for yourself, when can we travel, . . .” I don’t have an answer for him. My life is my family, everything I didn’t do all the years I was being successful. What was that about? Now I wake up every morning, take a moment to stretch and thank God for all his blessings. 55, 65, 75 – really only a number, if we’re lucky. Dust, fingerprints on mirrors and windows, things my boys are taken back with, are not important any more. Hugs and kisses, special breakfasts,
    lunches, dinners, swings, soccer games, a 5 year old proud of his new site word, a 7 year old reading you her new favorite book, 11year old twins finding their own interests and yet being allowed to share in their connection, my Mom’s memories over and over, this is my life and I am so grateful for it.

  4. thanks so much for this, the sharing, of this new world we now belong, it is filled with rewards, and, stark realities, I am a few years ahead of you, but, still trying to learn this new language of, dark spots, grey hair, night sweats, and, a deep feeling of contentment, with the simplest of things. Hold on tight, it is going to be a great ride!!! Love your writing, books, you are totally on track!!!

  5. Shawn Trotter says:

    58 and loving every minute of it. Living my dream at our house on the lake. Grateful for my family, friends and good health. Dealing with a Mom who is 83 and has dementia. Having my Mom and her 85 year old sister come and stay for 5 days. Having my oldest daughter turn 30 in a few weeks and remembering that milestone for myself ( seemingly not so long ago!). Happy for my two daughters in their lives as they get started in their careers. And mostly grateful for a husband who still thinks I am the best thing that ever happened to him after 36 years.

  6. Just turned 64 today and so glad I found your post. Thank you.

  7. Thank you again, Katrina, for putting into words what so many others feel and know. Your words ring so true. At 56, with two 20-something sons, a 14-year-old dog, and a 27-year-old marriage, I can bear witness to all you say. Yes, the confusion of feeling 15 again. Yes, the gift of having parents and older relatives with you, even as you know they will leave you. Yes, the tenderness of a marriage that has built a history. Yes, the faith in what will come rather than a new tool to keep you better organized. Happy Birthday, Katrina, and may you have many, many more!

  8. Oh, how I love this, Katrina! Thank you for so beautifully evoking right now, this moment, and I hope you know how strongly your love for everything that IS shines off the page. These are my favorite lines:
    “Fifty-five is tears and laughter every day; sometimes, it’s both at once. It is joy and sorrow intertwined. It is shadow and light, and admitting that I’ve learned as much from my losses and failures as from the gifts that have been laid at my feet.”

  9. I always enjoy reading your insightful reflections and insights. So much of the time you are putting to paper my thoughts and feelings, and I find myself searching for answers and wisdom in your narratives. Thank you for sharing your writing.

  10. I am 45 and most days wish it would simply go faster. I want to be out of the teenage stage and into the mid twenty stage on kids. I think the worrying will be over. I am thinking this isn’t true anymore. ALL I DO IS WORRY and feel constantly sick with the what ifs….Most days I am so annoyed at people I could scream, days I am not miserable are short lived….To me 55 will be a gift b/c I feel so much worry an anxiety will be behind me….but no doubt it will be replaced with anxiety over parents/friends etc. Lovely post!

    • Feel exactly the same way, Melissa, so stressed, so much worry, second-guessing, guilt…I look forward to being older and having independent kids.

      • Thanks Donna. Glad I am not the only one. I feel so guilty when people tell me “enjoy these years they will be over in a blink of an eye”. My daughter is just in that stage of some days are great, some are terrible and just so hard to read what the next day will be like. I second guess all decisions I make and worry I have created an indecisive unconfident child….:(

      • Thanks Donna. Glad I am not the only one. I feel so guilty when people tell me “enjoy these years they will be over in a blink of an eye”. My daughter is just in that stage of some days are great, some are terrible and just so hard to read what the next day will be like. I second guess all decisions I make and worry I have created an indecisive unconfident child….:(

    • I am 58 and lived through hell with one teenage son. The other two were a breeze. You will reap the rewards when they get to mid 20s. They are all a joy now and it is so much easier not to worry about their day to day choices. Just hang in there. I don’t know your situation but I wish I had loosened the grip on the first born a little. There were things I couldn’t control and perhaps he fought us harder because I tried to control too much. Keep praying and hang in there.

      • Thanks Sandy. I am so guilty of not loosening the grip. I just try and some days are great and some days are horrible. I read an interesting article where nowadays with women having children later, women are entering menopause the same time their girls are going thru hormone changes etc. and makes for an ugly mix!

  11. Cynthia Cochran-Carney says:

    Thank you for your powerful and moving words about this chapter in your life. I am also the mother of 2 sons, college freshman and high school freshman. I miss my “little boys,” but at 52, I too am grateful for all this season of my life brings. As a pastor and writer, I too unpack my ordinary days to see all the ways God’s is present.

  12. 🙂 just what I needed to read this morning as I was sipping my coffee, kissed my daughter goodbye…realizing I am only going to see her on Friday and felt a little sad.

  13. Alexia masson says:

    🙂 just what I needed this morning. Thank you

  14. ” Fiffy five is changing passion into tenderness…” That line stuck with me, maybe because I still see such passion in you. It’s a quiet passion, lot a loud conquer-the-world kind of passion, but a light that radiates just for you. Inside of you.

    I will turn 45 in February and the reality that all of the dreams I had when I was young may not come true is hitting me hard. I am bookmarking this piece for when I wrestle with myself about this.

    You are gorgeous. Inside and out.

  15. 55 could aptly be renamed “This Is OVER 55”. You covered all the bases perfectly.

  16. Katrina, this brought tears to my eyes at multiple parts. This year, my 35th, has been one of the worst of my life, a hard, hard year that seems to keep offering more hard things. I take solace is knowing that this won’t last forever, and I suspect that when I come out the other side –whenever that may be –that I will appreciate ordinary, plain, normal, blessedly boring day-to-day life like never before.

  17. Katherine Stevenson says:

    Oh Katrina. I so LOVE your postings. Such rich insights and skill. I am often nodding my head in agreement wishing I had the talent to write things so beautifully.

    I am 62 and fully relate to everything you noted. Lately, when I wake I find myself thinking out loud, “Great, I am still here. Lets make this a great day!”

  18. Katrina, I love reading your blog and appreciate your words and honesty. I am 47 and still have a couple more years with the kids. I have started to wonder what’s next for me after they leave. I only work at my current job so I’ll have the same hours and vacations as my kids do. I live in a town because of it’s great school system. When the kids go off to college I want to make many changes but am unsure of what I want to do and where to live. I hope when the time comes I’ll find work that I can be excited and passionate about and find my dream house next to a lake. Exciting but scary!

  19. Dale Marino says:

    Passed 55, heading to 60, ~ felt & enjoyed every point you made. But how do you reconcile enjoying life and living in the moment to the PAIN of love? Once you finally realize the precious gifts all around you, ~ you also realize how fragile, random, and impermanent it all is. And at our ages, how short! Having lost both my parents this year, and my husband’s forced retirement, everything I thought I knew shifted. That window of time, where things go along smoothly, predictably; your children in your life, your husband, your parents alive….suddenly seems so short, and the closing of that window, so sad. Thank you for yet another meaningful post, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    • I too am adjusting to husband in retirement he is 59 and I am 58. This is only week 2 so don’t know how it is going to go but it is an adjustment. I want to enjoy these years just need to get into a new routine. Let me know if you have found your way.

  20. I turned 44 last week. I tried not to think about it. But early morning of my birthday, while I brushed my teeth and gazed in the mirror, I realized – I have lived “most of my life” ie the better half, or maybe more than half my life… Funnily enough, I didn’t get depressed – even though it is a scary thought!. Instead, I just decided I don’t have time to waste doing things I don’t want to do – which made me feel more free…and happy.
    Love the way you write, and your book “The Gift of an Ordinary Day” is beautiful and an inspiration.

  21. Dear Katrina,

    How well I remember 55 with my almost-new masters degree in social work. The years sped by, and now I am 79 with a BIG bad birthday threatening my future. My five children are all in their 50’s; Grandchildren in late teens and assorted 20’s. And my dear, sweet partner of 59 years , having survived prostate cancer, now resides in an assisted living facility , at the age of 91. He has Alzheimer’s Disease, but he still remembers me, although not my name. We spend an hour together every day. Some days I shave him; other days, we just hold hands. No need to feel sorry for us. We are happy to have had one another this long. I reminisce out loud, and he pretends to understand. That’s what love is……being together and sharing a life.

    • Anne, what a lovely post. It is so important to share thoughts at all ages. I so value hearing what I have to look forward to, and where I came from. Katrina’s blog has a way of getting us thinking with greater perspective, doesn’t it?

      You are both blessed with a long life together. Your caring shows through loud and clear here, as well as your wisdom at embracing what life gives you at any time in life.

      • Anne, I love your positive attitude of your current stage of life with your husband! What a beautiful sentiment of your time together now! I wish you many more blessed years on your journey through life!

    • Anne, I am 47 and thinking of getting my masters but fear I am too old and won’t be able to change careers at my age. It inspires me to see you got your degree age 55. Did you have any trouble finding work?

  22. Happy Birthday, Katrina!! I will be 55 on my next birthday and am experiencing many of the same things in my life. Reading your words reassures me that I am not alone in my experience. I loved what you said about fifty-five being as chaotic and confusing as fifteen because it honestly feels that way some days. I expected to have life figured out and under control by the time I was 50. Wow, was I mistaken! Thank you for sharing your beautiful writing with us.

  23. 49. Gut-wrenching fear at turning FIFTY next September. Turning 40 was very hard, though I was quite happily married then. Now divorced – 17 yr old daughter, 13 year old son. Divorced and turning 50 next year equate to primal fear. Though I am so blessed, it’s still so scary.

  24. Holly Rigby says:

    Hi Katrina,
    Well, I am 66. Eeeek, am I the winner/loser? Everything you said so eloquently is true in spades for me. Happy Birthday to you and you are still a baby! I think aging gets better in someways. I trust my instincts more, I trust my daughters’ life choices more, so I worry a little less, The hot flashes are finally over, In January, we got the grandchild I have ached for and she’s perfect. Married for 44 years, I always say we have had at least 6 different marriages in that time. I am still working. I get to live in that camp on the NH lake in the summer. We are still on the fair side of healthy. As my husband and I drove to the movies yesterday, I saw one of those flashing highway signs ” Missing elderly” I fear that…and worry the woman is my age! I miss my parents with less pain. I watch Last Tango in Halifax on PBS…it is fortifying, makes you feel young. I try to have one belly laugh a day, kiss my dog and my husband…sometimes in that order, and realize that 10 years ago, when I felt so old…will be the same way I will feel 10 years from now, God willing, and wonder why did I feel so old now? I think the people in Grover’s Corners knew it best, as you know. It is hard to just live in the moment, isn’t it?

  25. This has made me cry. As I grow older, I know there is no certainty how long or how much time is left. Thank you for letting me see once again the preciousness of TIME.

  26. Absolutely loved it. I’m headed for 53 and one of the reasons I love reading your words so much is that they always fit where I am and what I’m feeling at my age. The pajamas, fleece, and socks to naked was laugh out loud funny…right there, every night. I’m beginning to think the secret is to start out naked and just whip on and off the bed covers…it’s much easier and quicker than peeling off clothes in the middle of the night!

  27. Wonderful post. So insightful. I am 48 with a 24 year marriage, 3 teens and a 10 year old. Daydream about being 56, having all my kids out of high school, getting close to finished paying tuition, which is so incredibly difficult. Wishing for more time for myself, my marriage. Your words are beautiful.

  28. Thank You, for this beautiful post. Thank You, for your honesty. Thank you, for sharing your thoughts and reminding me about EVERYTHING that is important in life.

    I am 36 going on 37 and time is moving fast for me these days, two little boys and an amazing husband fill my heart and mind with JOY.

  29. 58 and feeling like there isn’t any purpose in my life. I regret some of things I thought were important as the kids were growing up. Enjoying two grandchildren but not close enough to be in their lives daily. Perhaps we should sell this house, buy a vacation home and become nomads spending weeks at a time near those grandchildren. Life is no more certain today than 10 years ago. Maybe less because we have all the options open to us but can’t seem to choose a direction for this stage.

    • Oh geez Sandy you might as well co sign my name on this post…I see myself feeling that way in the future. One thing I promise myself to do is quit looking in the rear view mirror….So hard not to do. Instead of being able to learn from mistakes I dwell and I dwell and ponder what would have happened if only….Whatever decision you are pondering, go for it….Living with a WHAT IF constandly over my head is driving me to the brink.

  30. I, too, appreciated what you wrote in recognition of your new age. I’m 48, happily newly single, mom to three teenage boys and plotting a return to my previous career. Most of the time, I feel like myself, optimistic and energetic. However, when I look in the mirror lately, I notice mostly that, even though I might look good, I no longer look young. There’s a different me there. I’ve been wondering about age and how we reconcile our exterior and interior. I feel that I need age mentors and what you posted today showed me some of what to expect.

  31. I am 42 with a 20 year old son who lives on his own. His father and my best friend died 18 months ago. Not what I imagined my life would be like at this stage but then when is life as we imagined. I loved reading what you wrote about being a parent now to your sons. I never imagined it would be so hard to be his mom after all of the work of his youth. That seems so easy now. I know the loss of his father plays a huge factor in the difficult transition. It is so much letting go and so much fear. It is getting so much easier as the time passes yet I see how angry he is and how much this effects him. Even with the huge loss I love getting older and I know it is only going to get better. I can say because of his death I am so keenly aware of how important the present moment is. I get what you are saying there. Thanks for a great article.

  32. Happy Birthday Katrina! This summer i celebrated 55 years of life, 30 years of love and marriage with a strong loving man and 3 independent children, our first grandchild is on the way (due in Dec); and over 30 years with the same company!! My journey in to the second half of life has just begun! I just announced my retirement this week! My husband and I bought 9 acres of land and began building a self sufficient farm! My husband is the GC and doing a lot of work himself….I will help him when he gets to the stone and interior work! Today I drove home listening to the doom and gloom of our dysfunctional govt and threat of recession and worked myself into a real tizzy, wondering if I was doing the right thing…..After a walk with my chocolate lab….I concluded….Yes I can’t wait for phase 2 to begin! At 55 is feeling achy in the morning when I wake up and not sure if it is Lyme disease or old age!

    • 55 is also accidentally pushing the wrong button and posting a comment before I was finished! Thank you for stories, that made me laugh and cry and relate! Thank you for the inspiration and finding out that I was not crazy or alone in what I was thinking. There are lots of people who had similar feelings and thoughts in high school, college, as a young mom, middle aged mom, and a soon to be grandmother! We are not alone….we just need to be present, and open to what is yet to discover! I can’t wait!

  33. Katrina,
    55 looks beautiful on you! I love this post and your honest, touching insight so much. On Friday I turn 34 and am totally in the thick of it (egads! parenting two small boys!). As usual, your writing brings me to a place of gratitude and contemplation and joy. Sending you huge birthday hugs, and only one edit I would make to your piece: you are certainly not ordinary to me–you are every bit exceptional, and a true gift to your readers! xo!

  34. I am 38. I met you at lil omm in Washington DC, so now I can “see” you when you write.

    i loved this, for many many reasons. Many of which I cannot fully appreciate yet, because I am in the thick of it. A 9, 6, and 3 year old. A puppy. A new business helping parents. It can all feel exciting and intimidating.

    This piece reminded me to stay in it…stay in THIS life, the now. The here.

    And to stop hating my body.

    I have a good, round, strong body.

    Thanks for this…

  35. What a beautiful expression of loving life! I am 51 and am experiencing many of the same issues. Two children in their 20’s and living independent lives. My youngest is still in college. I lost my husband 8 years ago but have since remarried. Single parenting grieving teenagers and dealing with my own grief was difficult. I also lost close friends to cancer. It makes you realize pretty quickly how fragile life really is. When friends complain of upcoming birthdays I remind them it is a privilege to grow old. I am enjoying the empty nest and trying to figure out what to do in my next chapter of my life. We have lost both sets of parents and a sibling so we try to enjoy life to its fullest each and every day. I am loving life at 51…soaking up all it has to offer me! I enjoy my young adult children so much now. They have grown into wonderful young people. My hubby and I enjoy yoga, tennis and walking together and are exploring other possibilities/activities that retirement will bring in the next few years, I so enjoy your writing….keep up the good work! It keeps me grounded!

  36. Katrina: Your post was beautiful as always. In answer to your question, I just turned 66, have 8 children ranging from 43 to 28, 22 grandchildren and an incredible husband of 44 years. At 54 I returned to a local community college as my husband sweetly said, “It’s your time, babe.” At 66 I’m in Wales doing a doctorate, living part of my days on Skype, travelling back and forth between the US and the UK, planning trips to see the places I’ve always wanted to, emailing, writing, texting, and enjoying Facebook with my family. I’ve become an editor on American Athenaeum, can now find my name on Amazon, and just finished the first draft of my first full length novel. 40 was liberating but at 66 anything is possible. ‘ I never dreamed’ has turned into ‘Do I dare?’ and now it is ‘I’m so glad I’m doing it.’ I always told my children I wouldn’t be middle-aged until I hit 60. Now I tell them they won’t know when middle age hit till I die and they divide by two. My thought is that youth is a span of years, middle-age is a span of years, and old-age is a span of years. Death is an event. Enjoy your span, Katrina, and remember that anything is possible. Grandma Moses was 100 and going strong.

    • You are such an inspiration! Just as I think there really isn’t any point to what I’m doing I read your entry and say” then find something to do even if there really isn’t any purpose in it.” I am always planning a trip, texting and enjoying Facebook so I will embrace that that is doing something. I am going to find a class I can take on-line because I don’t want to be tied down to brick and mortar when I have trips to take and grandkids to see. Maybe I’ll take a photography class or a meditation class. 🙂 It won’t be getting a doctorate but YAY for you!

      • Thanks, Sandy, for the vote of confidence. Take that class. Explore new options. Do a photography excursion with a grandchild. Enjoy every minute of your life and leave happy memories behind. Best to you.

    • Grace Sapienza says:

      I am inspired!! Enjoy!

    • wow! Jan you made me feel better about being 66 this morning! I’m temporarily lost but, as experience has shown me, will eventually find my way back to the path. I have three adult children…all fine people…all with serious illnesses. I ask why. But I already know the answer. That’s another benefit of being 66. My husband of 42 yrs died suddenly almost three years ago. That was a blindsiding event. I just remarried a semi retired physician who had lost his wife. We took all the kids on both sides and the two grandkids to the Basque country at the foot of the Pyrenees mountains on the border between Spain and France overlooking the sea and married in a small ceremony on a hillside. It was time for a little joy for so many who had lost so much with the loss of their spouses and parents. Sometimes I go to the U for something that interests me. Often I am busy keeping after stuff on my farm. Anything is possible….both good and bad. It’s just what a full life looks like. Life gets messier at times like where I am now. But, gratitude. Oh brother do I have gratitude. Keep going for it sister….you made my day better by your comments.

  37. Mary Ellen says:

    Turning 55 in 10 days. Double nickels. What a journey it has been and it still continues to be. Newly married 4 months ago, first grandchild 5 months old. I was the Grandma bride and I loved it. So proud of my three children now 23, 25 and 27. So many blessings, so much to overcome and yet each day comes and we continue on the journey. Thank you God for bringing me to 55. Loved your post xxxxx


  38. Once again the words from Katrina’s blog are perfectly synced. Yes, I’m 54, have one daughter on her own, forging the quarter-life story 9 hrs. away, but the parallels are certainly there. You say what’s in our hearts so well. Your comments are worth reading as well, unlike most other posts I read! Thank you to all who also write and share stories! You all lift all our hearts to get up, keep going, and make today a great day, even if it’s an “Ordinary” day– we’ll take it and embrace it! Bless you circle of friends we’ll never meet.

  39. Thank you, love waking up and reading your words, such a wonderful way to start the day. I am 51, have two sons 27 and 24 and have been married for 28 years. Life is good, not always simple or easy, but good! I have so much to be thankful for and comfortable with myself. Such a great place to be. Took a while to get here, but so glad I am here and look forward to whatever time I have left being me!

  40. I’m 56 and frustrated, sad, terrified. Unable lately to embrace what I have and instead mourn what I’ve lost or never will have. The youngest child of 6, 3 of whom are now gone, the oldest of which is 70. What happened? I mourn the marriage that isn’t what I hoped it would be, mourn the loss of the woman I thought I would become, mourn how life has robbed me of the life I thought I would have. I am tired, so painfully tired, of raising 3 children (the last of which I bore at age 47) all who have disorders of some sort or another, wondering when I will ever get a break. I yearn for release. I yearn for freedom.

  41. Thank you for your beautiful words and for recreating my experience of life at 56!!

  42. Lauren Carpenter says:

    This is a perfectly said about 55…I’m just two years behind you, but it all rings true. It gave me a LOL on the VS vs black boots…SO true! Love this and will be sharing…!

  43. I’m 44, some of what you wrote applies to me too and offered me glimpses of what is to come. Yes, it takes practice living in the moment. Thank you for the tears and the smiles! So beautiful! Keep on writing.

  44. Joy, Thank you so much for responding to my post. Your name suits you well. Life goes on…………..With love, Anne

  45. Katrina, that part about reading a line in a novel and that “funny flip-flop” you get in your stomach, that’s what your words do to me. Just gorgeous.

  46. As so many others have said, this is beautiful. I’m winding down my 42nd year, and it has been brutally hard. I’ve questioned if it’s truly all downhill from here. You give me hope, friend.

  47. I am 52 and my husband is also 10 years older. You spoke for everything for me only my parents are much older and one is already gone, and I’ve already lived in that cabin (okay, a large one) and now crave to be back in some civilization. It is still, all about change. Thank you so much for putting these feelings so many of us share at this time, into words.

  48. Thank you for a beautiful post.

    I’m now 76, and will need time, to even try to compose what “Being 76” is, to and for me.

    Gentle hugs,

  49. Happy Birthday! I feel as if I know you very well, maybe better then some of my friends. Your honesty touches my heart, makes me smile and cry, and reminds me to be grateful for the blessing of my life.
    I just turned 57 last week. We have a couple major differences in our lives, you and I, in that I never had children and my parents have already died. With those exceptions I have to say, I could have written what you wrote, if only I had the talent.
    Let me say, take that trip with your Mother. Do it now. Don’t worry about where the money will come from or if you have the time. Please, just do it.

    For me 57 is learning to look at myself from a different perspective. I’m learning to be happy with my body for what it can do instead of what it can’t. I’m learning to accept the usual invisibility. So maybe heads don’t turn as I walk by, thank God I can still walk by. I can still enjoy the thrill of riding my bicycle, the fun of coasting down a hill after working hard to peddle up it. Heck, maybe that’s where my life is now, I’ve been peddling up hill for so long, I get to enjoy the ride now.

    Thank you for this very timely post.

    Cindy P

  50. I’m 65 and how I wish I could go back those ten years to be 55 again. I look at my life now and realise how little I’ve appreciated the years that have already gone.

    I look at my husband, now 72, and long for those days that have gone by when he still had good mental health. I long for those days when he’d put his arms around me and tell me he loved me. Now I put my arms around him and tell him I love him but there isn’t a response, his mind and medications no longer let him feel emotion.

    I miss so much the closeness of being with him, the shared closeness, not this time now where I try to glean some comfort from being close to him but there’s nothing there. I miss being hugged, how I miss that.

    For all you who read this appreciate every moment you have with your loved one.

  51. Katrina, this is so beautiful. I will be 42 in a few weeks. I lost my mother a year ago, far too soon. Much of what you say is 55, feels true to me now at 42. Loss has a way of deepening us, if we let it, and bringing true priorities into focus.

  52. Jennifer Lennon says:

    Thank you for sharing this Katrina.. The beauty of your words is that they connect so many of us in so many ways.. I am 44 and the divorced mother of two. Sometimes I feel my age, most the time I ignore it. I have been learning to accept it though. Especially now that my boyfriends children are having babies and he is a grandpa which means I get to enjoy being a sort of grandma.. That’s the best. Little ones to love because mine are big. Someday, not to soon, my own sons will be fathers and I so look forward to that!

  53. Thank you for that post. I am soon turning 46 years and I recognized so much of what you wrote in my own life, three kids (one about to leave home with 19 years, a 14 year old and a 7 year old), a marriage of 24 years, my mother recently passed away, menopause already sending out messages. The feeling of sadness for what was my life as a mom of small kids, the feeling of freedom, the feeling of disbelief when I look into the mirror. And mourning for what beauty I did possess and which now has turned into my grandmother’s face, also the feeling that this is a shallow thought, but I think it nonetheless. The urge to be in the present more urging than ever. The crying and laughing, the feeling of being a teenager myself. The empathy and compassion growing, both a blessing and curse. Again, thank you.

  54. Oh this…
    “Fifty-five is talking less and listening more. It is choosing less screen time and more real time. It is saying “no” to things I don’t want to do. It is craving solitude. At the same time, it is a willingness to be more open, more intimate, more vulnerable with the small handful of people to whom I’ve entrusted my soul . Fifty-five is knowing what makes me happy: time alone, time in nature, time with dear friends, time with my family, time with a book.”

    I turn 45 soon and I cherish those things that really make me happy(even though I have my four year old running around my chair as I type this and I fear she may tip over the latte that I splurged on this morning).

    Happy 55 to you – It looks beautiful. xoxoxo

  55. Kathy, thank you so much for your response to my note. We have learned to take one day at a time and enjoy it for what it is worth. None of us know when our time will run out. I was a starry-eyed girl of 19 when we got married. We’ve had a lot of adventures and our share of bumps – prostate cancer for my husband and a grandchild with special needs – but we’ve weathered the storms and found that we are made of sterner stuff than we ever imagined. Life goes on…………
    With love, Anne

  56. Linda Rosenfeld says:

    Thank you for your wonderful insights. I turned 60 this year. Ouch!!! My son gave me a blank book to write down all the things I did and learned before age 60. When I started thinking of all the things I am thankful for, I did not feel so bad.
    I am writing this from Paris, and my husband and I just spent 5 days in London. I am
    so happy to have been able to make the trip. I had a knee replacement last October,
    and have had both hips replaced previously. I am so happy to be in the present, the now.

  57. Linda Rosenfeld says:

    Thank you for your wonderful insights. I turned 60 this year. Ouch!!! My son gave me a blank book to write down all the things I did and learned before age 60. When I started thinking of all the things I am thankful for, I did not feel so bad.
    I am writing this from Paris, and my husband and I just spent 5 days in London. I am
    so happy to have been able to make the trip. I had a knee replacement last October,
    and have had both hips replaced previously. I am so thankful.

  58. Linda Rosenfeld says:

    Thank you for your wonderful insights. I turned 60 this year. Ouch!!! My son gave me a blank book to write down all the things I did and learned before age 60. When I started thinking of all the things I am thankful for, I did not feel so bad.
    I am writing this from Paris, and my husband and I just spent 5 days in London. I am
    so happy to have been able to make the trip. I had a knee replacement last October,
    and have had both hips replaced previously.

  59. Happy birthday, Katrina. I turned 50 this summer and I still flinch when I write it in a box on some form. It still surprises me. I couldn’t write anything on my birthday. The clothes. Ugh. What my body is doing — double ugh. You expressed all that is good and challenging so beautifully.

  60. Dear Susan, Thanks for your response. Actually, I finished up my Masters in Social Work in my early 50’s. I was already working, and was able to advance in my career as a geriatric social worker. I wasn’t the only “older woman” at the U of Maryland, so that helped. My Masters degree helped me to assume an administrative position at the hospital where I worked. At one point, when I was weary of classes, term papers, exams and such, I remarked to my husband, “I will be in my 50’s when I get my Masters degree.” He responded, “And how how old will you be if you don’t get your degree?” So I slogged on !

  61. I loved this post. I turn 55 on Halloween!!
    You wove a beautiful story of emotion, humor, care, wisdom, hope, love, authenticity and more and it resonated deeply with me. As a business owner, mother of two kids and two dogs, wife (I started my business when I was 9 month pregnant with my now 21-year old son) and living in a busy urban environment, I was challenged to find my quiet space and truly be present. It gets easier at 55! Thank you so much for this – I will share these words with all of my friends. With appreciation, Cindy Wilson

  62. Renee Zemanski says:

    So wonderful…your writing. I am 54 and now I know that 55 will feel the same, except I still will have a teenager. In a way he keeps me 45 (except when I look in the mirror — that awful 7X magnifying mirror)! I have two older sons, 19 and 22 and finding it very hard to stop giving them advice. I see my oldest growing and making mistakes, but that is how we learn, no? My 19 year old has been ill and it’s been all consuming and very stressful, but we will make it through. I have faith. The joy my 13 year old brings me makes up for it all, but I know soon he will turn silent, sullen and well, a teen in all his prime. But, I do know, too, that he will come back around as the 22 year old did. Not asking for advice, but calling just to talk and share good news. Thank you Katrina for once again, sharing what we all believe and what we all think in the privacy of our hearts and homes. I will save this post and reread it on my birthday. It’s beautiful.

  63. Grace Sapienza says:

    Beautiful post, as always! I laughed (tweezers!!), I cried (death), I laughed until I cried (those darn night time flashes!), I even laughed until …well, ladies, you all know what can happen then! I felt as though I were looking into a mirror…even though 55 is just seven months away for me, I am now living the 55 life but I hope I can live it with all the poise, grace and wisdom you seem to, Katrina. Enjoy! (and kudos on the three minute plank!)

  64. Thank you Katrina, for putting words to the very similar feelings I experienced in my 50’s. I have always said, those were some of the best years of my life. I finally knew what I wanted to be ‘when I grow up”!
    Now that I just turned 65 years old, it seems I have now moved into another phase of my life, as taking care of senior parents, one with Alzheimer’s consumes much of both my and my husband’s days. We have to schedule our time together, or it is eaten up by “need to do’s” for others, and short changing ourselves. People offer up phrases like , “Well you know it won’t be forever.” in a well-meaning spirit, yet it offers little value when one is trying just to cope with this facet of life. Fortunately, I have a wonderful, giving husband, who being ten years younger than me, is able to physically manage the caring process of his Alzheimer father who lives with us, while I am the source of seeking knowledge about the disease and caring for it as well as the Caregiver. My biggest fear is losing my husband, my best friend, from a heart attack or stroke as he gets so frustrated with his dad, while trying to hold down a full-time career and daily living occurances such as a hot water tank that quits.
    Recently, I have experienced my own health issues as I began to wear down. As the nearly life-time caregiver of my mother and my dad, who has since passed, I began experiencing dibillitating anxiety attacks. I am one of five children, but as I have told my doctor, “I have really been one of one.” I thought I was always strong and could handle just about anything, for anyone, until one day my mind and body called a halt to that thinking! Now, thanks be to God and my faith in Him , I am feeling my strength return as I now learn to take better care of myself.
    I had a wonderful grief counselor (when my dad passed) leave me with this thought…”You now, with the grace of God, have another 20 years. How are you going to live the rest of your life?” Twenty years. Wow! That number rang as if she were saying ‘2 years’ …it felt short, limiting, frightening!
    Now, as each day unfolds, I make it a conscious effort to take the first hour of the morning, which I love, for myself to sit, reflect, pray and relax as I sip a warm cup of coffee. Then the dogs and I head outside and begin our day. I have made my artwork a ‘must do’ for the day, as well as lunch with my husband, connect with my girls and then my mother and other family members. It all has taken on a new depth of importance and order as I want to make the most of those remaining 20 years!

  65. Wow. Thank you for that. I’m 53 and going through a really rough patch, but now I’m looking forward to 55. Bless you.
    Karen in Newtown, CT

  66. I found this exquisite post via Beauty That Moves. So much beauty and wisdom in it, I must read it again. Thank you for posting these thoughts. I am just a few weeks ahead of you, having turned 55 in September. As a testament to how we are all connected, after sharing your post, I found that a woman I know is one of your childhood friends. Many well wishes to you!

  67. Oh, my….touched to the core, Katrina. Thank you for so eloquently speaking the truth of my days. You opened the door, shined the light in, and gently beckoned me to look. What I see…is a reflection of me; and finally, it’s ok. I’m finally ok with me. With tears streaming down my face, I understand that now…… in your words, in your writing…… Thank you.

    Fifties is a good place to be; my heart is full. 🙂

  68. Your words so resonate with me. Thank you for them. I am 58. My daughter is 29. I love what you have to say about your sons…not texting and calling as often as I get the urge, not knowing where she is…

    58 is an interesting time…learning, yes, still learning, to let go, to be kind and gentle, to be present, to give myself permission to do what feeds my soul not what our culture says I should be doing. Still asking “what is it I am here for”, mostly I know and still I don’t always know how to be in action around that. But the questions are part of the grand adventure.

    Thank you, again, for your beautiful piece. This is a grand time in so many ways.

  69. How much do I love this!!

  70. As always the perfect words to ease any uncertainty I may have about life and getting older. At 47, it is a relief to hear that this is what I have ahead.

  71. I’m 42 now and like the last 25 years, I’m still trying to get the balance right. Trying to juggle my own career, caring for my 3 children and giving time to my relationship with my husband plus my good friends is a constant struggle. I was given “Mitten Strings” as a gift when I was a relatively new Mum and it helped me focus on the important elements. Now I read your posts and remember to breathe. Thank you and happy birthday!

  72. What a wonderful way to start my day, reading the network of support here, and realizing how very much alike we as women are! Whether we have children and grandchildren or not, married, widowed, divorced or single, many of our experiences and feelings ‘mirror’ one another. This feeling of not being alone on this path of life is comforting, and an inspiration to learn of new things that others have accomplished, if we are willing to give it a whirl!
    One message that does crop up in some of the posts resonated with me. The question asking “What am I here for?” is something I have to admit on a dark day, may cross my mind and I hear it nearly daily from my elderly mother. If we are being honest, life isn’t always so clear for us or joyous for that matter. However, as I just turned 65 a little over two weeks ago, my younger daughter of 40 wrote on FB, “If I can be even a 1/4 of the woman my Mom is, I will have succeeded in life….Her entire life has been about loving & caring for others, even those that haven’t always been so lovable or kind to her…she has been a light in this dark world & all who know her are truly blessed.” After I wiped the tears from my eyes I could read between the lines. Our children, our family, our friends are all watching and learning from how we make our way along the path, such that they will have the courage and strength on their own journey. Let’s give it our best shot!… (and making mistakes is a necessary part of learning). When my girls were small and saying things like “I can’t do this…it’s too hard.” I would sing “If you think you can,if you think you can…you’re absolutely right. Believing you can do it, is more than half the fight. Believing in yourself…more than anyone else…You Can!” They would try a little harder. Only recently, I realized that little song was taken from the great Henry Ford who said, “If you think you can or that you can’t…either way, you are right.”
    Thank you Katrina and fellow travelers for inspiring me …now the brushes will fly!

  73. This is so beautiful, Katrina. I am 41 – in my forties now – and Donny and I have been talking more about so many of the things you’ve written here: taking things more slowly, appreciating the time we have, mourning friends who are sick and dying, celebrating quiet joy. I hope to really embrace these years without rushing through them.

    Thank you for this!

  74. 49 on the cusp of 50, not sure about that, but more people tell me it is the best . . .so I will roll with it. Thanks for a clear and humorous and thoughtful look at 55. The best is yet to come.

  75. Hi Katrina! I enjoyed reading through your post. I shall turn 60 before this year is through. If this next decade is in any way like my 50s, I shall count myself extraordinarily blessed. Actually, I am expecting an even wider expanse of living, the door of my heart flung open in order to be overtaken by love and loving, my mind gentled by truth. These words from Wendall Berry’s, “There is No Going Back,” are a treasure:

    No, no, there is no going back.

    Less and less you are that possibility you were.

    More and more you have become those lives and deaths

    that have belonged to you. You have become a sort of grave

    containing much that was and is no more in time,

    beloved then, now, and always.

    And so you have become a sort of tree standing over a grave.

    Now more than ever you can be generous toward each day that comes, young,

    to disappear forever, and yet remain unaging in the mind.

    Every day you have less reason not to give yourself away.

    (Wendell Berry, from “Collected Poems)

  76. Ann O'Hare says:

    Thank you for this post. It is amazing! At 58, I am still working. Have become an orphan as my parents have passed. Have one son getting married in several weeks, one out of the country on VACATION (yes, I worry about who he is with and what he is doing), a daughter trying to find her way in life on her terms, and in-laws facing some serious health issues. My husband retired from one job and is now doing another part time. I have a great job, wonderful friends, and I love my bike that I bought two years ago. I feel about 13 when I ride. I love being outdoors!!
    I could see myself in your post in so many ways. I can see such value in writing about what we feel about what is going on in our lives. Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  77. The long shadows find me catching up with you in evening, observing that 55 is the old speed limit in some places, my slowing to a stop to appreciate your words, the imagined and felt transliteration back to screen from pad, the palpability of leaves falling and the tracing of the instrument upon paper.

    Here’s to everything and more and to the mysterious loving spirit that animates it all. Wishing you all best in the integer of 55 and in the rational and irrational spaces between points and in the moments that reach forward and back to contain more than they can ever fully express.

  78. In three days I’ll be just one year behind you Katrina. And you echo my thoughts and feelings as our lives run so much in parallel. Your words always touch ny heart ad you express your innermost thoughts and experiences with such a clarity. Belated Happy Birthday – I’m grateful to have found you and have you in my life over the last few years!

  79. Although I am not 55 yet, I loved this post. It inspired me to write one on behalf of my 8 months-old!

  80. Beautifully written. Poignant, real, and moving. I’m approaching 51 and have felt so much of this, as it settles on me. I’ve written about it many times, in a variety of ways. It’s a sobering, empowering, visceral passage in our lives. Thanks for sharing your experience. Really wonderful post!

  81. Wow! You wrote how I feel at times. Life’s journey is simply remarkable. I’m 49, married 7 years with a five-year-old son. I eat it all up at every opportunity. Thanks for sharing your soul.

  82. wow… amazing…I LOVED every word you wrote and the power of the letting go and realizing that life is just ‘the way it is’… I am soon to begin my last year of the 50’s… age 59 tells me I am not that far from entering a new ‘era’. Heading towards my sixties is a new process. I am comfortable with the thought, not so in the realization my son will be 40 the same year I turn 60. That idea bothers me more than my own aging.
    I think it all is a matter of the heart and how old we choose to let ourselves feel. It is a choice we have each day… to begin again.

  83. This is so beautiful and really touched my heart. Rhonda Quaney shared this post with us in our (in)courage group (in)Life After 50. I am so glad that she did!

    I am 57. Age never bothered me. I looked forward to being a grandmother. I looked forward to silver hair. I thought it would go smoothly. Silly me!

    Being 40 (on my birthday no less!) was being called ma’am at the Mc Donald’s Drive Though… the shock and the awe…. sharing it with the child that took my money and giving him a chuckle!

    Being 55 and realizing…. finally realizing that my children were not my grown up children… but actually adults!! (They were 31, 34, and 38 so I guess it was time?)

    I really enjoyed this post. I felt I was right there with you and that is what a writer wants 🙂

    Love to you and yours,

  84. Kris Macomber here, friend of Lindsey Mead, fellow 55 year old and also a mother of two twentysometing boys. I remember the day LM pointed me to your writing, telling me we overlapped in so many ways. Little did she know! Yes, I’m also at that point where I don’t know exactly what those young men I gave birth to are up to, except for the peeks they allow me via Instagram and text messaging. At the same time that they’re launching themselves, we’ve been having the loveliest overlaps lately–all together at Fenway Park, home in the “man cave” to watch the final episode of Breaking Bad. It’s a whole new world of late-inning parenting, a whole new world of figuring out what’s next on so many fronts–mine, theirs, ours.

    Like you, I’ve also been feeling that need to pay attention, to look at the light of this hour, of every hour, more intensely this fall than ever. Something about the string of blue sky days we’ve had this past few weeks, made it my job, somehow, to be observant.

    I had an encounter with Shakespeare’s sonnet #73 last week, courtesy of The Writer’s Almanac. It’s the one about facing our autumns. It’s so very much about this part of life. Here’s a link to the gift of a blog post that sonnet gave me:

    I just wanted to share that, and thank you for your take on what this age of ours looks like and feels like. Lindsey couldn’t have pointed me to a more gracious writer.

  85. Katrina,
    What beautiful words. As always, thank you so much for sharing your heart.


  86. Beautifully written. At 52 I’ve had glimpses of this. After just one yearned-for pregnancy we were blessed w/triplets. I intuitively knew this was my calling. Life since has raced at rocket-speed as we hit each childhood milestone w/such force, never to be revisited as parents w/more children do. I’m grateful that I had the sense to soak it all in. The kids are now ‘launched’, we are proud, & reconnecting in our empty nest as we approach our 30th anniversary. I miss having my kids nearby but am grateful of the family we’ve created together which will (God willing) carry on long after we’ve gone. I count my blessings & try to make this world a better place for those who have struggled more. My goal now is to be a better wife, friend, neighbor, colleague. Gone are the days wishing I were thinner, replaced by fitful attempts to live healthier & mindfully as you do, despite my figure. ‘Strong’ is the new beauty! Thanks for sharing your gift of writing!

  87. I’m just two days shy of 51…and 51 is many of the same things, mostly making peace with everything I possibly can, from my body to my habits to my mother. It’s bittersweet and sweetbitter. It’s being stepmom to a 34-year-old. a 31-year-old, and a 28-year-old. It’s being Booboo to my stepdaughter’s two-and-a-half year old son. It’s growing amazingly more in love with my husband, who is 57. It’s giving myself permission to fully embrace and use my gifts…gifts I didn’t know I had just a few short years ago. I would’t trade it for the world!

  88. I am 55, with two daughters in their mid-20s, and a husband who is just shy of 58. I can’t thank you enough, having read two of your books years ago, for writing this now. I find it is a gift to settle into 55, because it isn’t “settling.” Though there are many things I longed to do when younger that I suspect I’ll never do, they don’t matter quite so much anymore (though I’ll try as many as I find I want to, as the opportunity arises). I’m *here,* now. Hopeful for grandchildren one day, should life, the universe and everything permit it. Truly happy to be with my daughters when they are home; renewing life with my husband in the ways that you describe. (I miss my parents, now both gone for more than a dozen years.)

    Thank you for capturing 55 so simply and powerfully. It’s a great place to be.

  89. Katrina,
    I feel blessed to have been guided to your thoughtful blog and, the book I am currently reading, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship In Contentment. As well as turning 55 this past June, I share many aspects of your journey. I have two sons, one 19 the other 17, who have both been the epicenter of my life. I went to college in the Amherst area and I lost a beloved friend to cancer this year. I am also about to begin, a long overdue, yoga teacher training.
    Your book and blog have been my partner these last few weeks and have given me much needed strength to accept the new life that awaits me. Who knew that the days of “freedom” my husband and I so anxiously dreamed of would be knocking at my doorstep and I would want to turn them away. Now I take deep breathes and believe that I will “find purpose in unexpected places” and I smile as I ” hang the shower curtain ( the surfer one he loved as a child) in his new apartment”.
    Life is good at 55 and I swell with gratitude when I think about how lucky I am! Thank you for taking me along on your ride. I think we will be exploring many more places together.

  90. I’m 45; soon to be 46. I’m reading your newest book, I’ve chosen the word Contentment as my One Little Word & I have two boys; 15 1/2 and 13 and a loving husband and I love your writings! Thank you, Katrina!

  91. I’m late to this party, but I’ll post anyway. I’m 53 and so much of what you’ve written resonated with me. (Brought me to tears, actually.) I am looking forward to reading your books and your blog.

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