At yesterday’s meeting of my networking group, I used my one-minute elevator pitch to draw typical Gemini attention to the fact that my 50th birthday was today. During those 60 seconds I pulled out five brief points about the milestone, linking them to work. Then I thought about all the other things I could have said if I’d had longer than a minute. While we wait for a grown-up to tell me this is OK, I might as well show you.


For me, BeingFifty is all about:
• being able to ask for no mayonnaise in someone else’s house without feeling bad
• realising that I am now my mother, and my father, sister, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and not just being OK about it but proud
• finally knowing why people do that eternal student thing: you can never learn enough
• being fairly sure that avocados, sardines, olives, tuna and stinky cheese are just not for me
• knowing it’s absolutely fine to NOT take the camel ride back
• making the effort to at least try and listen, even if I don’t eventually buy it
• being happy to share a dinner table with someone who has opposing political views as long as racism, genocide or sexual deviance are not in the DNA (and we share the wine)
• feeling just as happy to holiday with my dad and sister as I am with my husband and son, best buddy, family friends
• finally acknowledging the subject of Camping
• realising with one hundred per cent conviction that our proposal meal was in fact an ‘interview’, and being so happy I passed
• knowing that my list of Being50 will be very different to someone else’s list
• having the certainty that diets don’t work, then they do, then they don’t, then they do, then they don’t
• loving it when someone says: ‘wow, you don’t look 50!’, but knowing when they’re lying
• being confident in my use of semi-colons; they definitely have a place
• actually quite liking winter, when no one can tell if you’re wearing odd socks and your bra straps don’t show
• not minding having the door held open by a bloke, or anyone for that matter, as long as we’re both in the same interview queue
• knowing I’ll never be a linguist, mathematician, marathon runner, driver or pasta maker
• being quite sure I’ll have a cake shop
• understanding that the roots of most expats are intertwined
• enjoying the quiet afternoons as much as the pub nights
• wishing I could convince the boy that it absolutely and honestly does get better
• being unsure that time heals all wounds, but knowing it does help a bit
• knowing it’s OK to hang on to the boxed-up, dusty items for as long as I need them
• feeling fine about not wearing proper high heels
• enduring the onset of the family eyelid-droop and realising what Botox is for (but NO)
• knowing I’ll never do video blogging: I just can’t
• concluding that pink is my favourite colour and there’s nothing I can do about it
• knowing I probably won’t write a book (sorry), I just think I’m a prose person
• understanding that it’s not hot flushes, is it? It’s raging waves of molten lava
• knowing that if TheDog does happen, it’s OK for my inner cat to always pee just outside the tray
• secretly believing I do have regrets: I mean, even Edith did, surely?
• confidently removing my cardie indoors to make sure I feel the benefit
• being content to stop before I get to 50 points

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