50 to 50 | The Birthday Post: “I am a Perennial”

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On our recent European vacation. The view from our Venice, Italy balcony.

Today is my 49th birthday. There are 52 weeks between today and my 50th birthday, and I have given this a lot of thought.

FIFTY has seemed ominous. Like this place you will get to in your life and it will all be different. You will be OLD.

However, as I’m approaching this number on the dial, old is the last thing I feel or look or ANYTHING of that nature!

I feel the best I ever have. I have a life I love, the bestest friends a girl could ask for, great relationships with my family, a solid relationship with my husband and a business that I launched that is an expression of my passion. I love my children (and they love me), and I am happy. Best of all… I think it’s only going to get better.

In my mind (and in my younger friends’ minds), 50 seems like a cliff you’re going to fall off when you get there. And, it most certainly is, but not in the way most people think. Fifty also can be the place you jump off to soar into the next part of life. I realized this when I started seeing some of the most amazing women I know reinvent themselves and evolve into the best version of themselves after they turned 50. These powerhouse women whom I get to call my friends look amazing, travel, contribute, are vibrant and confident and are in no way shrinking in the face of society’s expectation that you are old when you are 50 and beyond.

I find myself asking whom do I want to be? What do I want my life to look like? Time is more important to me than ever. I am not wasting it on what’s not important. So, I am defining what is really meaningful. I’ve done this at different intervals in my life but, at this momentous one, I have perspective. I no longer have anywhere to get to. There is no wall to climb and nothing (really) to achieve. Life has become about living and experiencing and soaking it up. I have “turned out.” This is it.

About a month ago, a friend shared an article from the Telegraph that originally was posted by entrepreneur Gina Pell in the Medium.  The title of the piece was “Why Women of 40 and 50 are the New ‘Ageless Generation.” Of course, I had to read it. The phrase “perennials” was born.

“The Perennials. We are ever-blooming, relevant people of all ages who live in the present time, know what’s happening in the world, stay current with technology, and have friends of all ages. We get involved, stay curious, mentor others, are passionate, compassionate, creative, confident, collaborative, global-minded risk takers who continue to push up against our growing edge and know how to hustle. We comprise an inclusive, enduring mindset, not a divisive demographic. Perennials are also vectors who have a wide appeal and spread ideas and commerce faster than any single generation.”

When I read this article, I happened to be in Nicaragua on a surf adventure. I read it out loud to Casey, the owner at Soma Surf Resort and a close friend, as well as a former executive at Calvin Klein who “retired” with her husband of 40 years to open a boutique resort near one of the best surf breaks in the world. Her response? “What about 60? I started this venture at 60.”  And there you have it! She is absolutely one of the most inspirational women I know, and what the hell do I know turning 50?!

Since learning about Perennials I have been reading it out loud to my clients, the Authentic Beauties, and more than a few times there have been straight out tears spontaneous and flowing. To be recognized. To be acknowledged. To be spoken for. There is finally a group I belong to.

I am forever blooming, and so are the women with whom I surround myself. I refuse to be taken out because I have a few more wrinkles, a few more pounds and I happen to be past the breeding age. In fact, I am the most free I have ever been because of these things. My son is out of college, my daughter is graduating this year and my body is no longer something I suffer over but celebrate. Of course, my body needs to be fit so I can continue to go on global adventures and do the things I love (like surfing). But, the focus has changed. Today, I consider how I take care of this body so it lasts me and is functioning optimally  for the next 50 years!!!! It is definitely not about depriving myself so I can fit in the size jeans I was NEVER meant to wear in the first place.

So… I have decided to write a blog every week beginning the first week in September called 50 to 50. I will be writing every week about all things 50. There are so many topics that I want to address I couldn’t fit it in one post. I have been wanting to blog for a while and committing to this is it. I hope you will join me on this adventure I am taking toward the big 5-0.

Thank you my amazing friends. There are just too many to acknowledge. So, if you are reading this, consider yourself one of them.

And thank you for all the birthday wishes.

For regular updates on my 50 to 50 journey, please visit AlysonHoag.com.

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