5 Promises To Make Yourself On Your 50th Birthday

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On my 50th birthday I promised myself I would live boldly and stay wide open to new experiences in the years ahead. I didn't just say "I promise to .." I threw my whole body into it by tandem-parasailing here in Queenstown, New Zealand. The instructions from the guy I parasailed with went something like this: “Run towards the edge of that cliff, Helen, and when you reach the edge don’t stop. Keep running!”. What? As I shoved my fear aside and started running I remember thinking how ridiculous that statement was.
As I left the cliff edge somehow – by some miracle – I found myself strapped into a little seat and soaring out over the breathtakingly beautiful world below. And even though I landed on a grass field a while later I didn’t come down to earth again for days. The promise I made to myself on that summer day set the scene for the decade that followed. And the memory of how it felt to fly still burns like a beacon in the back of my mind as I move into my 60s. "Helen, you are courage"
There are so many reasons why promise making on your 50th birthday makes a lot of sense.
You've lived the first half of your life. Now's the time to focus on how you want to live your second. The most thrilling and fulfilling life after 50 is one lived consciously and intentionally. Of course you can, if you want, drift aimlessly through these years. But that means you risk regrets at the end of your days. Personally I don't want regrets. I want to end my days knowing that I took this gift of life and soared with it. If you want that too promise making is for you. There are lots of ways to make yourself a promise. You can speak it, write it, throw your whole body into it as I did, or express it as a creative exercise like art journaling or painting on canvas. You can promise any way you want. Be creative. And, most importantly of all when promising, be wholly present!
Here are 5 promises you might like to consider as you set the scene for your glorious 50s.
Promise yourself that you will:
1) Stay bold and open to new experiences.
As the years go by the easy natural courage of our younger years can give way to an uneasy attachment to our comfort zone. Trying out some daring new things now and then will keep you from falling into a rut. Promise yourself you'll stay bold and with each new experience your sense of self will grow, and so too will the joy and satisfaction you take from life.
2) Surround yourself with people who lift you higher.
We all know that there are people who elevate us, and people who drag us down. Toxic friends won't serve you well at any age, but especially not after 50. If you let them they will clip your wings. And in these butterfly years you'll need your wings because this is your time to soar. Promise yourself you'll prioritise the people who lift you when you stumble, and cheer you when you fly. These are the ones who will help you grow.
3) Strive to know the REAL you.
In the first half of life we define ourselves according to our line of work and the various roles we play in day to day life. In our 50s that focus starts to shift from doing towards ways of being in the world. Beingness is the unique spark of life that lies within each of us ~ our higher self. When you live from that part of you your life naturally aligns with your higher calling or purpose and you experience greater joy, meaning and fulfillment. If you promise to discover the real you, and if you follow through on that promise, your life after 50 will become the truest possible expression of you.

4) Be mindful of where you put your attention.
Of course knowing who you are and what your higher purpose is won’t help if your attention is mostly being squandered on things that don't help you grow. Promise yourself you’ll be mindful of where you put your attention as you move through your day. Keeping an awareness diary for a while will help you see where you may be squandering your precious life. Then, hopefully, you’ll be inspired you to shift your attention onto what lights you up inside ~ and start living a life that is in alignment with your true self.
5) Love yourself through the years ahead.
As you head into your 50s self-love starts to matter like never before because it is an antidote to the fear and change that aging brings. If you have never written yourself a love letter now is the time to do so. The first time I did this I faltered and stumbled over the words, but reading it back felt surprisingly comforting ~ like a warm and empowering hug from a best friend. Promise yourself you'll adopt this simple practice.

One last word on promise making. Be sure to check back in with your promises regularly as the years go by. That way they'll stay uppermost in your mind and continue to work their magic in your life.