Think You're Too Old In Your 50s? Think Again.

Group of mature and senior women, smiling, portrait
Group of mature and senior women, smiling, portrait

Admit it. When you were young, you thought being in your 50s was older than dirt. You couldn't imagine being that aged and decrepit. But then the years moved forward. And here you are. The strangest thing is you look around and realize things aren't so bad. In fact, here are seven reasons why being in your 50s is downright good...

You're free.
Take a bow. Somewhere in this decade your kids probably graduated high school and maybe even college. Perhaps they moved out. Perhaps they're still home. But even if they're living under your roof, things have changed. They're now full-functioning adults ... ahem. Babysitters? Checking school homework? Gearing for college essays? They're all in the past and guess what? You graduated too, to a different, more expansive stage of life.

You're still young.
Yup. I just said that. You're still young in your 50s. Take a walk through any nursing home if you don't believe me. What's even better is that you're the same person inside you've always been. Sure, maybe the outside has more mileage but you still love the "Little Rascals" and singing in the car and shoving pink hunks of cotton candy in your mouth at summer carnivals. Some things never change. That kid is still in there.

However ... time is ticking.
And this is a good thing because nothing focuses the mind like a deadline. When I was young I was always putting things off, like exploring the world, going on that cross-country drive or maybe living in New York City. Time stretched endlessly into the future like the Sahara desert. Then the years came along and that Sahara desert shrunk to the size of my local beach. Before I know it, it'll be the size of a kid's sandbox. I realized if I'm ever going to see South America or learn how to make a cheese soufflé or try and write that novel, I better start moving.

You know who you are.
In my 20s, I worked in the corporate world and always felt defective. I was never good at politics, organizational charts or football pools. I got teary-eyed easily much to the eye-rolling impatience of tougher colleagues. Instead I liked ideas and words and emotional, messy things. It wasn't till I had a few decades under my belt that I realized this wasn't my fault. I hadn't found my tribe. If you're young and still in that search mode, don't worry. You'll discover who you are, most likely through hit or miss. But you will find it.

You're in that sweet spot in life.
Remember during early parenthood when you were changing that third stinky diaper in two hours and fantasized about lying on a beach somewhere? Or maybe taking a week-long camping trip? Good news: it's easier now. Your 50s are that great intersection between "Raring to Go" and "Having Most of your Marbles Left to Do it." I have 50-something friends who have more adventures these days than they had in their 20s. They finally have the time and means and believe me, they're gunning for it full-throttle.

You're strong.
By this age you've been tossed around by life a little ... or a lot. You've had to climb back on that horse many times. And the great thing is you know you can do it. By your 50s, you've been tested emotionally, personally, marriage-wise, kids-wise, financially, health-wise, you name it. You know what to put on the worry list. You know what's not worth it. You know where to put your energies. You can finally say no to jello shots.

You're free to chase your dream.
I know many who picked up the pen, guitar, paint brush, and yoga mat in their later years. Who knows why? Maybe we're less afraid. Maybe we have more to express at this age. Maybe life, with its joys and sorrows, deepens the soul. People who took no prisoners in the corporate world discovered they now love the gentler side of life. Our 50s are the first time many of us have the time and space to explore our hidden, creative self. And that can lead to riches we never knew we had.

I just started my last year in my 50s. And looking back it's been an awesome, educational, inspirational, spiritual decade. I'm grateful. My 50s were one bad-ass teacher.

Am I ready for the next decade in a year? Gulp. No. Yes. Maybe. Not sure. While I think about this, please pass the cotton candy.

Laurie Stone writes from the woods of Easton, CT. Come visit her blog, "Musings, Rants & Scribbles" where she shares thoughts on growing up, growing older and (hopefully) growing wiser.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

  • Betty White
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    Doesn't it seem like Betty White has been around since David torpedoed Goliath with a slingshot? Our favorite golden girl is only 94 though. Even though Miss Betty White began her career in the 1940s on radio, and later appeared on late night talk shows and game shows (including "Password") in the 50s and 60s, she wasn't really a household name until, at the age of 51, she began playing "The Happy Homemaker" Sue Ann Nivens on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (1973-1977).
  • Morgan Freeman
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    Who doesn't love Morgan Freeman? This Academy Award winner paid his dues and then some. Freeman worked for several years as an actor, but really came into his own playing chauffeur Hoke Colburn in "Driving Miss Daily" at the age of 52 (although he was 50 when he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the film "Street Smart").
  • Sharon Osbourne
    Heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne has been famous for over 40 years as lead singer of the English band Black Sabbath. His wi
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    Heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne has been famous for over 40 years as lead singer of the English band Black Sabbath. His wife, Sharon, however, did not become a household name until their family reality show "The Osbournes" premiered on MTV in 2002. Just barely 50, Sharon became a media darling, which opened up many doors. She went on to become a judge on "America's Got Talent" and has been co-host of the CBS daytime show "The Talk" since it debuted in October 2010.
  • Regis Philbin
    Regis Philbin was comedian Joey Bishop's sidekick on the ABC television show "The Joey Bishop Show" from 1967 to 1969 and hos
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    Regis Philbin was comedian Joey Bishop's sidekick on the ABC television show "The Joey Bishop Show" from 1967 to 1969 and hosted his own local talk show -- "A.M. Los Angeles" -- from 1975 to 1983. But his name wasn't exactly on the tip of our collective tongues until he became a daytime staple with Kathie Lee Gifford in 1988 on "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" when he was 57. His vibrant, caustic, yet fun-loving personality pushed him over the top sometime after the show began to gain in popularity with daytime viewers.
  • Abe Vigoda
    Born in 1921, Abe Vigoda captured the role of Salvatore Tessio in the film "The Godfather" in 1972 at the age of 51. His next
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    Born in 1921, Abe Vigoda captured the role of Salvatore Tessio in the film "The Godfather" in 1972 at the age of 51. His next big role came in 1975 when he signed on to play Sgt. Phil Fish on the television series "Barney Miller." And that's when Vigoda -- who passed away in 2016 -- really became a household name.
  • Tom Bergeron
    Sure, Tom Bergeron became the host of "Hollywood Squares" in 1998 and of "America's Funniest Home Videos" in 2001, 
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    Sure, Tom Bergeron became the host of "Hollywood Squares" in 1998 and of "America's Funniest Home Videos" in 2001, but he didn't really become widely known until joining the wildly popular "Dancing With the Stars." The amiable host was 50 when the show premiered in 2005. After more than 20 seasons as host, it appears he's a keeper.
  • Mike Wallace
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    Maybe Mike Wallace was well-known in some hard-core news circles, and perhaps he was on a first-name basis with a few news junkies many moons ago, but it wasn't until he laid his groundwork as a superb gotcha reporter on "60 Minutes" which he did from 1968 (after he turned 50) until 2008 -- that his star really began to shine. This well-respected news journalist sadly passed away on April 7, 2012 at the age of 93.
  • Samuel L. Jackson
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    Born in 1948, Samuel L. Jackson appeared in more than 100 films before the age of 40. However, it was only after he landed the role of a hitman in "Pulp Fiction" in 1994 that his star really began to shine. For this performance, Jackson received a Best Supporting Actor nomination.
  • Andy Rooney
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    Andy Rooney is another personality that seems to have been around since the beginning of time, and we're all glad to have been the recipients of his off-the-wall satirical takes on human nature. In 1978, at the age of 59, Rooney began his "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney" segment on the CBS news show "60 Minutes," continuing through 2011. He made us laugh, he made us cry, he made us think. It doesn't get better than that. Rooney died on November 4, 2011 at the age of 92 only a few weeks after his last appearance on the show. 
  • Joy Behar
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    Joy Behar was 54 when she was cast as one of the original members of "The View," which made its debut in August 1997. A few years before that, you could catch Behar doing hilarious stand-up comedy on television. But she only became a household name sometime after "The View" became a must-see, daytime television talk show.