I’ve made it this far. And oh wow, the places I have gone, the things I have done, and the memories I have made.
At this point, I have this huge sigh of relief that I lived this long to even talk about it. Some days I want to hike a mountain and other days, I want to crawl in bed and binge Netflix.
I guess it’s time to get the T-shirt: I’ve Arrived. Do I pick the shirt that says “I’m 50 and Don’t Give a Rats Ass!” or “Life At 50, Livin’ The Dream”.
Too funny, but honestly, I’ve decided I don’t want to grow up and be some cranky old lady. Life is too short.
Instead, I am embracing the fact I’ve made it to 50 and am grateful for every day here on out. In fact, my attitude these days is that I’m here to help in whatever capacity I can.
So what does arriving at 50 really mean? Here’s some of my top life hacks I have learned along the way. I hope they inspire you at any age.
These are just a few key ingredients to life that have made my life a little easier. Try them on, take notes, or read along for the fun.
Hopefully some of these snippets can be a golden nugget to help you navigate through life as they have helped me.
I would have never wrote Norman The Cow Finds A New Home children’s book if it wasn’t for my imagination. My girls were young and asked so many questions about this orphaned cow while we were visiting a ranch. The story was created and stuck with us.
Use your imagination. You were created to be creative. It is ok to daydream a little. It helps keep us creative.
2. Manage Your Money Wisely
Yes, it is a major stressor for so many. I wish someone told me about Dave Ramsey’s class Financial Peace years ago. I would have been a millionaire by now.
Today, I keep a detailed spreadsheet accounting for our spending. I created categories which tally up. I know exactly where the money goes. And yes, there are some months Amazon is the winning contributor to my spending habits.
But honestly, having it all right in front of me helps me to stay true to where the money goes. And now at 50 and retirement not too far away, spending seems to matter more.
3. Find Faith
Life is hard. Knowing that we have a God that created all things, knows all things, and loves me, takes the pressure off. I still need to do my part, but boy, life is easier knowing I am not God.
Years ago I asked hard questions why my father passed at the young age of 60. I am so glad I asked the right questions and found the answers. It has helped me navigate through tough times in marriage, finances, housing crises and even a pandemic.
Now I don’t have to have all the answers, I don’t have to carry all the burdens, because I know who does. I just need to do my part well.
4. Take Care Of Your Health
Losing my dad when I was in my early 20’s was eye opening. 25 years later, and dealing with my own crazy health issues along the way, I am grateful for every breath I take and the ability to be vertical most days. Life is a gift. Live it well.
As someone that is a self proclaimed researcher, I can truly say, do your research. Make sure the information you get is backed by peer medical reviewed research.
And most of all, find a medical professional that support you. You are your best advocate. And if your doctor tells you to just be happy, or tells you are getting old at 40 and does not take note of your symptoms, then maybe it is time for a new doctor.
It took me a few years but I finally found a doctor that studies the numbers, educates the patient on what the lab results mean and guides the patient toward optimum levels of health. Our bodies take on stress, sickness and more. If our bodies are healthy, they can fight like ninja warriors.
5. Seek Adventure
I was in my 30s and super active; running marathons, triathloning and hiking anything in my path. I felt invincible. Until I got hit by a car cycling. It changed everything, but did not stop my passion for adventure. Now it is modified.
I think the gift I had to spend my Junior year of college studying in Spain created a desire in me to learn and explore. Today, I love traveling, especially trips to Sicily, Italy to visit friends, culture and more.
I remember one special trip I made with friends to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. We hiked in, camped out and swam in an amazing lake with a beautiful waterfall. There are so many places like this around the world waiting for me to visit.
Adventure awaits all of us in different ways. Don’t wait until it is too late.
6. See The World
Through out my years, I’ve visiting Spain, Italy and France. My bucket list has a few more places to see here shortly.
I’ve met people who have never traveled on an airplane or outside of their state. For someone who has lived in seven different states and recently moved to Texas, I can truly say they are missing out.
I made adventure and see the world two separate items since having adventures can happen in your backyard or in your neighborhood.
Seeing the world is a major mental, physical and financial commitment. I think I was 25 when I took a cruise by myself to the Caribbean. I was 20 when I met up with my best friend to ski in France. The French Alps are breathtaking. The skiing is like no other. It made me have a thirst for more. I can’t wait to see more places.
Again, adventure awaits. Don’t wait.
7. Read Books
I am an avid reader. I have piles of books everywhere. I love research books, fiction novels, a great devotion and even adventure.
Reading expands our minds. And gets the mind off the crazy stuff getting in the way of our life.
My mom and sisters are avid readers too and often exchange books. I love how we can share a good romance novel. Additionally, I love research books on health. It is amazing to learn how our body was designed to fight.
8. Get A Pet
Unconditional love is amazing. I love my dog. Dogs do come with a price and require maintenance, so be ready to care for them.
My favorite part is when you walk through the door and my dog will always come say hello, as if we had not seen each other in months. Plus I love the fact I can talk to him about everything, and he never talks back.
9. Love Well
Every day is a gift. You never know when it is your last. Losing my dad in my early 20s sucked. I wish I had more time with him. I wish he met my husband, and our kids.
I love how in his last years we were close. I struggled but he knew what was to come and our relationship grew deep. For years I fought getting close with people because I never wanted love for fear of getting hurt.
It took me years to figure this commandment out: “Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.”
It’s hard to love others if you don’t love yourself. We are all bombarded with messages of not being good enough and shame.
It took me a long time to learn how to love myself and love others. And it also came with heartache and additional loss. But I know this much is true, it is better to love than not at all.
Take care of you first. Like they tell parents on the airplane, put your oxygen mask on first. Learn to love well. You will truly impact others.
10. Learn Something New
Our minds are amazing and have the ability to learn so much. When I learn something new and am able to implement it, (like a new code on a computer), I put my arms in the air and making cheering noises. Learn something and be proud you did it. Be your biggest cheerleader.
I’ve often said this old dog can learn new tricks. (I’m the old dog) I know there will eventually be a day when this old dog can’t, and needs to be put out to pasture (50 years from now).
So for now, open your mind, learn something new and put your hands in the air like you just don’t care.
11. Hold Tight To Your Values
This one is big for me. Don’t be swayed by emotion. Know what you know and know why. It is ok to have a healthy debate. Use facts to discuss well.
If a debate goes south, don’t fight. Move on. Let that person figure out their values. Hold to yours. But make sure you are not persuaded by your emotions.
Some of us have our parents values, our community, our grandparents, our culture, or values we learned in school. The best thing you can ever do is write down your values and the why behind them. Understand why you believe in what you believe.
Some day you may marry or vote or even make a new friend. Your values will definately have an impact on these things.
12. Manage Your Time
How many of us love to procrastinate. I am a queen of start this project, then that, then the next.
What I have learned to do is when procrastination starts, I need to look at the “what” that triggered it. It is always some type of stressor. From here, I can choose to let the stressor run my down a rabbit trail, or I can say no, and get the task at hand started.
The key for me is to make a list. I learned this years ago when I took a Stephen Covey class. The list always was about the big stones and the little stones. About what mattered most.
Today I make sure my lists are not out of control. They need to be manageable.
My sister Linda taught me years ago when I was in college freaking out about everything I needed to get done. She advised there were 24 hours in a day and to break out those hours into what I could get done by when.
Today I use the same principles. Plus I use them to manage my client’s task lists.
13. Don’t Care What Others Think
We all want people to look at our Tik Toks, or give likes on Facebook. I think at 50, you finally arrive and think it doesn’t matter. Yes, wrinkles, gray hair and age spots will humble you.
Honestly though, I think life tends to mimic middle school in so many ways. In the workplace, among social groups, etc.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just be kind to each other. But for some reason, haters will be haters and you just need to be true to you and focus forward.
I used to think people who walked around singing a little tune were weird. Now, that’s me. I will take a tune, switch up the words, hum a few notes, and have a skip in my step. Nothing can rob my joy.
14. Always Have A Backup Plan
I live by the rule if Plan A does not work, then have a contingency plan of B and C in place.
Life happens right? We have to be able to adapt and move on.
I am one that seriously gets disappointed when expectations do not get met. This is when my Plan A doesn’t work. It has caused me much strife and anxiety.
When I figured out that life is truly like an algebra statement: “If this, then that”, it allowed me to create more contingency plans. The other day a friend called about her child having to deal with something. I shared that the probable outcomes are going to be A with a this then that statement or option B, or options C, which could be something we did not think of.
I’m not sure if I freaked her out or put her to ease. For myself, knowing that things may not go as planned and to be ok with the other options that may happen makes things a little easier.
Life happens, roll with it.
15. Don’t Be A People Pleaser
I guess this one can be tied to number 9. For years I was a Yes girl. And boy could I get things done. But was I doing it for me or for them? Trust me, there are companies out there that will take your yes all day long.
Find the right balance of what commitments you make and do them well. You can’t spin all the plates at once.
Perhaps this one should of been “when to say no”. Either way, understand why you say Yes when asked to help out, and make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.
16. Don’t Lie
Lying just creates more lies. While teaching, I tell my students, “don’t lie, just tell me you did not do the work, and we can figure out a plan from there.”
Honestly, if you lie, then I won’t trust you. And trust is huge. Most people have trust issues which stem from people not telling them the truth. Or basically going around the truth.
Be real to yourself and others. You get a ton more respect for being truthful in my book.
17. Be Kind
Kindness matters. I even have a T-shirt with those words on it. There is a saying that ‘hurt people, hurt people’. But honestly, we can choose to be kind.
When your kids are little you help them choose their words. As toddlers, you help them learn how to pronounce their words. We don’t teach them how to call each other jerks.
Kids just grow up watching people being jerks to each other and hence, they become a jerk. Maybe I need a t-shirt that says, ‘don’t be a jerk, be kind.’
I guess number 9 above can be tied to this one. Love is all you need. Then hopefully, people will be kind. “I chose love. I chose kindness” is a better t-shirt, I’d say.
18. Roll With It
Life can certainly throw curve balls. You can choose to freak out or you can trust that God above got this. I am not saying it is easy. It’s about how you choose to go through it.
I personally have had my share of panic attacks. With age, they are less because I chose how they affect me.
Yes, worry is real. I worry about my kids all the time. But in the end, I know God’s got them and I don’t need or choose to play God. Roll with it.
My daughter asked me the other day how I went from manic panic mode to chill and funny. We had been packing the car with my paddle board and had an 11:00am appointment to play on the lake. I realized that being a manic to get everyone ready and out the door on time was not helping. I made a choice to change my attitude. Life lesson learned.
19. Spin It Positive
How many of us deal with negative thoughts or doubts about what we can do, how we look, and more. When I learned that those negative thoughts are all lies, it changed everything.
Our thoughts can be a dangerous thing. Take them captive, put them in a black plastic bad, tie it up with a chain, add a cinder block, and throw it into the ocean.
That may be a bit drastic but another way to get rid of ‘stinkin thinkin’ is to change the thought. Just like changing the radio station, change the frequency of your mind. Replace it with a song, a positive thought, an image of your happy place or whatever works to change it out. Spin it positive.
20. Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry
This one has been with me for years. In fact, a few years ago, I had to eliminated all hurry. I totally shut down. My health forced me to stop. This isn’t the first time I was forced to stop, drop and think it out.
Eliminating hurry is a tool in my toolbox of life. I learned it from a mentor years ago. She learned it from Dallas Willard.
When we have space to think and not be hurried with life’s to-do lists, we can be kind, we can listen well to others, we can love well, and we can be loved well. When we are too busy, we end up missing what truly matters.
The next time someone asks you, ‘how are you?’, and you respond with ‘busy’, take note. Lately when I am asked, my response is ‘blessed to make it to 50.’
Things have been busy lately, but I am grateful because I am taking note of what truly matters.
I am by no means and expert, psychologist or medical expert. What I am is a person who has had a little life under her belt.
Hopefully the snippets above are a helpful reminder of what matters. Again, life is a gift, make sure you live it well.
Julie is the founder of Organizemama. Her passion for organizing comes from her Lean Six Sigma Project Management training. She also holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Management. She believes in the saying “a place for everything and everything in its place.”
If Julie is not organizing, she is enjoying the outdoors with her two girls and her husband.