As I prepare to turn 50 (yeah, 50) this weekend, I can’t help but reflect. Who wouldn’t.

I’m thinking back to the panic I felt when I was turning 24 (yeah, 24). It was going to be non-stop from that day forward to 25, and 25 was a quarter of a century, and halfway to 50.

And here I am. 50.

I am in a great place. I thought I’d be panicked, and I have had my moments throughout the year, but I’m good. I might go so far as to say, “50 is looking pretty sweet.”

Reflecting, my 20s were all about trying to figure out my path; what did I want to be when I grew up? I was a kid trying to be an adult. I wore the right shoes and the right clothes. I wore my hair up and made sure the outsides looked the part of the role I was playing (administrative assistant, grassroots organizer, lobbyist). What I didn’t understand was why the adults (those over 40) still thought of me as a kid.

My 30s were all about trying to fill the adult shoes around me — wife, mother, event planner, legal marketer. I was “in my 30s,” respect me. And the people around me were starting to. However, my insides were still so insecure. The clothes fit, but they were not comfortable. Impostor syndrome was in full force.

My 40s were where I found my true and authentic self. I shed the layers that no longer had meaning, no longer fit, no longer felt comfortable. The death of my college boyfriend really propelled me forward. Life was too short, and it was starting to speed up. If this is all there was, it wasn’t enough, and the only way it was going to change was by me changing it.

And here I am, less than a week away from 50.

My life is not perfect, but my insides are at peace. The impostor syndrome that was still lurking around until a few years ago has completely left me. I feel 100% at peace in my skin, and in my life. I no longer “think” something is true, I “know” it to be true. I also know how to know something without being arrogant or smug about it.

I was looking for a graphic for this post and everything I found about turning 50 is about trying to feel and look like you did in your 20s or 30s, or a joke about getting old.

I don’t want to feel like I did in my 20s or 30s, and I am fine with how I look. And turning 50 to me is not about the jokes of getting old (although my dad, I’m sure, did get me a subscription to AARP), but about the reflection of where I am, how I got here, what I can share and pass along, and where I get to go today.

If nothing else, my experience has taught me that I am just one part of a greater whole. How I experience that today is different, not better, than it was in my 20s, 30s, and 40s.

So here I am.

  • From my Android phone on T-Mobile. The first nationwide 4G network.

  • happy birthday, kid! great post!

  • Jonathan Groner

    Death of an old boyfriend .. Yes I see how that might affect you. Beautifully said.

  • One cool tip I;ll pass on,when you wake up in the morning, remember, you’re having the time of your life!

  • sidoxia

    An eye opener and motivator for me too Heather…Happy 50th!

  • Heather,
    Happy Happy Belated Birthday! I thank you for being a beacon of hope & possibility throughout the struggles of my 30s. Your Grace, Wisdom & Faith in yourself inspired me & you always challenged/engaged me. I don’t think you realize that I’ve viewed you as another Mother figure in my life. From the moment we met across a table when I was at Sheppard Mullin, to 2008 when we sat across dinner at a vendor event during LMA, to our taking on blogging together, to our lunch last year at Mendocino, you have shown me my value. It’s hard to be a Woman capable of having it all in a world that says that’s not your place. I love the woman that you continue to become while you teach me to dream bigger. In Golden Girls terms I simply must say “Thank You For Being a Friend” 1st & foremost. May God continue to guide is both.
    Love Always,
    AAARenee