Fabulous at 50

February 14, 2022

I am fifty. Writing that down—or saying it out loud—blows my mind!  How did I get here?  “Do I feel fifty?” you ask. Hell no! I feel a little bit like my true four-year-old self, and I feel a bit like my chubby ten-year-old self, a little like my fun eighteen-year-old self, the adventurous twenty-five-year-old self, the trying to figure out life thirty-five-year-old self and the defining late forty-ish-year-old self. I finally feel all parts of me. 

But I don’t feel fifty.  I feel younger.  I feel younger than I have ever felt.  I have lived on this earth for fifty years, but I feel like I’m truly starting my life. 

Lessons from My Nani 

I had a conversation with my beautiful grandmother, my Nani, many years ago when she was probably eighty-nine years old.  Before I get into that, let me talk about this remarkable woman who is fifty years older than me.  She is currently ninety-nine and, in 2022, my Nani will turn 100 years old.  She is a pistol, a beautiful soul, a matriarch, and so human.  I love her.  We all love her. She is the mother of all mothers (and the mother of my mother who is another remarkable human being).  

Nani and me

Now to what my grandmother said to me when she was eighty-nine years old after my beloved grandfather passed away.  My grandmother said that even though her body has aged, and on the outside, she looks wrinkly, she’s slow, and she can’t do what she used to do.  On the inside, nothing has changed for her.  She still has the thoughts and yearnings of a young woman. She is still curious, she wants to learn, she loves beautiful things, she loves make-up, she loves meeting new people.  She said people don’t see her that way, but she feels this way. 

And now I fully can appreciate what she said.  I’m not that old yet, but I feel how she feels.  She always had this spark for life. Even now when she is dealing with dementia and now has the freedom to tell people to piss off when she doesn’t feel like dealing with them (lucky her), you can still tell she has this spark.  She also has always had a strong relationship with God and a spiritual foundation that has held her up in the toughest of times.  Because her life was not easy.  

Returning My Spark

I get it now. Life can be hard. But who drives our lives?  I thought I was in the driver’s seat, but I also see how I wasn’t.  I thought I knew what would make me happy and that I had to prove myself.  But I don’t have to prove myself…to anyone else but me.  And now I get it.  My father sent me a picture of me when I was between two and four years old.  I see the spark. Over the years sometimes the spark was low and sometimes it was a roaring fire.  

But now I love that spark. It’s more consistent.  It’s bright and I realize that is what matters.  

So, I’m half-a-century. I know I’m a late bloomer. I finally accept it.  

Time is Fleeting

Do I have regrets? Yes. I should have been nicer to myself and, like my grandmother now, I have been quicker to tell people to piss off instead of torturing myself.  Do I feel behind others or have missed out on some things that I thought would happen in my life, like meeting the love of my life? 100% yes. (How ironic is it that I was born on Valentine’s Day!) But, I also now take 100% responsibility for that. 

Do I feel like I’m running out of time? Hell yes!  Time now has become my most important indicator. Especially time with my parents. That is hitting me really hard.  They still annoy the shit out of me most days, but I have more patience with them because turning fifty makes me realize that the two people who have been a constant in my life, my support, my rocks, the ones that gave me life as well as a lot of issues—well, my time with them is limited. 

The flipside of this is that, at fifty years old when I am with my parents, there are times that I become the parent but still, I’m their child and they worry about my basic needs.  At fifty years old, I still get asked did I eat enough, did I sleep enough, and to clean shit up. Now it means more to me (and still annoys me). 

At fifty, I’m also scared.  I am scared of what aging will do.  It’s the unknown. Yet, I do know, deep inside that spark will never die.  My wish for the next fifty years is that I stay true to myself and continue to live with the spark and let it grow…and tell people to piss off when needed. Better self-expression 😉

An Early Birthday Gift to Me

Turning fifty has made me reflect on so many things; mainly, who am I or who do I want to be now.  I keep thinking of this in terms of a new identity, but when I peel back all the layers of what got me here, it’s not a new identity. It’s my true identity. 

My Nani said it to me once, “You haven’t changed since the day you were born.”  What she meant was, that at even forty years old, I was like a happy-go-lucky puppy thrilled to see her: smiling, hugging, and just so happy.  She said that when I was a child, I was the same way…literally climbing all over her. While I’m no longer climbing her, I definitely enveloped her in a huge hug. 

I gave myself an early birthday present by being in London, my absolute favorite place.  You’ll hear more about it through my blog posts and a running thread in my life.  Why is it my favorite place?  Besides the energy, architecture, the accent, I have always felt sheer, unconditional happiness there.  Just walking around Marylebone or Hyde Park makes me so happy.  And I feel myself.  I feel beautiful.  I feel alive. I love myself and everyone else even more.  For no reason. I smile for no reason. 

My One True Love

London at night

This last trip to London was different.  There was life happening…work, family, friends, COVID.  Yet every time I stepped out to go for a walk, my world was beautiful. My body, soul, and mind were at ease.  I had tears of joy and gratefulness in my eyes.  There was space. 

I had this same feeling over twenty years ago when I first started working in London.  That’s when my true love affair with this city began.  And that is the feeling I have been chasing.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have had moments of that feeling in Toronto, my beloved hometown which I also love, and in New York City when I would take early morning walks through the Upper East Side and Central Park. These moments come upon me even in Chicago, my current home and sanctuary. 

But London is unique.  And this trip—as in every other trip to London—I got that same feeling.  This trip, though, I understood it better.  I was grounded in it.  I appreciated it for what it really is: the real love of my life.  The feeling of being truly connected to me, my dreams, my happiness, my joy, and the Universe.  Sounds new age-y, but it’s true.  I got all of that while walking in Hyde Park with a cup of coffee.  That’s who I am and that is who I want to be because she feels like light.  I know I’ll be peeling back even more layers because, for almost fifty years, I hid her.  Not intentionally.  I just didn’t know better.  Now I do. 

Expressing Gratitude

Me at 50

This is fifty.  It’s lovely.  I’m proud that I gave myself this early birthday present because I am happy.  I’m also grateful.  I’m grateful for God—or Spirit or the Universe.  I’m going to call her God for now.  That spiritual connection with God and myself is becoming even stronger.  And it’s not based on religion through our Durga is a beautiful representation of the beauty and strength I aspire to. 

I’m also grateful for my beautiful family—every single one of them.  My immediate family, my extended family, generations of my family.   I’m grateful for my amazing friends. This group of people—across the world—are the most loving, giving, funny, kindest people a girl can ask for and I don’t know how I got so lucky in this lifetime to have them in my life. 

I’m thankful for my career, my colleagues, and those co-workers who became friends and family.  This journey is about incorporating it all. I’m thankful for the abundance in all forms—financial, love, spiritual.  I’m even thankful for second chances that have helped me learn more about myself.  I’m thankful for my body and spirit.

Yes, turning fifty has made me think.  It’s also made me realize it’s okay to express this because as my great-grandfather, my Nani’s father, once told me, “As you get older, you don’t care what people will say…and whatever they say doesn’t really matter.”  Notice the trend? I love that I’m following in their footsteps of not giving a shit.   I also love that I’m embodying and embracing who I am.

So now I celebrate fifty…but actually celebrate life.  It won’t be easy.  This blog is my gift to myself for self-expression.  I hope that it brings some joy and helps others but if it doesn’t. OH WELL!  Haha!

Your turn

What are you grateful for? What lessons would you share with your younger self?

1 Comment

  1. Richa

    Loved every word Gauri! Loved the photo with Nani! You aren’t a bad Indian, you are ( and this is my favourite American word) you are a badass Indian! Keep writing, I look forward to your next post and enjoy Londres. I wish I could come hang with you, and I will one of these days I promise!

    Reply

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Gauri lives life full out and shares her experiences, challenges, and insights candidly on this blog, A Bad Indian.

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