This month I will turn 50. It feels like a big milestone, it is a big milestone! I’ll be double the age my beautiful sister Louise was when she died. I’ve been reflecting on what thoughts to share. Do I write about the vulnerability of sharing personal things like this one and the fear (and courage) this brings? Do I write about grief and loss and pain? Do I write about the power of sisters, both Louise who’s always with me and Lisa, my other truly amazing sister who’s right by my side albeit from Greece? Do I write about getting older, stiffer, wiser perhaps and what happens to our bodies as we age? Or do I write about the gift of ageing? The gift of reaching 50, when so many don’t? Yes. This. The others can wait.
I find it so interesting to observe and be present to how people react when you share that you’re reaching a milestone. The older ones often say ‘well you think it’s bad now, wait until you’re 60/70/80!’ The younger or similar age people often say ‘wow, you look great (for your age) ;-). Did you know that the average life expectancy in 1955 was just 48 years? In 1995 it was 65 years, in 2025 it will reach 73 years and I am not sure about you, but I know many people older than this and in really good health. My aunt is 92 years young and whilst Covid-19 and lockdown has contributed to her hopefully temporary loss of confidence, she truly is an inspiration. When you ask her what keeps her young, she says ‘getting out and always learning new things.’ She took up Tai Chi at 80, and joined a Philosophy class at 90. I heard about the first Covid-19 death of someone I know last week. He was late 60s and had underlying health problems. It has really upset me. He won’t reach his next milestone. He was a gentle and kind man.
What does it mean to reach another milestone? I remember at 40 my brother-in-law shared his thoughts about this age. He said when we get to 40, we have to make a conscious choice whether to take care of ourselves or not. To eat well, to move well, to exercise and so on. I think he was right, to put health before wealth and health from a mind/body/spirit perspective not just looking ‘good’. I am sharing a poem which my friend and fellow yoga teacher Liz shared with me. I love it and it’s stuck on my fridge. It reminds me that we’re so blessed to be alive, even during this tough, tough times and that gratitude and a sense of adventure stand for alot. I hope you like it too. And as Liz also shared: ‘health is wealth, peace of mind happiness and yoga leads the way’. Whatever you next milestone is, I hope you can celebrate it in style. Emma x