Americans Pick 50 As The Perfect Age!


Americans Pick 50 As The Perfect Age!
50 is the new 30!

When the journalist from interviewed me as to why Americans would pick 50 as the ideal age, I had a lot to say: 

"You're young enough to be famous or start an organic farm and still have the muscle tone to work eight hours a day. You're old enough to have wisdom but young enough that your parents are still alive so you have a generational experience. If you're tired, you can ask the young man on the bus to get out of his seat for you. Or you can date the young man. The more I think about it, the more appealing it is!...

“I really think 50 is the new 30 to 35.  For a woman, you can stay stylish and fit and maybe get your hair dyed or just do a little [cosmetic] tune-up and feel, ‘Wow, this is great.' In terms of childbearing, you can basically say forget it or if you want a baby at 50 or 53, you can get your hormones juiced up and go for it.” 

And to top it off, "research shows that as we age, we tend to be less depressed, less anxious and more optimistic than our juniors. And we also become more comfortable with ourselves and our bodies."

Later, after our interview, I pondered the choice of 50, and had even more thoughts, particularly around women:  Women often can't take time for themselves until well into their 40's.  The combination of working, child-rearing, cooking, cleaning, and a million other chores, usually make it impossible for most women to step away enough from multi-tasking to really think about themselves.

The result can be a feeling of discontent, sometimes even depressive feelings as we feel a disconnect from our core self.  I talk about 'a hole in my heart', something that I, along with many of my clients felt in our 40's.  As I developed my positive psychology concepts around The Enchanted Self ® I realized that most of the heart pain was coming from not being in touch with our true potential, let alone our strengths, talents and interests.  Too often we put ourselves last.  Many of us had even forgotten what our likes, preferences, hopes and aspirations were.

That's why 50ish can be such a golden age!  The kids are on mostly on their own, often our parents are still functioning okay.  If health is on our side we finally have time to focus on ourselves.  Even on a limited budget, one can Tango dance at night and have a juicy chat with a girlfriend without having to jump up to change a diaper or wipe someone else's runny nose.  On the other hand, not everyone would pick 50.  And maybe we should really think out of the box and work at getting back to our true selves, no matter what our age.

Here's something I think you should do, whether you are 22 or 92.  Make a list of your talents, strengths and potential.  If you don't know where to start scan your childhood and start with what you felt good at as a child.  Don't worry if the talent didn't make you into a star.  Even one year of piano if you enjoyed it, or having a small garden or loving to draw pictures counts.  Whatever it was, it is a signal to you.  The secret is discovering what has great appeal to you and then figuring out how to reinvent it to fit who you are now.

Can't get into toe shoes?  How about square dancing?  Can't play the violin?  How about taking more time to listen to the music you love?  Can't plant a big vegetable garden? What about some pots of tomatoes and herbs?  There is always a way home to oneself.

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Barbara Becker Holstein


Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Positive Psychologist and Happiness Coach

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