25 Of The 50 Things I Learned By The Time I Turned 50

So Brad Pitt, Michelle Obama and I walk into a bar…

Well, not really.

But we could, if we knew each other. There’s that.

And we could, if we three were to celebrate something each of us has done in the last 12 months—turn 50 years old.

In honor of my pretend friends’ and my mutual milestone, I offer you, Dear Reader, “25 Of The 50 Things I Learned By Time I Turned 50.”

Spoiler Alert: If you have yet to turn 50, you might not want to read on, as I wouldn’t trade the bumpy, bruising ride it took me to figure these things out on my own.  I also wouldn’t have believed most of them until 50, some not before 40, and almost none before 30.

Here goes:

1) You will have zits and gray hair at the same time, one of Mother Nature’s cruelest jokes. Well, maybe not you, Brad. You’ve probably never had a pimple in your life.

2) First to marry doesn’t necessarily marry best. Would’ve made those endless weddings in my 20’s so much more bearable.

3) Richest, most successful guy in the room will probably also make the worst husband. What you mistake for power, you will discover is a love for himself above all else. (Sorry, Michelle.)

4) Whom someone loves and partners with is no one’s business. Doesn’t matter their gender, height, or breakfast cereal preference. Just because you don’t want to be with someone doesn’t mean someone else can’t.

5) You can’t mess up the right one; Can’t make the wrong one work. This is true for all things you try to chase: men, jobs, the perfect house.

6) Weird things don’t happen to normal people. There’s a reason that “unlucky” friend of yours has drama after drama.

7) I never claimed to be normal.

8) Size does not matter when buying clothes. Buy what fits best.

9) Parents are just people who preceded you on the generational track. Chances are you didn’t get a saint, just someone who did their best. Time to own your own issues.

10) Everyone does the best they can all the time. Doesn’t mean you have to like it, but accepting it, makes life a whole lot easier and realistic.

11) Most swirling thoughts that make you feel bad include at least one sentence with the word “Should.” (He should, she should, I should.)

12) It’s time to break up with “Should.” Should, says who?

13) Being tired magnifies all emotions. First thing to ask yourself when you fall apart: “How much sleep have I had?”

14) There are few things that can’t be made better by either taking a hot shower or walking your dog.

15) No better medicine for a pity party than helping someone else in need. You can’t think about your woes while focused on someone else.

16) Biology is over rated. Don’t like your crazy relatives? Add your awesome friends to your family. Holidays will rock!

17) Biology is over rated, Part Two: Want to be a parent? There are plenty of kids who need parents.

18) Your kid won’t care about your career success. They care that you’re a great mom.

19) Happiness is a choice.

20) The greatest power you will ever have is choosing to be the kind of person you want to be. No one can take your grace, class, or kindness.

21) Throw parties. Lots of parties! Don’t wait for your wedding to have your favorite people meet your people.

22) Everything ends. Every job, relationship, and life. We get so excited about beginnings, complacent with middles, and devastated at endings when they are all part of the natural order of things.

23) You will need to reinvent yourself more than once in this life. See #22 for why.

24) “Qi” is an acceptable word when playing “Words With Friends.”

25) Stop complaining about your age and getting old. By now, you have at least one friend who has passed who would trade places in a second.

So why share only 25 of my 50? Because they only give me so much space and Dear Reader, I would love to know what you could add to the list. What did you learn by 50?  Educate me or let me know what you think of my list in the comments section below.

Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.




  • Peter Coleman

    But you only look 29 Daryn!

  • Real people and real stories are much more interesting than bad “reality” TV.

    Smiling at someone you don’t know can change the course of both your days.

    Road rage is never a good idea, say to yourself “They have an emergency. ” Move over and move on.

    Home really is where your heart is.

    “Yes Mam” is so refreshing now, much better than “Do you have a senior card?”

    Teach your child. Listen to your child. Love your child.

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25 Of The 50 Things I Learned By The Time I Turned 50

by DarynKagan time to read: 3 min
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