January 12, 2008

50 is the new 50

Nancy Griffin writes in the AARP magazine*

You heard it here first: 2008 is the year that will forever change the image of 50. Consider the bumper crop of rock stars and sex symbols who will hit the half-century mark—including Sharon Stone, Madonna, Viggo Mortensen, Ellen DeGeneres, Prince, and Michelle Pfeiffer, just to name a few.

Does that mean 50 is the new 30? Not really. Most of us, at 50 and beyond, are happy with the lines we’ve earned and the lives we’ve led. Still, nobody can deny that being a quinquagenarian today is a whole new ball game. Fifty can mean starting a brand-new career or soaring to new heights in an old one (before Lord of the Rings, few would have recognized the accomplished indie actor Viggo Mortensen). It can mean having young children (Stone has three kids under age seven). Or it can mean the freedom and confidence to do whatever the heck you want—whether it’s to spend time with family, write children’s books, take to the stage in a corset, or, like Madonna, do all three.

So in honor of AARP’s 50th anniversary we hereby proclaim: “50 is the new 50.

* Don't ask me why I am reading an article for retired people (AARP) - its just one of he wonders of the internet and my desultory mind. :) Actually, I happened to land there somehow after reading Garrison Keillor's Writers Almanac for Jan 9th, which tells us that Krantz, "was a fashion editor for Good Housekeeping magazine, then a freelance journalist. It wasn't until she was 51, and her children were grown, that she wrote her first book. She began working on a novel, writing six and a half hours a day, five days a week. After nine months, her book, Scruples, was completed. It was published in March of 1978. Four months later it became number one on The New York Times best-seller list and remained there for almost one year."

Judith Tarcher Krantz said at her 40th Reunion at Wellesley some years back:
"Just in time for my 50th birthday, I discovered that I could write fiction. My husband had urged me to try fiction for 15 years before I did. . . . I believed that if I couldn't write 'literature,' I shouldn't write at all. . . . Now, I would say to young women, do something you have a true feeling for, no matter how little talent you may believe you have. Let no masterwork be your goal—a modest goal may lead you further than you dream."
Those words are inspiring to me, though I am not a "young woman"....but will I act?

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