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50 Important Things I Learned Before Turning Fifty

Carissa Garabedian is the publisher of Know Different and mother to a special needs child in Richmond, Virginia. On her website she shares her commitment and passion on reaching into the lives of special needs families in Richmond as well as her thoughts on turning fifty.

50 things learned on turning fiftyMany of you have read that I recently turned fifty. I had a great party with family and friends and that I have a bucket list I am slowly filling.

What I am focusing on now is a little more important, it holds some substance and some life lessons that I want to share with you. Maybe one or two of them will hold true for you, maybe not. But, I am such a believer in sharing and learning from one another that I want to hope this may offer one person the moment of feeling not alone.

I also want to have it written so that I can use it as a tool to reflect on when I need it.

Here goes- in NO particular order.

50 Things I Learned Turning Fifty

1. 50 is NOT old. Old is a relative term and your spirit determines how old you feel.

2. Say NO. Don’t waste time thinking or making excuses for things you don’t want to do.

3. Your time is important. Spend it where you want and when you want.

4. Buy the eye creme for $60 if you want it. You deserve it. (It may not take the lines away, but enjoy it!)

5. Make time for you every day. Even if it is 10 minutes.

6. Know where your important papers are. Birth certificate, deeds, etc. You should know and have access to this information.

7. Have a valid passport. You may decide to plan a spontaneous trip!

8. Write down your favorite recipes. Make a book of the ones that are the most special to you.

9. Along the same lines, write down some of your favorite memories. Reflecting on these moments will bring such joy.

Take Care of Yourself

10. Exercise. Yup, you can. Find something you like and do it. Yoga, walking, whatever it is – do it and keep it up.

11. Take a vitamin. Every day.

12. Smile, it really is contagious and it helps the wrinkles!

13. Ask your relatives to share stories about your ancestors. Write them down. History is cool, especially when it is tied to your life.

14. Toxic people will always be around, remove yourself. You do not have to be cruel, but there is power in choosing who you surround yourself with.

15. Friends change. In all phases of life. It is okay.

16. Laugh. Let it out and if you are loud or laughing alone, that is fine, too!

17. Get the massage. Don’t wait. Make it 75 minutes and splurge.

Prioritize Your Time

18. Sheets don’t have to be folded. Seriously. They get put on the bed and stretched out, stuff them in the pillow case after you wash them. I just saved you some time!

19. People will disappoint you. It will hurt, you will cry. There is always a lesson. Life is not fair, it does not make sense, but we adjust, adapt and move on. The pain will subside.

20. We make mistakes. Forgive yourself.

21. Go to the movies by yourself, or even a meal out. It is so liberating. You can do it!

22. Say you are sorry. Admitting error is humbling. Humbling keeps you grateful.

23. Be grateful. (see above)

24. Trust your gut, it knows. That voice is there for a reason.

25. Everyone will not like you, that is NOT your problem, move on. It’s their loss.

26. Your house can be a little messy. Let some of it go.

You Know What’s Important

27. Let the people that matter to you know how much you appreciate them.

28. Make the phone call. Don’t put it off. Hear the voice on the other end.

29. Dance. Like no one is watching. As often as you can.

30. Stop at yellow lights. It is just safer, the extra few seconds won’t matter. Your life does.

31. Love your work. It’s never to late to start something new. Let your passion lead you.

32. Make your doctor appointments. Mammogram, physicals, all of them. Every year. Stay on top of this.

33. Make time for the friends that make you smile.

34. Hug. It is contagious and when those arms embrace you, it feels so good.

35. Get those pictures out of the box and into an album. If you are all digital, get them on your computer. They need to be stored and saved in a safe place.

36. Make your lists. Use your lists. Don’t stress over the items you did not get done. Be proud of the ones you did.

37. Moderation is key. Wine, Sun, Coffee, Cake, Soda… it is all okay, in moderation.

38. Read. Escape in a book. As often as you can.

39. A movie or TV marathon is fun. Popcorn and pajamas would be a plus.

Be Kind

40. Hold the door. Watch the smile on the person you let in or out. Smiles are catching!

41. Mail the card. Nothing is better than getting a hand written note in the mail.

42. Cross off a bucket list item. Don’t have one? Make one.

43. If you don’t have a pet, get a pet. There is nothing like that unconditional love.

44. Buy the flowers, light the candle, use the “good china”. Why not? What are you waiting for?

45. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. At the doctor, at the gym, at class. Your questions matter and someone else may have the same exact one.

46. You will misjudge people. It’s okay. If they are in your life, it worked out. If they are not, it worked out.

You’ve Learned a Lot

47. Your mom was right about so much. If she is still around, tell her.

48. Your kids will realize you, too, were right about so much. They may tell you, especially if you let them know you’ve told your mom.

49. Every day is such a gift, find the presents. The sun, the rain, the butterflies, whatever it is, let it bring you a moment of peace.

50. YOU are worth it. Yes, you are! Do not ever take that for granted!

Extra Tip: Wear a tiara, whenever you want. You’ve earned it!

What was your favorite on this list? Any I forgot that you would add? I found myself thinking of more with a few that I wrote. I think the list evolves, as does our life and how we live every day.

Thanks for sharing in mine.

Carissa Garabedian

Carissa Garabedian is the founder of She loves to cook, read and be with her family. She is also passionate about having all communities be sure to include special need families be included in local events. Instagram: Carissa66RVA

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Saturday 12th of November 2016

Hi Carissa, it's a really wise, practical and inspirational list. I can identify with many things on it - point 49 particularly - I think appreciating what you have is really important. Thank you!

carissa garabedian

Sunday 13th of November 2016

Thanks Jacqui, I agree. Funny, this list is helping me so much, every day, I did not expect that. So happy you liked it

Laurie Oien

Friday 11th of November 2016

Great list and agree with all of them! In fact, it was just this year that I went to a movie by myself. I'm 53 and had never done that before for whatever reason. You're was liberating.

carissa garabedian

Friday 11th of November 2016

Thanks Laurie! I am so glad you tried! It is so nice to share and have others get something positive from it.

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