5 new criteria to measure life after 50

There is a new set of criteria for the 50 plus years which more accurately measures this wonderful stage of human development. Experiencing the benefits of this new stage can even ease the occasional ache and hot flash. It is a mistake to use the performance based criteria of mid life to measure life after 50 because life after 50 is different. It is richer, broader and deeper. Take the quiz below and be forewarned: there is no final score. Enjoy reflecting on each of the questions and use them as a measurement only for your own internal reference.

1. Femininity

Femininity starts at birth and continues till death; it is not defined by the tampon years or by the media. It is a glorious accident of birth and chromosome mix that cannot be lost because it is a woman’s very nature—a nature with many outward faces culturally defined and shaped, but all just as they should be. You own your femininity. In such expanded self-knowledge we celebrate both the individual woman and what we know deep inside us and all our sisters sharing their birthright.

How feminine do you still feel?

2. Desire

Time may run out for some things in life—success in business and a chance to marry or raise a family, for example. But the end of a particular time can be a door, not a wall—a door that releases us from the theory of set patterns in life, releases us into the spontaneous flow of life. There is something perfect in our sense of timing when we can let go of the desires of a lifetime and experience not loss, but freedom . . . not an ending, but a new beginning.

To what degree are you still hanging on to old desires?

3. Sense of Personal Safety

You no longer need the approval of others or any other external validation to make you feel good about yourself. So many women wait expectantly for someone or something outside themselves to complete them and make them feel safe, when all along they had everything they needed to be whole. When you realize this, the power that others had to hurt you is gone. You are safe, safe to speak the undressed truth that before you might have swallowed in fear. Here’s the irony: everyone else around you is made so much safer by that truth as well.

How comfortable are you in your own skin?

4. Wonder Quotient

Wonder becomes available once again in aging. At both ends of life’s continuum, time is focused naturally on the present—but unlike a child; the light of wonder in the eyes of the mature woman is not naiveté. It is sophisticated wonder which comes from living fully present and curious in the wonder of each moment. So fully present that there is little space available within which to cultivate regret and fear.

How much time do you spend in wonder?

5. Tolerance

We begin the journey to tolerance by seeing and rejoicing in our own uniqueness and our own unique contribution to this planet. Then we see the uniqueness of others, their shapes and colors and their own inescapable and essential contribution. From this point of view we live and let live with dignity and integrity on all sides. What impact might this vision have on power struggles, environmental issues, and human rights? How could it change our world?

How much have you given up your ideas about how others “ought” to live and behave?

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