Fiftiness began as a conversation in early summer 2015. Two years into my fifties, and just coming out of the fog of sending my oldest to college, with my youngest getting ready to begin her applications, and about to celebrate twenty-five years of marriage (to the same person!), I was feeling as if I had missed something. Where had all the time gone? How did I get to the other side of fifty? When I described myself to a friend as old, feeling old, getting old, oh, I’m so old, I was told fifty is just a number. Just a number. That phrase stuck with me. Just a number. So, I started asking questions of friends, acquaintances, and strangers in bars about being fifty. How do you feel, now that you’re in your fifties? Is it better than you thought? Do you wake up optimistic? What about sex, are you having any? With your significant other? How do you feel about your body, about empty nesting, about going back to work or retiring and starting a passion project?
The conversations went deep fast in that way that only women can dig into a conversation fast and meaningful, in hushed tones that broke with crazy laughter.
I found, contrary to previous notions of what it was to be fifty, there was electricity in the air. The women talked as if they had been waiting for someone to ask these questions as if so much was on the tip of their futures and they were bursting with possibilities.
So I added good food, wine and cocktails, and a camera crew. One Saturday afternoon we let the cameras roll as we began to talk. I had no expectations, I just asked for honesty. Five hours or so later, with the sound guy’s arm about to melt from holding up the boom, we turned off the cameras. Better than therapy, was the phrase most often repeated. We’ll do this again? was asked as everyone hugged each other and said goodbye. Listening to these women telling their stories, the commonalities, the empathy, the advice, the laughter, was magical. Without question, everyone walked out into the late afternoon sun on that early spring day feeling in the midst of something wonderful coming.
And so, I give you nine very incredible women in Let’s Talk – the first of many videos from Fiftiness.