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Sheree Zielke
World Traveler, Writer & Photographer

A Baby Boomer who loves travel, travel writing, photography, teaching digital camera and photography, and sharing travel tips and stories.


Baby Boomer Life Adventures: Celebrate Turning 50!

What's not to love? I could hardly wait to turn 50. And now I can hardly wait to turn 60. I love the 2nd half of my life so much so, that each year I celebrate my birthday in a foreign country or city. I turned 50 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia; 51 in Rome, Italy; 52 in New York City; and I'll turn 53 in West Country, England or maybe some other exotic location.

I don't just love my life as I head to the far side of 50; I am IN love with life headed to the far side of 50. I get to plan fun things, sometimes at the drop of a hat, like flying to New York City to celebrate in every month of the year. We've already done Thanksgiving, Christmas, and St. Patrick's Day.

On a whim, I decided to become a cruise ship speaker. An off-shoot of that led to me becoming a whale naturalist. I've since studied whales out of a New England college and have whale-watched up and down both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans . Right whales off Argentina are next on my list.

My life has not been easy; I have fought for everything I have achieved. As a farm girl, I worked since I was very young and have been supporting myself since I ran away from my abusive home life at 15. I learned new responsibilities with the birth of my first child at 17. I put myself through college, three marriages, and I have opened small businesses. I have earned my time on the far side of 50; I expect to fully exploit my rewards.

My life on the far side of 50 is filled with expectation. I wake up every morning like it's Christmas day; I can hardly wait to see what the day will bring, both the good and the bad. And there is bad, plenty of it. But that's okay, because I've learned the good is just around the corner. Sometimes, that corner is miles away, but it is still there.

I drive a fantastic car; yes, it's hard on gas, but so what! My house is paid for; I don't drink, smoke or do drugs, so I buy gas. And cute little April Cornell outfits for my granddaughters.

I know how to use the Internet for everything I need; I run my own web site; I have an eBay store; I teach digital cameras and photography at a city college; and I write any time of the day or night.

My time is my own, I have a great husband, we are happily married, and we don't need any help in the bedroom. In fact, the empty nest means a little more freedom in the bedroom, too.

Did I mention that my time is my own? It's that freedom that is the source of my real joy on the far side of 50. As an empty nester, and an aging baby boomer, I can choose how to spend my day. As a freelance writer, I choose when to write; as a freelance teacher, I choose when to teach.

As to the kids' inheritance, hey, they can make their own money. I taught them how to be independent; I taught them how to take care of themselves. I worked for my money and I'll spend it how I choose. And that includes buying a Mario & Luigi "Partners in Time" video game on eBay for my precocious eldest grandson.

Am I worried about our country running out of pension funds in my real old age? Not even a little bit. I'm training to be a bag lady on Waikiki Beach where the elderly are treated with great care. Not really, but it's a thought, just in case things on the farther side of 50 get a little tough.

But until that time, I have found that I can have it all on the far side of 50, all the time in the world: time for my wonderful grandkids; time to travel with my husband (Africa is next); time to work as I choose; time to ponder; and best of all, time to call my own.

And so can you. It's just a matter of attitude. Embrace the second half of your life with anticipation and excitement. There is so much life to live, and so little time to live it. C'mon, jump into the pool. The water's just fine. I promise.

 

Sheree Zielke
Edmonton, Alberta Canada

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