I'm sure you're more than familiar with the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." It's an African quote/proverb referring to everyone (including people in other villages) banning together for the welfare of the children to make sure they are safe, fed, nurtured, and taught the lessons they need to survive. It's not just the parents or the household's responsibility. Everyone in the community must play a part for the child to thrive.
I think the same thing holds true, in a way, for adults. Especially women. We thrive when we have a sisterhood. We thrive when we have a tribe or a Girl Gang that has our back. Someone who can say, "Sis, you got lipstick on your teeth." or "Girl, you killed that presentation." or "Or friend, I admire you." Other women who affirm us and who genuinely want us to succeed and be happy.
When you hit your fifties it's more important than ever to know you're not alone navigating this decade. Time out for the competition and cattiness. That's one of the reasons I started the Face of Fifty. To create a place/space where black women in their fifties can be celebrated, encouraged, and empowered. A safe place to go where we are understood and supported. Thank you to all of the magnificent women who have helped this community thrive for the past year! Y'all are amazing!
I am a firm believer in the saying, "We make time for what's important." Yes, it's true time passes quickly. Yes, it's true that some of us have a ton of things to tackle in a short period of time. But it is also true that many of us waste a large amount of time each day. Then we complain that we don't have time to workout, to get a decent night's sleep, read a book, start a passion project, call a friend, etc. It's not that we don't have time, it's that we don't make time. We don't prioritize what's important. Here are three tips to prioritize your time:
1. Stop scrolling– Social media is a time suck. You can lie to yourself and say, I'm just going to check one thing right quick. . . .two hours later you've scrolled through your timeline liking and commenting. You've clicked on a link that took you down a rabbit hole where you ended up watching twenty TikTok videos or reading meme's. Most smartphones have timers where you can limit your screen time. You set the amount of time each day you want to be on social media, and the phone will kick you out of the app. I suggest using this if you don't have the willpower to stop yourself. Instead of scrolling, jump rope or read a few chapters from that book you bought two months ago.
2. Stop bingeing– Do you really need to watch all five seasons (20 episodes each) of a TV show in one sitting? You will NEVER get that time back. Pace yourself. Instead of watching all the shows, watch a couple and then go for a walk or clean out that junk drawer.
3. Start scheduling– I have at least ten timers set on my phone each day. Mostly because I suffer from CRS (can't remember shit) but also to remind me when I need to get stuff done. I also use the calendar on my phone for reminders. And not just for doctor or hair appointments. But I'll remind myself to walk around the house for twenty minutes, to put clothes in the washing machine, call my aunt, etc. And when the timer goes off, I stop what I'm doing and do the thing I made time for. . .
These small changes will not only allow you to reclaim your time, but also make a difference in your quality of life.
(photo courtesy of Natasha Hall via Unsplash)
People often tell me how impressed they are by something I've done or admire my ability to write books or start groups or do graphic design etc. Little do they know, I second guess every single move I make! Seriously. I know it may appear that I am this gregarious extrovert but I am, at my core, an introvert who gets extremely anxious every time I put out a project or host an event. I'm a former people pleaser, so it was always important that people liked me. Which meant I wanted everyone to like and approve of things that I put out into the world. So, I always hesitated or talked myself out of doing something.
But a funny thing happened. Someone close to me hurled a harsh criticism my way and I ain't gonna lie–it was painful. But guess what? I survived. That was my first real world lesson in knowing I could survive criticism or worse (GASP!) someone not liking me. Over time that evolved into me not caring if people approved of me or my decisions. If I did my best and can look myself in the mirror with no regrets. . ..that's all that matters.
These days, regardless whether if I'm feeling anxious or afraid of being misunderstood or unliked, I do what I want to do anyway! I encourage you to do the same. Life is getting shorter don't wait!
Photo courtesy Rodrigo do Reis via Unsplash
So often we put off enjoying our lives because we are alone. Instead of doing things that bring us happiness, we wait. We wait until we find that special someone or we wait until we can get a group of friends together. Let's end the waiting and learn to enjoy our own company. Take a solo trip. Take yourself out to dinner. Do whatever you want to do–with YOU. I guarantee when you learn to be happy by yourself, that energy will bring people to you. Not to mention, life is short. Don't wait on other people to LIVE.
If you're someone who gets easily bored when you're alone, here are some tips to make your solo time more bearable and even fun:
1. Create a playlist of your favorite songs and dance around your house or apartment like you're in a music video!
2. Organize your space. You know that closet or junk drawer you've been meaning to clear out. . .do it!
3. Lose yourself in a good book!
4. Listen to some interesting and uplifting podcasts.
5. Compile a list of movies or TV shows to binge watch on your day off.
Just make sure you're making a conscious effort to enjoy your own company–your peace, quiet, and YOU time!
(photo courtesy of Unsplash)
Since the beginning of time men have been policing women's bodies. Telling us what to do, how to dress, setting standards of beauty, and non-beauty. What the actual hell? I remember watching an episode of Living Single in the 90's and Kim Field's character, Regine asked Queen Latifah's character, Khadija what she thought the world would be like without men. To which Khadija quickly replied, "A bunch of fat, happy women and no crime."
Most of us have been hyper aware of our appearance since we sprouted breasts, wanting to look appealing to boys then later men. Or to fit some random (often impossible) standard of beauty set by MALE magazine and TV executives. But by the time you reach your fifties, you realize your body will never be like to was in your twenties, in some cases not even your thirties or forties. Whether it has undergone physical changes on the outside, or physiological changes on the inside. At the end of the day, we should be thankful that our bodies are still working and functioning properly because that's what matters most.
Your body is an imperfect vessel that has carried you for the last five decades, it deserves to be cherished and loved by YOU. Who cares what anyone else–especially a man–thinks! At this age and stage, it's about low blood pressure, low A1C and low cholesterol. Adopt a healthier lifestyle to add years to your life, not to fit in a swimsuit by summer. Focus on the main thing, and who knows, maybe in the end you'll still be able to rock that new swimsuit!
Every year when February rolls around (how is it February again!?) I think about the significance of Black History Month. Although we can and should celebrate black history aka American history year round, it's gratifying to know the world is focused on US and all we've accomplished and contributed during this month.
I also think how WE as women in our fifties, who have lived five decades of life (with many more ahead of us, prayerfully), we too are black history. Our stories are leaving an indelible mark on those we've encountered over the years. If you are a parent, teacher, co-worker, author, activist, friend, or anyone who has contributed to the lives of others, many years from now long after you cease to be–there will be someone who will tell the tale and stories of remembrance of your life. And in that moment, you will live on forever.
One of the questions I ask when women submit their photos to the Face of Fifty Gallery is "What's the best thing about being in your fifties?" And the vast majority have the same reply phrased in many different ways, "freedom." Freedom to do what I want. Freedom from expectations. Freedom from caring what others think. The fifties are indeed a liberating time. It's a shame that we have to wait so long to gain this insight, wisdom, and release. But I also suppose we had to wait until the time was right. Right for us to be able to handle all that comes along with being free. We know what matters now, and we aren't so easily impressed. We know and truly understand the truest form of freedom is being able to finally be who we were meant to be all along, and that's really the best thing!
(photo credit: Amazon)
3. Health- When you're younger you take your health for granted, but as you get older you realize the saying "health is wealth" is so very true. When you take care of your body, it will take care of you. As we age, it's important that we do whatever we can to stay strong, and healthy so that we can live independently and vibrantly.
What is something that matters most to you?
(Photo courtesy of Jessica Felicio via Unsplash.com)
I spent some time ruminating on the topic of the very first blog post for the Face of Fifty. I wanted it to be inspiring and insightful, while also being funny and fierce. But as the days passed, I realized it should be something more– a plea to women.
As women, especially black women, we often aren't allowed to be who we are fully, completely, without judgement or shame. Well, to hell with that! At this age, we've earned the right to finally be at peace. Peace with our hair, our bodies, our pasts, our minds, our thoughts, our decisions, and our feelings. Embrace who you are fully. You've mothered, cared for, pampered, supported, and put everyone else first for far too long– now it's YOUR turn.
Three questions to ask yourself TODAY:
1. What do I like to do? (Don't consider anyone else.)
2. What is the best thing about me? (Don't name anything about your appearance.)
3. What am I good at? (Don't hold back or try to be humble! Maybe you can't sing but perhaps you're great at math or baking or decorating.)
Now take these answers and consider how you can create more joy and purpose in your daily life. As you enter the next decades, stages, and phases of your life, how can you become happier, healthier, and more at peace? It might involve being alone. It might be scary. It might be uncomfortable. It will definitely require change. But you must do it. We do not have the luxury of time. I implore you to put yourself first, starting TODAY. It's a choice you won't ever regret!
(Photo courtesy: Kampus Productions via Pexels)
Blog managed and written by Tracie Momie, Face of Fifty founder.