50 over 50

January 24, 2020


This past week, when this story first appeared in the on-line version of AL.com, I think people had a different image of “over 50” in mind. These photos will show you what I was really thinking. “Practical thinking” and “wise” can still look hot.

Hrry Connick Jr.  in 50 over 50 - leslieannetarabella.com
My favorite celebrity at any age, Harry Connick Jr. – 52.

The first time I attended a funeral and recognized the make and model of the casket, I knew I had finally turned a bend in the road of life. I’d had a rough summer and had spent more time at hospitals, funeral homes and gravesides than ballgames or movies. 

Years before, just as I turned 39, there was a commercial where a lady ominously said, “Things start happening when you turn 40.” Her purpose was to convince me my life was about to fall apart, and I desperately needed to buy insurance from her company, hire a personal trainer, go back to school, rewrite my will and change my brand of shampoo.  She went on to explain that parents die, children go off the deep end and everyone gets a disease. 40 was going to be horrible — because she said so. 

40 under 40 by Mobile Bay Monthly Magazine. Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau
I love this story of 40 under 40 in the January 2020 issue of Mobile Bay Monthly Magazine. Photo by Elizabeth Gelineau.

So now, I enjoy reading the magazine stories of “40 under 40.” It’s a popular topic in cities around the nation that features 40 of the perkiest, most energetic, smart and attractive folks in town who are setting the world on fire, all before the age of 40. Sometimes they give it a twist and write about the 30 most amazing citizens under the age of 30, and they are just absolutely darling.

I love these stories. They give me hope and make me feel like there’s going to be someone out there to take care of things in the future. These young people run the hospitals, tech-companies, and manage the shipping and food production industries. They have children with trendy names and matching pajamas on their Christmas cards . . . just like I used to do.  

Diane Keton - 50 over 50 by leslieannetarabella.com - aging gracefully
71 year old Diane Keaton – love her!

But I’ve decided a much more interesting and inspiring story would be “50 over 50.” Give me a chance to create this list, and I’ll show you people who have already grabbed life by the tail and swung it around a few times.

The 50 and beyond crowd has taken wrong turns and had to back-track. They’ve screwed up a few kids and had to make apologies. They’ve searched for deep meaning in faith and have forged ahead when everything around them has crumbled into ruins. They don’t care if their Christmas cards go out in January, if at all. 

Pierce Brosnan - aging gracefully 50 over 50
Oh, dreamy Pierce Brosnan at 64.

Those past 50 don’t network after work because they’re honest enough to know they’ll have more fun going home. They discuss giant thermometers on their back porches and their rain gauges and say things like, “would you care for a lozenge?”

People over 50 have battle scars from holding the hands of friends who are staring cancer in the face. They’ve beat addictions and loneliness. They’ve pulled themselves out of bed when all there seemed to be outside was more pain, and yet, they’ve learned that mysteriously, there’s still more joy to be found. 

Sophia Loren, 50 over 50
We can’t leave out Sophia Loren at 82!

The over 50 crowd values a quiet afternoon with good friends more than a loud crowd of strangers making small talk. And their favorite work-out routine is  laughter.

And the 50 over 50 crowd knows how to select the make and model of a casket. They know what to say when there’s nothing left to say at all. “50 over 50” would be a great story. I hope someone writes it soon. 

Christie Brinkley - 50 over 50

Yes, Christie Brinkley is 65 years old, but even if you look worn out and sad like Christie, life can be great at any age!

And since “someone” contacted me moments after this post went live, allow me to include another. I wouldn’t even notice Harry Connick Jr. if he were next to my Bob.

  • Tina Robertson says:

    Love the “50 over 50” idea. Although I took it to man 50 things you want to do before or when you turn 50. SORRY about that.
    In fact, if we all added one fabulous idea (like a Bucket List), we would soon have 50. Actually I am in for “70 over 70”. My first one would be to take a trip to Africa. South Africa to a preserve named “Zulu Nyala” to be specific is the place to go….with your family. I have been calling it my “Buying the Farm” list, but “50 over 50” sounds much more optimistic. Thanks, Tina

    • I think it’s a great idea. My granddaddy lived to be 102 and he said his only regret was he never made it to Australia. Travel is a big fun thing.

  • Your Bob has a beautiful smile! And isn’t that what really makes our heart go thumpety thump? You’ve chosen some stellar examples here and presented a case that won my approval. Bring on lots of 50 over 50!

    • Thanks Dewena. It’s a good list that grows every single day with amazing people, stunningly handsome, tired, funny, busy, and wrinkled, or not! And about that guy’s smile . . . Mmmmm. I agree.

  • And when people over 60 talk numbers in my crowd, it is cholesterol! How about I’m going to my 50th high school reunion in March? Trust me, I’ve been hitting the gym 5 days a week. The boy who broke my 17 year old heart by not asking me to the prom will be there, and I have to look so fabulous he will forever regret that decision! (The last guy in your photo lineup…Hubba hubba!).

    • That 17 year old who didn’t ask you to the prom had one main problem. . . he was a 17 year old boy. They are clueless. He’ll be charmed now, for sure.

  • Great post and idea. I love the idea of 50 over 50, but 2020 means I am agreeing with Karyn above. It will be the year 60 over 60 matters. September will bring 60 for me.

    • September birthdays, ahhh . . . the loveliest! Isn’t it truly amazing that 60 doesn’t look like it once did? I remember the “old” ladies I knew, and now realize they were only in their late 40’s! We’ve come a long way, baby!

  • (Oh, I see what you did there. Sneaking in your hubby on the list of fabulous 50 over 50.) I’m all in on this idea. And can we celebrate those who did not overdo it in the plastic surgery department? Growing more mature with tuck here and there and a bit of Botext is more than reasonable (perhaps even expected), but resembling the Joker is going too far. And then can we have 60 over 60?

    • I’m all in favor of doing what you need to do to make yourself comfortable, but yes, Kenny Rogers and poor Meg Ryan have raised big concerns for going a bit too far. Bless their hearts. I say just eat some beet, broccoli and run around a lot and you’ll look fine.

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