Self

Joy At 50: Why Women Feel More Content In Their Sixth Decade

Ageing has brought freedom, not fear for these women.

By Kate Leaver

Self

Ageing has brought freedom, not fear for these women.

By Kate Leaver

After my 30th birthday, I felt a change. I blew out the candles on a castle-shaped cake baked directly from The Australian Women’s Weekly cook book, looked at the cluster of friends I had by my side, considered the life I had lived until then and counted myself powerfully calm and content. My greatest birthday gift was a new-found, extremely welcome sense of peace with myself that I truly never felt throughout my teenage years and twenties.

I was desperately ambitious back then, obsessive about thinness and dedicated to pleasing people. In my fourth decade of life, I feel like I know a little more of who I am and I’ve settled into that. I look at my mother, my friends’ mothers and my mother’s friends – all in their fifties now, sidling up to 60 – and I see in them an even further developed contentment. They seem to care less about what people think, they value themselves more and they see in themselves what their beloveds have probably seen all along: loveliness and potential and worth. They are happy, like I am, only theirs is an even more conspicuous comfort. There’s an ease with which they know who they are; a confidence that wasn’t there before. It made me think: Do women get happier as they get older? Do we find some sort of peace and solace and joy when we make it past the big five-oh?

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