The Warning Signs That You're Turning 50


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fiftieth birthday pink balloon
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Have you been surprised to find out you're now on AARP's mailing list? Are you getting unexpected senior discounts, and do you have a growing desire to be home on weeknights? Guess what, it's all creeping up on you. Here's a playful romp through the telltale signs that you've crossed the aging line. Weren't we in our 20s just yesterday? Ah, yes, inching -- careening? -- toward those golden years.
middle-aged couple grocery shopping at the food market
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The first time this happens, it's gut-wrenching. A twentysomething selling tickets at the movies glances up and gives you the senior discount, even though you're a few years shy of the official milestone. But then you realize, "Hey, I am saving money," and it's not so bad.
man peeking into a mailbox and seeing that he has mail
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Again, the first time it happens, you cringe. Mail from AARP? What, am I 70? They start their pitch early -- but again, you just might appreciate the savings... even though your voice still drops to a whisper when asking, "Do you offer an AARP discount?"
middle-aged man shrugging his shoulders
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You say that you have to wash your "blue jeans" instead of just saying "jeans." Or you say, that a dance is really "hip." You remember how weird your parents sounded with their old-fashioned phrases? Now you're doing the exact same thing.
middle-aged woman at home working on tablet, making phone call
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You were a whiz on the electric typewriter. College papers were a breeze. Today, you can still type at quite a clip -- but you sometimes need an assist when it comes to downloading music, buying an app, or other tasks that seem to come naturally to the younger generation.
screaming gardener man pushing a red lawn mower
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Your street isn't the Autobahn. You're out in your front yard, and a car filled with teens flies past. Remember how your dad used to shout, "Slow DOWN"? Yep, that was you doing the same just now.
nosey middle-aged neighbor at the window with binoculars
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Gladys Kravitz of "Bewitched" has nothing on you. Your favorite place in your house is at the window, peeking out from behind the curtain. You need to know what's going on in your neighborhood -- morning, noon, and night -- don't you?
couple giving bored looks to each other while watching TV
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HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax used to be your go-to networks. Now, you realize you just spent an entire evening enjoying vintage sitcoms on Antenna TV -- or a classic film on AMC.
middle-aged woman listening to music with headphones at home
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Sure, you're a huge music fan. But suddenly it hits you -- you only listen to the bands of your younger days. But what's wrong with The Cure, right?
children sitting on shoulders of couple and older man at music festival
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Forget road trips to arenas and catching local bands until 3 a.m., but you've seen all the big reunion tours. And you really -- we mean really -- appreciate when they play on the weekends, start early, and keep it a reasonable volume.
middle-aged Hispanic couple cooking dinner
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So, your husband or wife suggests skipping this week's trip to the local restaurant. You don't think twice since that means not only some extra pocket money but also no dressing up and no circling around looking for a parking spot.
blushing and laughing middle-aged woman covering face
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You can totally relate to your daughter's daydreaming about the latest celebrity -- been there, done that. You agree with her that Chris Hemsworth is a handsome guy. (She doesn't really need to know that Andrew McCarthy still makes your heart skip a beat, does she?)

middle-aged woman looking shocked and gesturing
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You have decided that running to the corner deli for a quart of milk or dozen eggs for breakfast doesn't mean you have to get fully dressed. Your younger self would likely shake his or her head to think one day you'd be in public in pajamas under that coat.
surprised middle-aged man
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The time to be quiet is long gone. As they say, filters fade with age. The people-pleaser has left the building. You know your own mind -- and you're not afraid to ruffle a few feathers to say exactly what you feel.
brownie sundae with cherry on top and side cup of coffee
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You have had entire conversations, often with your brothers or sisters, about favorite dishes from childhood. Remember that special cake from the bakery that closed when you were away at college -- or that crazy sundae you got at the local ice-cream stand? Food memories are powerful.
middle-aged man relaxing on couch
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Pass me that "whatever." You find that more and more you're content to simply stay put. You sat down without getting the glass of water? It can wait.
middle-aged woman getting up from couch with back pain
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Getting up from the couch -- or heaven help us, the floor where you were leaning on a pillow -- is a bit of a production. It might be funny to watch -- but it's not fun when you're in the middle of it.
middle-aged woman taking probiotics pill
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You used to totally tune out to those health-related commercials -- but now, you kind of tune in. Will that yogurt really help my gut? Am I experiencing acid reflux? Oh, the horror.
African American woman in library reading a book
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Buy a magazine or book? You can go to the library and get it all for free -- and it's a great place to spend a little time in an easy chair, hear a performance or take in a class or art show. Were these amazing places always here?
life insurance brochure with family image
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When you had, potentially, 60 years ahead of you, things like life insurance were a snore, something for old fogies (there's one of those phrases again). Now, you worry about providing for your loved ones.
woman holding her painful neck in park
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How many times can you hear about the importance of exercise? You can't ignore that you have to take care of yourself -- and with the onset of a few random pains and strains, you actually start a regime to try to avoid any serious issues.
middle-aged couple watching film in cinema
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There's certain bliss in a near-empty movie theater on a lazy afternoon. There's the quiet, the space -- and that feeling that you're "getting away with something." It's as far from Saturday night at the multiplex as it gets.
crowds shopping during Christmas season in Heidelberg, Germany
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The mall during the holiday season or the supermarket before a snowstorm... places where there are tons of people -- pushy, annoying people -- are not for you. You have lost your patience for this and would rather run your errands when you have the time and the places are less crowded.
bored teenage girl being told off by mother
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It used to drive you crazy when your elders compared what you were up to with what they did at your age... and now, you're doing the same thing. So much of aging is about revelations -- and one is that we're all part of a big cycle that repeats itself every generation, right?
middle-aged woman looking at clothes in closet
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Still loving last season's pant length? Hey, if it looks nice on you -- and the price is right -- you have been known to buy and wear it. Getting older includes knowing what fashions work for you and having the confidence to create your own "look," not blindly chase the latest trends.
middle-aged woman examining her face in the mirror
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For how many years did you hate your stick-straight hair, your beauty mark, or your chicken legs? Then one day you realized, each one of us is special -- and this is who you are. It's a much easier way to travel through this life.
frowning nervous middle-aged African American woman
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Grandma used to have entire conversations with herself. You'd hear her from the other room when you knew she was alone. More and more, you're doing the same: from "Where did I put those keys?" to "Now, that was a good cup of coffee." As long as you don't answer yourself, we say you're OK.
reading glasses on desk with book and pen
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The daily paper is a bit of a blur -- not because you gloss over the news but because you can't see the words without your reading glasses. You combat the issue with multiple pairs, basically one for every room of your house -- plus that spare for work.
VCR player and tapes
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Nothing like settling in and cueing up a movie on the ol' VCR or DVD player. Sure, there's that thing called streaming -- but do those services have a decades-developed personal library like yours? Just pray these devices never break down.
elegant middle aged woman with her arms crossed
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Leggings and a big sweater pretty much get you through life. You are primped and presentable -- but you have lost that urge to go the extra mile if it's not a special occasion. It's actually relaxing.
middle-aged woman meditating in gym class
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No one lives forever, and while you're not morbid, you do think more about all things spiritual. You also think more about your fellow man -- and try to make the world a better place instead of just a better place for you.
woman's finger tied with red thread
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So you make up lists. Lots of them, cause you forget things ... What was I just saying?
woman's hands putting stamps on envelopes
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Hallmark, Target, or the indie shop downtown -- wherever you see greeting cards, you stop. E-cards will never do it for you. You still treasure cards and letters you've received, so you want to pass the experience along, creating memories for your own friends and family.
smiling African American family relaxing on seat at home
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Speaking of family, you realize -- after all those teenage years of sassing your mom or rolling your eyes at Dad's "jokes" -- that family is pretty important. And if you're lucky enough to have your own family now, you work to make the bond strong.
brown paper bag
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Glance around most offices. The younger employees run out to lunch, spending without a second thought. The older workers pull out what they've packed from home. It's money, it's time, it's just the way it goes.
hourglass flow
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How often did your dad say, "I can't believe it's already Christmas again"? Um, yes, days turn to months, but wow -- time does fly. You yourself have zipped along from a twentysomething know-it-all to a fiftysomething -- who actually now does know a thing or two. CONGRATULATIONS!!! participates in affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product through a link on our site. This helps support our work and does not influence editorial content.