The 50th

Thursday, June 15, 2017 Permalink

I travelled to my old stomping ground – Brisbane – a couple of weeks ago for yet another fleeting visit. (I remain surprised that I despise going back there so much!) But I did manage to see a couple of my long-term besties and in doing so faced that dreaded question…. “What are you doing for your 50th birthday?”

The last member of our (original) quartet, who lives in New Zealand, had asked me that same question on the phone the week before. (And yes, it’s true. I make exceptions to my ‘no talking on the phone rule’ for LJ in NZ, my mum and my boss. Though the latter mostly only rings when I’m at work!)

LJ commented on keeping some days off aside for later this year, for my birthday celebrations.

This is very much playing on my mind cos my old school friend and blogger extraordinaire, Nikki Parkinson recently put her friends to shame with some fabulous 50th celebrations. And a local friend of mine has lined up a sunset boat cruise for her 40th this weekend.

I’ve talked before about the impending doom that is my 50th. Which is actually not true. Becoming friends with a heap of ‘mature aged’ bloggers late last year has COMPLETELY changed the way I view ageing. And I thank them for it. I now follow a stack of older fashion doyennes and other peeps on social media and – now that the kids thing is off the table – I don’t think I’ve missed out on what life has to offer… when compared to others. (The lack of kids and no-relationship thing was something I struggled with on turning 40!)

I should note I’m not doing particularly well on my #5before50 bucket list, with only ONE item ticked off, but there’s still time (though the writing of the book / novella is going to be a bit of a stretch).

turning fifty

But, back to the party / celebratory stuff. I must confess in my 20s and 30s I attended many a wedding and kinda dreamt of my own… that day I got to be pampered and be the centre of attention. My 40th was a lovely night, though pretty low-key. As is almost always the issue for me many friends could not make it – cos my birthday is between Christmas and New Year and they’re off on holidays and have other commitments. I love that my closest friends are already factoring in my birthday celebrations but it means I need to start thinking about what I might do so they can plan around it.

Those following me on social media may recall I briefly toyed with this idea… a take on a kids’ sleepover party. We’d need bigger tents obviously! But then I realised we’re all a bit too old to be sleeping on my living room floor without proper cushioning (or a masseuse on hand)!

my 50th birthday party ideas

And then the other day I saw this:

Inflatable pub-hire! I may have mentioned I have a huge backyard as my house is on two blocks. There’s a pesky garden part-way through but I’m pretty sure the blow-up pub would fit on the other side of my garden. I can’t quite work out if it’s a bouncy castle type thing though. Cos part of me thinks a marquee or tent on that spot would actually be classier. With fairy lights. And a bar.

However… I don’t actually have a gazillion friends to invite so the big party thing would be a bit pointless.

It makes more sense to do something with a handful of friends. The problem is I live in a nice house near the beach so going to some fancy seaside house with a group of friends seems a little redundant. Plus we’d have to cook and stuff.

My NZ friend suggested a little getaway to a nearby island… somewhere in the Pacific for just a few of us (prepared to cough up the $ for the joy of my company!). And I must confess, that sounds kinda tempting even though I’ve not budgeted for any travel in the foreseeable future. I know my mum wouldn’t go, but I could do something with the family before / after and the odd dinner or drinks here and there with other friends. I’ve never been into the idea of a cruise or a resort style holiday, but frivolous cocktails that someone else makes at 10am and lolling about for a few days sounds more appealing than I originally expected.

So far that idea’s winning, but I’d appreciate any other suggestions? Or anything I should or shouldn’t do that I might regret. Do you regret NOT celebrating a birthday or other occasion?

I’m linking up with the Lovin’ Life Linky gang again today so check out all of their posts!

36 Comments
  • Jo
    June 15, 2017

    I originally planned to do a huge party & invite everyone I knew, play daggy pop music, have a photo booth & even have a theme: denim…I’m so not the glamorous get dressed up type. Then I decided I couldn’t mix all my disparate groups of friends together so I figured we’d go somewhere. That somewhere was Vietnam – & my bestie & her hubby (from NZ) came along. I was still intending on celebrating with friends but on a smaller scales, but then the move happened & Sarah & Grant moved first. I ended up spending my birthday on a jetstar flight back to Sydney to be home in time for some people who were coming to look at furniture we were selling. My parents & siblings hadn’t organised anything for the night (& I didn’t like to ask) so my neighbour (& other bestie) had me around for dinner & bubbles. Do I regret not doing a big party? No, absolutely not. Did I wish I could have made a bigger deal of the day & celebrated with family & a handful of friends. Yep. It’s just the way it ended up working out though.

    • Debbish
      June 15, 2017

      I think I’ll regret it if I don’t do anything. I don’t really have work-mates at the moment so my local friendships are more limited so I’m thinking a big party isn’t really a necessity.

      My mum was the same as you for her 70th. She’s got a gazillion friends from church, exercise groups, family friends, old friends, work friends and she didn’t want the stress of worrying about those people all getting along at a celebration, so she did several different things and seemed happy with that. I think doing something different / special with extended family (lunch out to a nice restaurant here which she shouted) gave her that ‘event’ style outing.

  • sizzlesue15
    June 15, 2017

    I’m 60 in August Debbie and that is the question I’ve been asked. I originally wanted a karoke ABBA party but with so many friends and family interstate I’m not sure we would get enough game enough to dress up and sing. It’s funny I love organising parties for others but when it comes to mine I’m just confused. Congratulations in advance nd I’m so pleased that other bloggers have changed your thoughs on midlife – it is a wonderful and exciting time. I’ll be Sizzling Past 60 soon!
    Have a great week!

    • Debbish
      June 16, 2017

      See, it’s bloggers like you who inspire me Sue! Though your exercise / running pics do put me to shame… and I’m usually lying in bed when I see them pop up! Like my friend Char from Running-Amok!

      And yes, in terms of those having to travel… I can’t imagine those other than my besties coming during that time of year from out of town!

  • Kathy Marris
    June 15, 2017

    Mmm I remember being faced with this dilemma. I ended up having a big party at a hired venue for my 50th and although I enjoyed it I wouldn’t do it again. For my recent 60th I had a very quiet dinner out with my closest friends and family and that was more my style. However my recent cruise and trip to Italy was actually the celebration of my 60th and it was pretty special. I suggest a holiday or even a cruise would be great for your 50th. #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      June 16, 2017

      I thought about doing something ‘bigger’ for my 40th. I probably had a broader group of friends then. Certainly I had male friends, which I don’t really have now (other than friends’ partners). I’m still not a fan of the cruise idea but a holiday feels a bit tempting. And certainly something I’d remember!

  • @kanga_rue
    June 15, 2017

    I think the sleepover sounds like a lovely idea… Maybe you could hire a barman to mix cocktails?

    • Debbish
      June 16, 2017

      Ha yes, a waiter and a caterer would be required given my limited entertaining repertoire!

  • @kanga_rue
    June 15, 2017

    Do what makes *you* happy.

    And for what it’s worth, my 40th would have been a complete bust without you making a fuss. I do regret not having something more eventful. But that’s me.

    • Debbish
      June 16, 2017

      I enjoyed it but of course you’d only been here a month at the time (and me two months). I know your circle of friends is far bigger than it was back then!

  • Lyndall @ SeizeTheDayProject
    June 15, 2017

    I think birthday celebrations are a very personal thing. Not everyone enjoys parties, but if you do, a party is ideal. I prefer to spend some quality time with a few close friends on a weekend trip. I originally thought about a party for my 50th, but decided to put the money towards my bucket list trip to Italy instead. Absolutely NO regrets whatsoever!! It’s all about making lovely memories – whatever that means to you 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      June 16, 2017

      I think the main thing with a party is I’d be worried about its success (or otherwise) if I was responsible for everything. If it’s low-key it’s less stressful, and of course it’s always what we make it. I could plan a trip with a few friends and it could pour the entire time and we’d be stuck in our rooms. (Or the bar!) 🙂

  • cakaveka
    June 15, 2017

    When I turned 50, I went and sat on a mountain top in Austria and contemplated life. I also had a ’50 things at 50′ list that I’d been compiling for several years. On top of my list, I had “Stand with the Burrow (Rabbitohs supporter group) and watch the Rabbitohs win a grand final”. I wrote that one in 2011 and my Dad was still alive and living with us. He said, “Yes, they will win the year you’re 50”. It was a bit of a stretch as the last time they’d won, I was 6 years old. Anyway, come my 50th year, they did win and I was there – standing with the Burrow. Unfortunately, my Dad had passed away by then. However, he was definitely there in spirit.

    • Debbish
      June 16, 2017

      Oh that’s lovely and I’m sure they were spurred on that year by you Cate. I’m surprised they didn’t mention you in their premiership speeches! 😉

      I’ve got my 5 things before 50 list so really must work on those…

  • Nise' (Under the Boardwalk)
    June 15, 2017

    50 didn’t turn out to be as traumatic as I thought it would be. I took a trip to Seattle to visit my youngest brother. They were so happy to see me that I didn’t get the “way over the hill, one foot in the grave” comments. My mom and daughter surprised me and came out as well. It turned out to be a great celebration. I hope that whatever you choose to do will be memorable, fun and celebratory!

    • Debbish
      June 16, 2017

      Very true Nise’ and your celebrations sound lovely.

  • BoomingOn
    June 15, 2017

    Definitely do something, even if it’s a small marker. Going away with a chosen few is always nice, near or far, eating out, lazing around. I’m soon off to Thailand for a week with my 2 daughters, one of whom will be turning 30, for a girls’ week, and doing lots of laughing, foot massages, cocktails, talking, eating, etc. Pretty cheap too, especially once you’re there. Or you can do the same for a weekend here.

    • Debbish
      June 16, 2017

      That sounds nice. I’m not sure about Bali or Thailand but something on some nearby island sounds nice. Minimal travel, not too expensive, all-inclusive(ish). The idea of no commitments sounds like a lovely one – everything taken out of my hands and done for me (which is what I like about the resort thing).

  • butbooksarebetter
    June 15, 2017

    My 50th is coming up next year and I have been dreading it a bit since it seems such a line in the sand between being “young” and “old”. Suddenly you get things in the mail like faecal occult blood tests and invitations to colonoscopies and such, whilst my colleagues still plan their honeymoons and baby showers. But since I don’t feel old and over the hill yet, and hate parties, I decided to tick something off my bucket list for my 50th, which will include an epic hike either in NZ or in Canada. I would like to be totally off-line, in nature, reflecting on life in general and focusing on the simple pleasures. I just got myself a new kindle, and will load it with lots of books to read somewhere in a lonely hut under a sleeping bag (or most likely feeling freezing cold and damp and trying to dry my socks out near a camp fire). That is my idea of pleasure, and let’s face it, I’m old enough to know what I like, and parties are definitely not on my list. I hope you find something you enjoy, just do it for yourself without trying to please everyone else around you – if there is one good thing about getting older, I can blame the cranky old woman image on hormones and no longer need to be such a slave to peer pressure. Enjoy 🙂

    • Debbish
      June 16, 2017

      I struggled a lot turning 40. And I think it as the ‘forever single’, ‘no kids’ and whole concept of time running out and worrying about what I haven’t achieved. The kids thing has kinda been taken out of my hands now, so while there are regrets, there’s no guilt about the fact I should be doing more etc…

      I note someone else comments on Nikki – my school friend’s birthday and how she felt reassured about turning 50. I think I feel like that now as I look more to people who are older. Even famous people who are now in the their 50s and still seen as fabulous. I have to admit I still don’t think of myself as middle-aged, though I know (logically and mathematically) that’s true.

  • Johanna
    June 15, 2017

    I agree, there’s so much pressure to ‘do something big’ for our Big 0 milestone birthdays, and if we don’t celebrate them I think deep down we feel a bit miffed. I know I did when I didn’t really celebrate my 40th. My 50th was a glitzy dress up do with everyone dressing up for a night at the Oscars and we hired a piano player to come play in the courtyard of our home in Cape Town. As my 60th looms large and foreboding, I don’t know … I was thinking about a houseboat for a few days with some good friends … how about that for an idea?

    • Debbish
      June 16, 2017

      The houseboat thing sounds nice but our nearby river isn’t particularly alluring. (Kinda brown and dirty, so not sure it would work here!) But I’m definitely leaning towards the idea of something with a more intimate group of friends.

  • leannelc
    June 15, 2017

    I’m not much of a party person (hate them!) but really felt I needed to do something for my 50th. I settled for having a group of close friends over to my place for lunch. Just relaxing and chatting – no presents, no big outlay of cash, just a lovely time to catch up. It worked for me – if you’re a girlfriend-get-together type person then a weekend away to a lovely spa retreat type place might be the go (not my cup of tea, but we all need to pick what works best for us). What I learned was that it’s important to mark milestones (and take photos) because time moves on and we need to make memories for ourselves. Good luck with the planning xx

    • Debbish
      June 16, 2017

      Yes Leanne, I think the idea of marking the milestone is something I want to do – which I guess was also part of my #5before50 bucket list. And creating those memories (when one day they may be all we have) is important.

  • Jan Wild
    June 15, 2017

    I think the 0 birthdays are definitely worth celebrating but in a way that works for you. I had a big party for my 50th but for my 60th I had a dinner with close friends (no family was invited) at a really lovely restaurant in Canberra. It was a wonderful night. There are so many options and it is a very personal decision. How do you want to feel on the day/night? Are you a party animal or prefer a quiet tete a tete with some special people? Do you want to do all the organising or sit back and enjoy (it’s easy to take on too much and then feel exhausted). More questions rather than answers but hopefully they will help 🙂

    • Debbish
      June 16, 2017

      I think I want to sit back and enjoy Jan! I’m such a control freak and my fear of failure is such I’d worry people weren’t having a good time. So if it was taken out of my hands it would help. Oh, and as for how I want to feel that day. Contented I guess. I’ve not been a big celebrator of my birthday. As I said my friends have all often been away (given the time of year) and I’ve not had a partner etc. My mum (and dad when he was still here) makes a fuss and tries to make sure I don’t spent the day alone though so I’ve been fortunate.

  • Ingrid Ingrid
    June 15, 2017

    My views of ageing are slowly changing also thanks in no small part to Nikki’s positive outlook on turning 50 recently! I’m in the same boat as you in that I’m trying to work out what to do or not do. I also feel that if I ignore this significant birthday I will live to regret it. It’s a dilemma all right!

    Ingrid
    http://www.fabulousandfunlife.blogspot.com.au

    • Debbish
      June 16, 2017

      Ah yes, I’ve had too many regrets so really don’t want to add to that list, so I’m with you there!

  • Janet Camilleri (@middleagedmama1)
    June 16, 2017

    I’m not really a party person so my suggestion would be to go away for a girlie weekend to the city (which city?!) for pampering, fine dining and shopping – or a spa retreat somewhere – or hire a houseboat!

    • Debbish
      June 17, 2017

      Ugh! Not sure the city and shopping are for me, pampering and fine dining more so though!

  • Kooky Chic
    June 17, 2017

    I’m doing separate things with different groups of friends so the Festival of Kooks will last for weeks. Then in November we are holding a party to celebrate Thanksgiving and my birthday in our bush/forest. It’s too cold to have it now and our bush is too beautiful not to use. I’ve heard houseboats can be a riot, now that would be fun.

    • Debbish
      June 18, 2017

      Wouldn’t someone need to ‘drive’ the houseboat though? Or do you stay moored I wonder?

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    June 18, 2017

    I’d be keen to go to a writers festival too. Perhaps I should travel up your way and we can go together?

    I need to get my nifty fifty list together soon.

    Greek Islands is at the top …

    #teamlovinlife

    • Debbish
      June 18, 2017

      Jo Tracey and I are going to the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in August. Even though I don’t write romance. Or write at all really. But I want to write of course and a lot of the sessions are relevant to any genre. I’m looking forward to hanging with people with a similar passion: like you guys at PBEvent last year and the Readers’ Convention I went to in Feb.

  • VirtuallyAllSorts
    June 20, 2017

    Well it all sounds very exciting and I love the idea of the pop-up bar thing (anything with fairy lights gets my vote!) For me, as long as I’m happy, I go with the flow! (I’ve never been big into celebrating my birthday). And thanks for linking up to #HighlightsofHappy. Hope to see you again!

    • Debbish
      June 21, 2017

      Ha! I’m with you on the fairy lights thing! I love them….

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