I recently turned 50. The birthday wishes, texts, flowers and gifts made celebrating this milestone that much sweeter. 

In my first 5 decades of living, I’ve learned some lessons along the way. Pirkei Avot (5:21) says that 50 is the age you can counsel people and so I’m taking the liberty. Here’s my stream of thought. Take what you want. Leave the rest.

Do all the things. Go visit someplace new. Or revisit an old favourite destination. Test out a new recipe or sample something new to you off a restaurant menu.

Step outside. Literally. Go outside and breathe the air and soak up some sun. If you don’t live near the water/mountains/[insert happy place landscape] make the time and take the trip. There’s nothing like being in nature.

Learn a new skill. Break a bad old habit. Start a new healthy habit. Trust me on this one: starting your day every day with the kind of breakfast you would only treat yourself to at a restaurant is worth the time and effort. Your mouth, heart and mind will thank you.

Take care of your body — it’s the only one you will ever have.

Take care of the earth. It’s the only place you and your loved ones will ever live.

There’s room enough in your life for all kinds of people. Act smart. Take risks. But if you are too smart to take the risk or too risky to play it on the safe/smart side, surround yourself with the other — it will make you a more rounded person.

Treasure family. The one you were born into, the one you created and the one you had to supplement for whatever reason (from death to distance to dysfunction). 

Take social media breaks. Expand your mind. Read. Read books you wouldn’t normally pick up. Revisit an old hobby or pick up a new one. Create a routine. When it stops working for you, switch it up.

There’s nothing like maintaining relationships with old friends. The people who know me best are my friends who knew me during my formative years. There’s a comfortableness there that never goes away. There’s also nothing like making new friends as you move through life. Be a people collector. And if relationships become toxic, give yourself permission to move on.

Develop new learning habits. I mean limudei kodesh. Daf Yomi. Mishna Yomi. Nach Yomi. A regular shiur. A new podcast. Whatever speaks to you. There are so many resources that make it easy to do it on your own, but learning is always better with a chavruta (study partner). And the right chavruta is a game changer.

Offer to mentor a rising star. Express gratitude to the people who mentored you.

Wear socks and sandals. Together. Don’t pay any mind to people who say you shouldn’t.

Make sure you have the kind of friends who will buy you a birthday tiara — and make sure you wear said birthday tiara. People are SO much nicer to you when they know (or think) it’s your birthday. 

Become the kind of friend who buys others’ birthday tiaras.

Make assumptions that start from a place of kindness. And when in doubt, breathe before you breathe fire.

Live life. Unapologetically.

That’s it for now.

This is 50. May we all live and be well to 120!


Article by Author/s
Daphne Lazar Price
Daphne Lazar Price is the Executive Director of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA) and an adjunct professor of Jewish Law at Georgetown University Law Center. She is active in the Orthodox community in her hometown of Silver Spring, MD, where she lives with her husband and two children.

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