I've come to the realization that the later decades in life take more preparation for adjustment than the earlier ones. Turning forty started at thirty-nine and took until forty-one to take hold. The preparation for fifty started at forty-nine and today, as I celebrate my fifty-first birthday, I think I can begin to have a handle on this half-century decade.
I think that as we get older, we gain more of a capacity to live in the present. The past is basically gone--it lives as part of our present moments, but loses it's own identity. The future has more of a finality to it than ever before. You begin to realize that you're not really sure how much future you've got left. So life becomes more of what is happening now, in the present.
As a meditator, and one who leads meditation groups, I talk a lot about the gift of the present--a gift we rarely give ourselves at any age. But it's one thing to be present in meditation--as hard as that can be--and quite another to keep living life in the present.
That is the gift of age--the realization that everything we've done up to this point leads to this present moment. We need to revel in that moment without too much concentration on what lies ahead. By concentrating on the present moment, we build what ever the future will hold. We can still have some semblance of control over the present---what will happen in the future is anyones guess.
So as you move through your life, whatever age you are at, don't overlook the present. It incorporates all that has past; it will be a part of all that lies ahead. It's where we live our lives.
When being present becomes difficult----just stop and breathe---it is the most present thing we have.