I recently turned 53. I think that there is strength and beauty in aging, and I am working toward being a woman who grows old gracefully. With each passing year, I feel a little more of the angst that used to plague me in my younger days slip away. Life is simpler. I have central relationships that I feel deserve time and care, so I don’t bother with peripheral ones. I no longer have to dance to the rhythm of a biological clock, and this freedom alone is worth enduring a few night sweats and hot flashes. But in our youth oriented culture, I feel as though the wisdom that comes with age is undervalued, and that interesting, fulfilling lives are meant only to be the domain of the young. Can you not change careers, start a band, become a photographer, write a book, run for public office, etcetera, if you are over 40? Don’t get me wrong. I am very concerned about the plight of millennials, having helped to raise one. In many ways this generation has to navigate more obstacles than my generation, and my generation is partly to blame for that. But rather than remain part of the problem, in my late 40s I started working toward something that I had put on hold for 28 years – a college education. I will be 55 by the time I earn a Master’s Degree. But God willing, I’ll be 55 anyway, so why not meet that milestone by having accomplished something that would help me to be part of the solution. And in an effort to keep from becoming a sick old lady, I made some lifestyle changes, and started running, which has become a central component in maintaining my sanity. So I figure that as long as I keep my mind and body healthy, being over 50 should not preclude me from participating in life.