Recovery at 50

Fifty reminds me of the song “Freedom” from the 1980s.

I turned 50: And I could give a rat’s ass about what other people do and say.

Anyone who cares one minute for what other people think has too much time on their hands. That time is better put to using it to do your own thing in your own inimitable way.

So you want to wear polka dots and stripes at the same time? Go right ahead. Fifty is the time to declare a war on changing yourself to fit into a version of a person that other people will approve.

Anyone else who dares spend their whole life sitting in judgment of you or me isn’t worth worrying about. Forgive them. Pray they one day “see the light.” Then send them on their way.

Besides in reality most normal people are too obsessed with their own perceived faults that they have no time left over to worry about you or me. Capisce?

I make the case for getting to the point where you stop being paranoid about how other people act towards you. This is one of the benefits of being in remission or in having minimally intrusive symptoms–the paranoia doesn’t influence your thinking and in some cases the paranoia is totally gone.

Imagine that: getting to the point where you’re not paranoid.

I firmly believe that acts of discrimination (traditionally called “stigma”) should not be accepted or tolerated.

We need however to differentiate between when we’ve been discriminated against and when we’re merely “reading into” the actions or words of other people.

At 50 years old: I don’t care about so-called stigma. Our lives should not be focused on pleasing other people who can set the hoops higher and higher that we have to jump through.

I’ll be 51 soon–my how time flies. Our fifties if you ask me are the time to get things right: to once and for all throw off the shackles that make us fear “stigma.”

To live the full and robust life that we’re entitled to live.

Fifty is when we’re asked to do things we feel passionate about: buy a home, enter into a relationship, travel, take up a cause–whatever the most persistent and urgent thing it is that our souls demand take expression before we’re gone.

Each of us is going to turn 50 at some point. All hail those of us who are 50 now. Fifty is too late in the game of our lives to continue to sit on the sidelines and not dare to get into the ring to try to achieve a goal.

Read the Theodore Roosevelt quote that I posted here in the quotes section. It truly is not the critic that counts only the person who has gotten in the arena and fought to have a better life.

I’ll return here on Thursday with information about a life-changing book I’ve read that might just help others in recovery find the freedom to be ourselves and live our lives free of stigma.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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