51 Reflections On Turning 50 + 1

birthday candles


Today is my birthday. I don’t tell you this lightly. As a matter of fact, last year I didn’t even mention it because last year I turned the big FIVE-O. I’m embarrassed to admit it now, but I was so devastated and in such denial over that silly number that I refused to acknowledge it in any public way.

But now that I’ve had a year to let the reality settle in, I see I did myself a disservice by allowing such a significant life milestone pass by without paying some sort of homage to it.

So here I am, a year later, ready to do what I should have done last year…reflect on turning fifty (plus 1) by sharing some of what that considerable span of time has taught me.

I share this as a birthday present to myself today….but my hope is that each of you will find at least one nugget of truth that resonates with you and causes you to reflect as well.


51 Reflections On Turning 50 + 1


I’ll start with one of my very favorite quotes:

1. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~~Eleanor Roosevelt

2. Time and experience heals pain. Even if you are going through an overwhelmingly painful event in your life right now….one day it will be part of your past and not nearly as significant as it seems.

3. Keep moving. We must keep putting one foot in front of the other even when we hurt. If we don’t, we will never know what is waiting for us just around the bend.

4. Be the first to say you’re sorry.

5. Kindness matters. A lot. Being kind is more important than being right. Wherever there is a human being, there’s an opportunity for kindness.

6. Mother was right….everything seems worse at night. Our isolation and insignificance seem so much greater when everyone else is asleep. Try to rest and take comfort in the approaching sunrise.

7. Find ways of doing service. It’s some of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. You come to love those you serve.

8. For better, or for worse….means just that. Probably the five words most taken for granted in the English language.

9. Forgiving yourself is FAR harder than forgiving someone else. And, I believe, it’s never complete.

10. When the chips are down (I mean REALLY down)…family is who will come through.

11. Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

12. Comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

13. “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”  ~~Eleanor Roosevelt

14. Stop worrying…and start living! 99% of what we worry about WON’T EVER HAPPEN!

15. Choose happiness. Walk cheerfully on the face of the earth.

16. Let go of resentment. Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head. KICK THEM OUT!

17. You don’t need everyone to like you. If the people closest to you love you, the ones who don’t, don’t matter.

18. Addiction is no respecter of persons. It will seek to destroy anyone who gets caught in its web.

19. Life is all about expectations. Stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others.

20. NO ONE gets through this life without some trial. Everyone is fighting a battle of some kind.

21. Goal-setting is overrated. Problem solving is underrated.

22. Debit ruins lives. Try to avoid it all cost.

23. Never send an email when you’re mad. If you want to write an angry e-mail, do it. Just don’t send it.

24. You can’t change people. You either have to accept people for who they are or not at all. There is very little gray area here.

25. Learn to embrace Change, even when it arrives with its companions, Fear and Uncertainty.

26. Giving is better than getting. If you continually give, you will continually have.

27. Gratitude is the best way to find contentment. Personally I don’t think there is any way to find contentment without gratitude. It takes our focus off what we don’t have and onto what we do have.

28. Learn the art of empathy and practice it. Never underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word, or a listening ear.

29. On being a parent….stay out of the way of your kids becoming the amazing people they are. It’s more harmful to overparent than to underparent.

30. Everyone yearns for validation, love, security, enjoyment and a better future.

31. Live in the now. Don’t let yesterday use up today.

32. Live by example. Personal example carries much more weight than preaching.

33. You can’t buy happiness. Everything that is wonderful about life doesn’t cost a penny. A long walk, a hug, spending time with a good friend are all free.

34. You can’t please everyone! If you share something with enough people, you will upset someone, no matter what. That’s their problem, not yours.

35. Mistakes are how we learn. Failures are the stepping stones to success.

36. Wear sunscreen.

37. No matter how lonely you might feel, there is always someone who can relate to you. Perhaps you can’t talk to them right now, but they are out there.

38. Flowers and gardening are medicine for the soul.

39. Passionate love is overrated. Seek a mate whose values and background echo your own.

40. Relationships are messy because life is challenging. A conflict doesn’t mean the relationship has to come to an end.

41. No one is in charge of your happiness except you. Not your parents, not your spouse. You.

42. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will. Stay close.

43. However bad a situation is, you will get through it, one way or another.

44. Trust your gut instinct. It will be right 99% of the time.

45. Sometimes all you can do is B R E A T H E.

46. Failures are only lessons. So never regret anything that has happened in your life. Take it all as lessons learned and move on with grace.

47. The best is yet to come.

48. Experience is the greatest teacher of all.

49. This wise prayer….”God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

50. Find your passion. Discovering something you love to do has an amazing effect on your entire life.

51. I have a lot left to learn. Life still has many lessons left to teach me, and I’m looking forward to them all.


I want to thank each of you for being here to celebrate with me today….and every day! The community that this website represents truly is one of my proudest accomplishments, and one that wouldn’t exist without all of you incredible people!


Update: By request…I made a Free Printable of the above list that you can download here. :-)


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  1. says

    Today is my birthday as well, and I’m 52 today. My 50th birthday was the most magical, special and incredible birthday of my life. I was comfortable in my own skin, happy with the woman I have turned out to be. The next two years turned into a whirlwind emotionally, physically, spiritually. I watched as every dream, every wish and every prayer came to fruition and my life was made over anew.

    Your 51 things speak to me and I could have written a similar list. I find myself a bit shell shocked over all that has happened in the past 2 years as these events have given credence to the idea that there really can be “too much of a good thing.” I’m in the aftermath, realizing that 50 is not too late to dream new, bigger dreams, to wish new, bigger wishes and to pray harder for those whom I love.

    The best is yet to come!!!

  2. STACEY says

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY JILLEE ! My prayers and cards always end with ” may God put you in his pocket right next to his heart !” It was a saying that my mom-in-law always used to put into her cards and when she passed away 24 years ago, I felt that she would want me to continue in her stead. Here’s wishing you the very best birthday yet!!!

  3. Rosemary S. says

    Happy Birthday! Just think, it’s ONLY a number! Celebrate it! And like my grown daughter had told me when I turned 50 and was rather “blue” about it…she reminded me that it’s much better than the alternative. It’s much better to BE HERE, than NOT. It’s one more year to love on my family.
    Also, thanks for your great website. You are very inspirational to me.

  4. Kathy says

    Happy, Happy Birthday!!! I hit that age a few years back but I don’t count it. I say I’m still in my 30′s. This year I’ll be 30-28. When I reach 30-30 then I guess I’ll have to admit I’m in my 40′s,but I’ll start adding the 20′s again . So instead of being 61, I’ll only be 40-21. LOL . Have a wonderful day!!!

  5. Sallie says

    Happy Birthday Jillee! I, too, am 50+1 (just turned that last week) so I appreciate all your words! I also want you to know what a difference your blog makes to many people. It’s fun to read, you make our lives easier and more fun. You might not be saving the world but you make our days more fun and brighter. So thank you and Happy Birthday!

  6. says

    Happy Birthday!

    Thanks for posting the quotes. I needed a pick-me-up today.

    I was ragged on recently about the fact that I am pursuing my dreams of becoming an author and the fact that I have been married for 3 years but decided not to have kids yet.

    Thanks for quote #1 “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~~Eleanor Roosevelt

    I really needed that.

  7. Laurie S says

    Happy Birthday! Eat cake and don’t look back!

    It’s not as bad as it may seem. Now you can look forward to those Senior Discounts!!
    That is if you remember to ask about them, I always forget.

    I loved your post today. You are really inspiring.

    So glad I found your blog and your Sisters blogs too.

  8. sandee says

    In our society, we celebrate youth and shallow beauty far too much!! Celebrate the wisdom you’ve gained over the years, the perspective insight through experience, and the joy that comes from living each day to the fullest – happy birthday!

  9. Sandra says

    HaPpY BiRtHdAy! Don’t worry – it’s painless; 50 was one of my best; I cried my eyes out at all the other “0″ birthdays, but at 50, it was almost a calm feeling; had finally reached the phase in my life where I had wasted so much time worrying over things only to realize all I was doing was sweating the small stuff and everything worked out okay. So, enjoy your 50th and celebrate all of the happy times you have had and will have in the future. And thank you for your wonderful blog! Love it!

  10. Sherry says

    In our family we use the last decade to describe our age…like me…I am now forty-thirteen…and my mom is sixty-twelve. Now doesn’t that sound better. We don’t lie about our age, but somehow it just makes us feel a bit younger. :-) Enjoy your day, love your posts!

  11. Chantel says

    Happy Birthday!!! I absolutely love reading your posts! It is the highlight of my day. I have always loved Eleanor Roosevelt’s #1 quote thank you for sharing #2. As I read through your thoughts today I couldn’t help thinking how true they were. Thanks again!

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