On an ordinary Monday morning in 2005 my sister Gay died.

It was sudden and unexpected.

A heart attack stole her away as we worked out, side by side, at the gym.

She was forty-seven and I was forty-six.

By the time I decided there was no one to blame for Gay’s passing, I was fifty-something … an age Gay would never experience. I know she would have loved her fifties; she would have lived every depth, breadth and height of them.

So I’ve resolved to love and live them for both of us. It’s such a privilege to be here!

This blog celebrates being fifty-something (for both of us).

It’s about the good, the bad and the brilliant. A little bit of bad sandwiched in to keep it real, but mostly about embracing and being grateful for the experience of being fifty-something. Think: a world of bucket lists, acceptance and wisdom like I’ve never had before (punctuated by rascally chin hair and the inevitable cloak of invisibility).

Besides, as my twenty-something son points out, documenting my fifties is a wise move … since I’m unlikely to remember them for much longer.

Some background: I live in Geelong, Victoria, Australia with my husband Mr P. We’ve been together forever and have two adult children, My Girl and Boy Wonder. You won’t see much of Mr P about here. He believes the Internet is the tool of the devil (except for the god who created YouTube and all those videos that show you how to reverse multi-axle trucks and trailers around corners).

We’re thinking about downsizing, travelling and perhaps even relocating somewhere remote. We enjoy frugal living and the freedom it gives us to splash out on favourite things without compromising our retirement “rest-egg”.

I run a freelance copywriting business over here. I love antiques and collectables (I was a second-hand dealer in another life), thrifting, sustainable/ethical living and opportunism.

I hope you’ll join me as I seek out and share the true meaning of being fifty-something.


33 thoughts on “why?

  1. Hi Sheryl,
    Just stumbled upon you via twitter and I live in Geelong too. My dad died suddenly after being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in 2009 and that is part of the reason I moved back to Geelong to be closer to family. Iam really sorry to read about your sister and I look forward to reading your blog. I can be found at http://www.back-in-gtown.com or mezziec on twitter or via facebook page. Cheers, Mez

    1. Thanks, Mez, for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I am sorry for your loss, too. Nothing can prepare you for losing a parent (or a sibling). I’ve checked out your gorgeous blog and will be keeping an eye on it. Will also be watching for your smiling face about g-town! Sheryl πŸ™‚

  2. You said if I wanted to learn more about you, to click on the “why” tab. So I did. And you had me crying on the first sentence. Okay, so it might be that I’m “period bound” and also pre menopausal and I’ve been crying on and off for no reason for the past 48 hours.
    I actually came to be here via twitter, when I queried about Jeanne Ray. I finished “Calling Invisible Women” a few days ago and literally got in the car, went to the library and checked out everything else they had that she wrote.
    I found “invisible Women” sitting on the “new books” shelf at my libraray and there I was, a 48 yr old woman, 2 nearly grown boys and a husband who I love but am sort of starting to wonder why? after 30 years,feeling blue and taken advantage of and it looked like a book I could relate to.
    Thinking back, I can’t recall if I thought it would be a self help book or just a funny romp of bitching about the double standard of modern feminism. After the 2nd page, it didn’t matter because I was hooked.
    This book made me laugh, cry and revisit so many memories I thought I had forgotten. And it reminded me of something I’ve always known. That people everywhere are pretty much the same. Especially women. We love, we hurt, we cry, we defend, we protect, we serve and we can always stand just a litte bit more. And, not to sound bitter, but we kind of have the raw end of the deal. “it’s not fair” should have been stamped on my forehead at birth!
    I”m looking forward to reading more of your blogs and learning more about you. I keep starting blogs but have a hard time with “follow through”. Sorry if I rambled….sorry about your sister….I’ve never had a sister but I know about loss …..

    1. Hi Laura. Glad you found your way here. I just saw (and RTd) your tweet. You’ve inspired me to go track down some more of Jeanne Ray’s books, too. You make such a good point that people everywhere are pretty much the same … we’re all riding that same roller coaster of life; it’s the ups and downs that let us know we’re living it. And then there are hormones. I look forward to catching up with you more here and in the Twitter-sphere … stay in touch. πŸ™‚ S.

  3. Hello Sheryl,
    As I tip toed through blog sites I came across yours. I also live in Victoria, Ferntree Gully. I like what your son has said about documenting your 50’s before you forget what they are… so true little snippets of information fade away from our grey matter daily. Ask me something from 3 years ago…you have your answer, ask me what happened yesterday….sorry what was the question?
    Please accept my condolences regarding your sister. I will be interested to see more of your pieces… from one Aussie to another. πŸ™‚

    1. Lovely to have you popping by, ramblings. Thanks for your kindness. What a beautiful part of the world you live in, and not too far from me. I’ve had a quick peek at your blog … love that you have journals to jog your memories, ready for sharing. Hope to see more of you around here. Stay in touch. S. πŸ™‚

      1. I shall and have read a few more of your blogs πŸ™‚ Thank you for liking ’50 and then some’ & popping in again. Yes it is pretty part of Victoria, though I do wish Spring would hurry up & it would be even prettier!

  4. Good…afternoon? I think? Sheryl, and congratulations! You have just received the So Sweet Blogger Award for being so AWESOME! We really do love your blog, and we’ve so appreciated your tweets, retweets, and comments on our blog, as well.

    To claim your award, just lift the badge from our post over on After the Kids Leave (http://afterthekidsleave.com/2012/09/29/award-time-this-ones-the-sweetest/), post it on your blog, and dish it out to some bloggers you think deserve it!

    We hope you’re having a brilliant day, and that we’ll see lots more of you.

    Karen and Wendy

    1. Awww, shucks, Karen and Wendy. I am humbled … and rapt. You are both so sweet. Thank you, thank you. I love your blog, too. It has been such fun to connect! I hope to see much, much more of you sassy sisters around, too. Mwah! x

  5. So happy to come upon your blog. The invites just went out for my 50th birthday party and I feel a bit like I’ve outed myself, especially to my younger colleagues and friends. Reading about you and your sister and your attitude toward your 50s is the perspective I need. So thanks!

    1. Thanks, Karen. So glad you found your way here. Yep, we are privileged to grow up into our fifties … and beyond. You’re gonna love the next decade. This blog is my ultimate “outing”; taking ownership of my age has been quite liberating (and a bit scary at the same time). I’ve had a quick look at your blog and loving your teenage-boy-parenting tales. I’ll be back for more. Hope you will be, too. S. πŸ™‚

  6. I can see why Sue nominated you! You write from the heart. You had already captured me in the first couple lines (I’m sorry for your loss), but then you sealed the deal with “Besides, as my twenty-something son points out, documenting my fifties is a wise move … since I’m unlikely to remember them for much longer.” The roller coaster of emotions…that is me all the way..

    1. Thanks, Denise. I appreciate your comment so much. I think we ‘ladies of a certain age” have a lot in common and a lot to share. I’m heading over to check out your blog … thanks for popping over. S. πŸ™‚

    1. Love your comment, last encounters! You’re a lively 65 year-old by the sound of it … hope I can manage the same. Am now following your blog and looking forward to your posts. S. πŸ™‚

  7. Dear Sheryl,
    I came across your blog last night and have read every word. I love your honesty and humour and I really love that you’re doing this for Gay. I’m sure she’d laugh out loud at your blog. Keep up the wonderful words of wisdom.
    I’ve recently started blogging over at http://www.janestcatherine.com and you’ve given me inspiration to keep on with it. What fun….
    Thanks so much for blogging. Jane

    1. Thanks, Jane. What a lovely comment! I do often imagine Gay belly-laughing at my antics and thoughts (we shared a lot of laugh-filled times). I have had a quick read of your blog and am amazed at your adventures. You must, must, MUST keep blogging and share your world with the rest of us … I intend to follow your blog closely and will be back to call you out if you don’t keep going. I want to know more! S. πŸ™‚

  8. Hi Sheryl

    I just stumbled upon your blog here at work today and it was ‘serendipity’ (a happy surprise)….serendipity is my favourite word, so it’s lovely being able to use it in my reply! I am sorry for your loss of your dear sister, and when I read your words, they resonated deep in my heart. My sister Shirley (lived in Ocean Grove, worked in Geelong)….retired at 58 in 2007 and her and her husband Ken set off to travel around Australia. She was disagnosed with lung cancer two months into the trip and only survived another 8 weeks, despite chemo and best medical efforts. I miss her every day and feel like a large part of me (or the joy inside of me) also died when she did. I know if she could pass a message back to me she would say to get on with my life and make the most of it….which I do…by enjoying my children (beautiful boys aged 35 and 32) my friends and family members.

    Thanks Sheryl for your lovely blog….I will be a regular reader from now on. Jan x

  9. Hi, Jan. Welcome! I’m so glad you found your way here … and I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a sister is a special experience. I’d give just about anything to have a chat with Gay … and I’d give double that to share a Friday night bottle of red with her again! I doubt the longing will ever go away. Sounds like you miss your dear Shirley in similar ways; I hear you loud and clear when you talk about a slice of your joy dying with her. I’ve been at a funeral this afternoon so I’ve been thinking about Gay even more than usual. It’s a reminder to live our best lives and enjoy those around us … sounds like we’re both on the right track! Hope to see you hear often. Sheryl x

    1. Thanks for your lovely reply Sheryl. Read your ‘hair today, gone tomorrow’ blog today….love your new “do”. Love your work Sheryl! Regards…Jan x

  10. Nice blog! I`m a fellow fifty somethinger who is also living these years with my eye firmly on my bucket list and my heart kept for everything and everyone I love. I know I`ll get tons of inspiration from your blog.

    So, so sorry about your sister missing all of this. And for you, of course, missing her. I can`t imagine what a grief that is. What a lovely idea though, to live your fifties well in her memory. Such a fitting tribute too.

    1. Thanks, Red. I appreciate your comments and you being here. I’ve had a quick squizz at your blog, too, and heading back to settle in for a good read a little later. Us fifty-something gals have a lot worth sharing! S. πŸ™‚

  11. Hi Sheryl – wonderful to find you via Janet’s (Middle Aged Mama) blog post today. I will be joining the 50 club on 31 May this year. Great to find another blogger in my age range! I’m so sorry to read about your sister. What a traumatic and sad experience you have been through. Good on you for enjoying your 50’s for both of you. I am grateful to still be here to turn 50 in May. Min x

    1. Thanks, Min! Sorry for delay … your comment found its way to my spam file. You’re going to love your fifties. I’m heading over to check out your blog and reminisce about being pre-50. S. πŸ™‚

  12. Oh wow, talk about serendipity! I just came across your blog via this one – http://www.50shadesofage.com/2014/10/22/perseverance-pays-off/ – and, like many others above, your words really reached out to me, and had me in tears. I’ve just turned ‘Fabulously Fifty’ myself, and it seems every day I come across something that reminds me that I need to start doing all those things I’ve been wanting to do NOW, there’s no time to waste!
    Thank you and I look forward to reading more of your blog. Gaye x
    BTW I am a born and bred Geelong girl myself, and although I’ve lived in WA for nearly 30 years now, Geelong is still ‘home’ in my heart, and I miss it more and more these days

    1. Thank you for your lovely words, Gaye. How lucky I am to have people like you coming to my little corner of the Internet. Serendipity, indeed … we share a lot in common. Do you ever get back to G-town? It’s changed incredibly in those thirty years, and in other ways it’s still the same. Like me, like you. Thanks, and enjoy! x

      1. Hi again Sheryl, I did try to reply last week but it gave some sort of error and then told me that I’d already replied but on looking again it hasn’t appeared, so I’m not sure what happened there.
        Anyway just wanted to say that yes I do try to get back to G-town as often as I can, my folks are still there and they’re now in their 80’s. I’ll be there over Xmas for about 3 weeks, so looking forward to that! It’s funny how it has changed so much over the years, but when I stay with my folks in their 60 year old house that I grew up in, it seems like nothing has changed at all.
        It’s wonderful to be able to connect with others and find you have so much in common. Opens up a whole new world πŸ™‚
        Cheers, G x

      2. Sorry, my spam checker might have eaten your comment. Glad you came back though, to here and to Geelong. You are fortunate to have your parents still around. Enjoy! Sheryl x

  13. I stumbled upon your blog today and wanted to let you know. Your Why? post stopped me in my tracks. I’m sorry for the loss of your dear sister at such a young age. My mom died suddenly at age fifty-five and her life being cut so short has influenced many choices I have made on my own journey. Last year, when I reached the same age as mom was when she died, I left a twenty-five year corporate career voluntarily. My husband and I returned to our home city in Canada and I’m finding great satisfaction in living simply and having time to pursue things that fulfill like corporate life never did. Anyway, just wanted to comment and let you know I was here and I’ll be following your blog.

    1. Lovely to have you here, Linda. Sounds like we’re sharing a fifty-something “shift” towards simpler living. Thanks for your kind words and comment … I hope to see you around here often. πŸ™‚

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