The big five…five decades of life loom right above you as you veer towards the fiftieth birthday. But, is it any different? Does 50 change your life forever? What exactly does this milestone mark? Feisty at Fifty by Sudha Menon is a very personal, hilarious and heartwarming account of reaching fifty.
Turning fifty, one fine day, may not suddenly change your life forever. But there are many life events that mark a person in and around the fiftieth birthday. Turning fifty does offer the gift of introspection, and the ability to look back and reflect on life with a fresh understanding. Menon brings about these conversations with oodles of humour mixed with poignancy.
Menon talks about the varied aspects of life at and around fifty. She uses her own story and events and people from her own life, but, the issues are universal: A change in the relationship with parents, confronting the death of parents or their old age; dealing with an empty nest; redefining out relationship with our children; sex or the lack of it; worries for children who are now independent adults; FOMO and social media; keeping up with looking good and a myriad of other concerns.
“We are on the topic of sex and the middle-aged couple and I am not sure it is even a relevant subject because I think by the time you and the grumpy half have been married thirty years, there is too much familiarity to breed any sex. Your breeding has been done by then and that brood is always around reminding you of your advancing age. Some of that brood have dumped their brood on you so they can go get themselves a life….” she writes.
It takes a sassy woman to look at these issues and confront them with huge hilarious doses of humour. I found Menon’s irreverent and spunky take on life quite refreshing! There are bound to be comparisons between the simpler times she grew up in and the complex world we live in how. The journey of how she negotiates between these two worlds sends the reader on a roller coaster ride of laughter. Another illustration of this ‘feisty’ spirit caught between the two worlds lies in the following extract from the book- “Will someone please tell me I am not the only fifty-year-old suffering from FOMO? At the crack of dawn every morning, even before I have relieved my overfull bladder, I reach blindly for my smartphone to check what is happening on FB,” or then, “The old times were innocent times, things were less complicated. For instance, you could hold hands with your best female friend and roam around the entire afternoon and nobody would look at you strangely,”.
In between the light jibes at the new world and the current state of affairs, you are sure to find nuggets of wisdom. One of the discussions I found quite interesting was that women undervalue themselves when it comes to evaluating their true worth. Menon talks about her experiences as a motivational speaker who has learnt the hard way to demand her price- “If it is free, it is not worth my time. My time comes with a price tag. And, I’m worth it!” she says.
Well, be prepared. If Menon will have you in splits when she discusses her salon adventures, tryst with throngs and what not, you’ll find it difficult to escape a few tears on topics where she talks about parents, memories and letting go. But, isn’t this representative of life itself? Happy moments…funny ones, sad ones and contemplative ones all coming together in a neat package as you go about the business of living!
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Title: Feisty at Fifty
Author: Sudha Menon
Publisher: Pan Macmillan India