By the time you reach your 50th birthday, it’s safe to say you know what you like, dislike and hopefully even have half a plan of where your life is heading. Maybe. So, with life all worked out, how do you celebrate reaching half a century?
When considering 50th birthday ideas for celebrating this beautiful coming of age, I firmly believe there are two camps where you will find yourself: The Surprise Party variety, or the Plan It Yourself event.
Of course, you may not have a huge amount of say in the first option – but let’s discuss what you need to think about if your friends and family suddenly start having secret conversations behind your back.
I have been in the fortunate position where I have arranged the secret 50th surprise and have also been on the receiving end of one for my very own 50th last year. Interestingly, both brought a whole host of emotions I definitely didn’t plan for.
Being in pole position of ‘Chief Planner’ gives *them* (husband/best friend/eldest daughter etc. – insert as appropriate) the power to decide on the whole damn thing – from dress code to theme to location to well, everything. They have complete control. Remember that.
There are many advantages to having zero involvement in your big birthday of course – the worry of who should/shouldn’t be invited is left to someone else and therefore you can’t offend Great Aunty Maud if she’s left off the guest list. You can simply quote Shaggy and say ‘It wasn’t me’….
Of course, there are also some disadvantages – you may not even want to celebrate the occasion let alone have a big party with faces you only interact with on Facebook. So, my first tip is to start putting the feelers out there at least six months before your birthday; drop some not so subtle hints about how you hate surprises and fingers crossed your loved ones will pick up on it. Hopefully.
However, speaking from experience, whilst I did control most of my own birthday plans last year, my friends still managed to throw in a few surprises, and you know what? I loved it! I loved the fact I was just told to be in Location A for a specific time; I loved the fact I had no idea what was happening from one hour to the next; I loved the fact I went to see Dream Girls in London and I really, really loved the fact I opened my front door on the evening of the celebration I’d organised to find a naked butler standing there!
So, if you find yourself in the middle of a surprise celebration, go with it. Keep an open mind around your big day and enjoy whatever is thrown at you.
Now if you really, really hate surprises and can’t think of anything worse than being surrounded by people making a fuss, the best option is to take control and plan your celebration yourself. It can be as big, or small, as you want it to be and you have the final say on everything. Where to go, what to eat, what to wear and of course, who to share this special day with. The power is yours!
I opted for an ‘Open House’ for my 50th and invited family, friends and neighbors to pop in anytime from 2PM on and have a glass of fizz with me. As I’d had the big party in the local pub for my 40th, I knew I didn’t want to go down that route again – I wanted something a bit more low key, age appropriate and refined. What I didn’t expect was the Naked Butler and the celebrations wrapping up nearly 12 hours later!
It was a truly wonderful way to celebrate turning 50 and I can’t think of anything better than having a house full of people on a Saturday afternoon all enjoying themselves and drinking just enough to feel socially relaxed.
My top tip with this option is keep it simple. Don’t put pressure on yourself that everything has to be perfect – just welcome people to your house, put on a few nibbles and the rest will flow naturally.
Of course, celebrating half a century can be so much more than drinking and eating with your nearest and dearest.
You could choose to do something memorable, a once in a lifetime experience or like me, 50 new experiences to see out your 40’s. Maybe now is the time you jump out of a plane (with a parachute attached, obviously!) or get a tattoo (I did!) or decide you want to change your career with a second act.
How about some of these suggestions:
1. Afternoon tea in a really posh hotel with you best girl friends
2. A mini cruise (or a big expensive one if funds and time allows!)
3. Private dining at a nice restaurant with 10 of your closest friends/family
4. A personal shopping experience (think Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman)
5. Get a complete makeover
6. Ride in a hot air balloon
7. Launch that business idea you’ve been dreaming of/talking about since you were 40
8. Host a picnic in your favourite park
9. Learn to dance
10. Go to Vegas and party like the Rockstar you truly are!
Do what YOU want to do; not what you think you should do or what would please your loved ones. Enjoy the days leading up to your birthday and on the actual day, just go with the flow, have a prosecco on standby and enjoy every single second – whatever you choose to do!
Celebrating your 50th birthday is a chance to feel alive and vibrant; a chance for you to show the world how fabulous you are.
So a very happy 50th, you wonderful creature!