Why We Cry at 50

I have no problem with the crying. I know the changes I see outwardly are mirrored hormonally, leaving me more sensitive to stress and with less bounce back. I share a conversation with my girlfriends and we both have eyes full of tears spilling over.

There’s a glistening union of eyes and hearts. The tears may continue and fall down the face or they just pool in large eyes and then recede like the tide.

Everything is poignant. Music is the worst.  I will drive and cry, playing the same song over and over getting the same response. I imagine grief is leaving my body, tears falling into my lap staining my dress.

Beauty. Dusk, the ocean and the music played by my daughters.

I cry because I miss people. People who are no longer in my life or who are gone forever.

Even at 51, sometimes I want to climb into my Mum’s bed. I imagine she will listen to my woes, fiercely defend me while patting my back and calling me by my childhood nickname. I am 8 again and she is my hero. But she lives in a home with advanced dementia and doesn’t really know who I am. I rest my head on her shoulder as she stares off into the distance with milky eyes.

The hands and feet of small children make a stone in my stomach and wrestle my heart as I remember the chubby little hands of my own children. It’s like MY body remembers their small bodies. I remember their hands rested on my shoulder as I carried them on my hip. I can still smell them.

Regret and guilt.  The things I could have done differently. I cry because I wish I was wiser.  I would have loved more openly, reacted less and happily been wrong. I could’ve listened more, learnt more. The wild girl with all the bravado, surviving and acting out. I cry for her. I would hold and stop her, but she is a wild warrior with war on her mind. Attack, defend and protect.

I cry because I’m tired. I am exhausted by night time, quickly falling asleep. But I wake often with wild adventures in my dreams and nightmares. Constant trips to the loo.  I know I should rest more. Part of the wisdom is resting. Rest less- cry more? But this is change and a transition. There is a bridge to cross and it requires attention.

Scientist Ad Vingerhoets says crying creates the opportunity for empathy and compassion. Humans are social beings and this creates connection. We can visibly see the struggle of another person.

“Tears are of extreme relevance for human nature,” says Vingerhoets. “We cry because we need other people.” https://time.com/4254089/science-crying/

I believe crying is the shared symbol of pain and suffering. I don’t know a 50-year-old who’s had a pain free life. When I see another person crying, I see their vulnerability and pain and humanness. We SEE each other. We recognise those soft, dented parts of each other.

Crying alone over the sink or driving my car, I am not self-conscious. I imagine the tears are necessary, they are melting the toughened parts of me. They are a calling and a reminder. This is your life, be with it and have compassion for yourself and others.

13 replies
  1. Suzanne
    Suzanne says:

    Great words Sarah. Sometimes being in my fifties I feel so alone. the internet is swamped with confident sassy millennials and it’s easy to think that’s all there is. Then there are the powerful women like you sharing the good bad and ugly and I realize I’m not alone x

  2. Jules
    Jules says:

    Sarah, thankyou. Your open honest beautiful words really take some of the fear away for the time I eventually transition. It’s so generous of you to allow us all in xxxx


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