Most of us can remember back to when we turned 21 — and how much we looked forward to that milestone birthday. But then life takes over. And more often than not, we no longer look forward to the milestones.

Are you having a milestone birthday soon? Are you dreading it?

Don’t dread it, embrace it! It took me many decades to get here, but I am fully embracing the fact that I just turned 50. And I have an 8-year-old son. He keeps me young. Many of my “mom” friends are a good 10 years younger than me. Am I a bit more tired and achy than my 40-year-old friends? Heck yeah. But does it feel like a huge age gap between us? Absolutely not.

How many times have we dreaded big birthdays — turning 30 or 40 — but yet we love to celebrate those milestones when they are someone else’s! You are just as deserving of a celebration.

Birthdays are meant to be enjoyed, not dreaded.

With each passing year, I love getting to celebrate another birthday, because many people do not get to celebrate 50. Or 40. Or even 30. So no matter your age, on your next birthday celebrate the wonderfulness that is you. We may not love getting older, but life is meant to be celebrated. Do something special for yourself (insert spa day here!). And yes, it’s cliche, but age is just a number. 

The older I get, the more life experience I have, and the greater self-acceptance I have (which I didn’t have in my 30s or even 40s). I have been through a lot, as we all have, but keeping things in perspective has helped me tremendously to persevere through the various health issues and challenges I have faced. I am sure you can think back to difficult times in your life, or perhaps you are going through a difficult time right now. You deserve to celebrate the strong person you have become. 

I’m not usually one to give advice to friends, but to all my fellow mamas out there, here’s how I stay grounded at 50. Believe me when I say:

Age is truly just a number. 

Take care of your body both mentally and physically — you only have one.

There is no greater love than a mom’s love for their child. This helps me keep things in perspective when I look at my miracle of a son.

Take time as often as you can to do something you truly love (for me, that is playing soccer). 

Find something or someone who makes you laugh every day. 

Embrace each birthday! And definitely the milestones. Have some cake. You are worth celebrating. 

Happy birthday to me!

Cheryl Mastrogiovanni
Cheryl is a native of Salem, MA, and now resides in Arlington with her husband and son. A graduate of Boston College, she has been a high school counselor for over 20 years and enjoys helping seniors navigate the college application process. A lifelong Boston Bruins fan, Cheryl began attending hockey games with her father in the original Boston Garden at the age of 8, a tradition she is now sharing with her son. Cheryl published a children’s picture book about the Bruins, and is also passionate about soccer, Cape Cod, all things Italian, and spending time with her family. As much as she loves to travel, she equally loves coming home. Loves: playing soccer on the weekends, GOOD pizza, hot summer nights, '80s music, sneakers, and being organized Dislikes: long meetings, loud noises, messiness