Peggy Browning A Calm and Happy Freak

Peggy Browning is a writer looking at her life after age 50 through rose-colored bifocals. She writes about issues facing the boomer crowd with humor and wit. She has reinvented herself many times through life’s exciting adventures, varied jobs and diverse careers. She’s been a special education teacher, social worker, waitress, newspaper carrier,  newspaper correspondent, fruit stand owner, nurse’s aide, janitor and  writer/entrepreneur. And that’s just a few of the jobs she’s been paid to do during her first 5 decades…

The Wisdom to Know the Difference….Attitudes after 50

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Recently someone told me it appears that I care about nothing. He judged my calmness about the world’s state of affairs and particularly about his own state of affairs as a lack of concern for both the world and for him.

His exact words were: “You don’t give a sh*t about anything, do you?”

Au contraire, my friend. I do care.

It’s just that now that I’m over age 50, I find very few things worthy of expending the energy to fret over.

I learned long ago that it’s useless to fret.

If my friend wanted to see “caring” he should have been around me 25 years ago. I “cared” so much then that I stuck my nose in everybody’s business. I tried changing the unchangeable, fixing the unfixable. I found everything unacceptable.

It was exhausting. It was also unmanageable.  I was too busy minding the world’s business to mind my own.

The difference between then and now is that I believe I have developed the wisdom to know the difference in what to change and what to accept.

I watch the news. I understand what’s going on around me. I know I’m a calm minority.

I know everyone around me seems concerned about something…whether it’s the economy or a celebrity’s unflattering dress. After listening to news shows, election debates, and the general fussiness and complaints of co-workers and neighbors, I feel like a freak because I don’t rush to action or judgment.

However, I am a very calm and relatively happy freak

It’s this very calmness that seems to bother people like my aforementioned friend who continues to fret and obsess, fuss and argue.

To quote Homer (Simpson…not the Greek poet): “Just because I don’t care, doesn’t mean I don’t understand.” That pretty much sums it up for me.

I like to think that’s wisdom rather than complacence. But it’s hard to know for sure.

Now that I’m over age 50, I hardly care about any of the things I worried about before. In fact, many of those issues have either gone away or resolved themselves over time without my help or interference. Maybe they really weren’t all that important to begin with.

Do I care about World Peace, Injustice, Hunger, War, Unbearable Strife and General Unhappiness?  Do I care that the neighbor’s driveway was blocked by careless parking or that her dog barks every night from midnight to 3:00 a.m.?

Technically, yes.

Obsessively, no.

Although I care in general, I have accepted that I can’t do much about other people’s problems on a large scale. I can only do my best with my own limited access and capability.

 I can follow Mother Teresa’s advice and do small deeds with great love. Let my actions speak louder than words.

What else can I do? How much more can I care?

Yes, I could obsess…argue…debate. But is that truly caring? Will it make a difference?  I think not.

Why fret when it’s unnecessary? Or when it changes nothing?

It just seems wiser and more caring to change the things I can and accept the things I can’t, to truly care about what I truly care about and do the best I can.

Now that I’m over 50, I tend to look more calmly at situations, change things if I need to and try to leave them alone if I don’t.

Perhaps, finally, I have simply gained the wisdom to know the difference.

***If you are over fifty do you feel the same way? If you're under fifty can you see this happening to you (if it hasn't already)?  Comment below, and thanks for stopping by the blog today!   ~Natalie

Catch Peggy's musings about life after 50 on her blog at her website,, her opinion column and feature news stories at, and blogs at and Visit her Facebook page at


  1. Excellent way to be...carry on "calm and relatively happy freak".



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