3 Powerful Tips for Coming to Terms with Turning 50

As I was coming to terms with turning 50, my thoughts wandered back to a long-ago conversation:

It was daybreak on a February morning in 1989. The weather was minus 10 degrees, and the wind was blowing as I was walking over the Mississippi River bridge. I was with one of my roommates headed to a sophomore accounting class at the University of Minnesota.  

As the frost was nearly sealing our eyes shut, my friend was complaining about the futility of college. He was bemoaning that this suffering moment was a waste of time.  

I responded, I know exactly why I’m here. I know what I’m going to do. I am focused on the dollar signs:”

Turning 50

From the time I was in 6th grade and bought a lawnmower and weed eater, knocking on neighbors’ doors to cut their grass, I was focused on success. I wanted to win.

I completed college and graduate school. I work in finance and have been happily married for 25 years, with four beautiful children.  

I had climbed and conquered the mountain which I had set my eye upon from an early age. But God began to open my eyes that I was short changing myself and others–my life was too isolated and incomplete.

The Struggle of Turning 50

Decades later, I began to reflect on my journey while approaching my 50th birthday. As a somewhat shy and reserved person who hates attention, I cringed at the idea of having a birthday party.  

 Coming to terms with turning 50 was a struggle.

At the prodding of my wife, Mary, I decided to host a celebration, as a way of giving back to the wonderful people in our life.

Preparing for this event to mark the huge milestone of turning 50, and what I would say to my friends, I was forced to take inventory of my 50-year journey…the good and the not-so-good.  

It was hard to admit that in so many ways I was the same 19-year-old wanting to “win”.

Man on water-coming to terms with turning 50

Turning 50 and Facing the Second Mountain

During the month of turning the big FIVE-O, I was reading David Brooks’ book, The Second Mountain.  

God used the book to grab me and shake me like a football coach grabs his player’s jersey during halftime dressing down.

Brooks’ 365-page book describes how our First Mountain in life is about career wins, status, the house, marriage, and the process of “being somebody“.  

Brooks described his mistakes and regrets and the resulting suffering from his First Mountain climb.  

But when he awoke and discovered the Second Mountain, he became genuinely alive. It was as if his life turned from black-and-white to color.

His journey up the Second Mountain of life was about forgetting independence and discovering dependence, to be utterly enmeshed in a web of warm relationships.  

It was an awakening to the value of intimacy, devotion, responsibility, and commitment to others in every sense.

Turning 50 and facing The Second Mountain is about empathy, about immersion in others. The Second Mountain is becoming born again, AGAIN.

Telescope-coming to terms with turning 50


Turning 50 and the 50th Birthday Bash

As the time approached for my party, I wanted to use this opportunity to convey to treasured friends what God was speaking to me.

I hoped that I could provide a glimpse of the Second Mountain before me.  

As a means of preempting the “roasting” or “toasting” that usually accompanies turning 50, I seized the microphone to have some fun but also to say what God was chiseling into my heart:

“I will tell you what is special: It’s the relationships and the bonds that we share together. Our lives if lived isolated have little value, but our lives together have infinite value.  

The world tells us to want independence, to be true to ourselves “but the reality is that we all really want INTERdependence ” to be enmeshed in warm relationships, intimacy with others, commitment to something greater.

It’s in emptying ourselves of ourselves and getting lost in the love and passion that we have for doing this journey together: this is what we carry into eternity.  

It’s laboring every day and immersing ourselves in what we were designed to do, for the sake of the journey, not for the end itself.

The Golden Pot at the end of the Rainbow is here in this room. The treasure is sitting and standing next to you.  

I also want more than ever to grab the future and pull it forward. I want to close the door on past hurts, disappointments, regrets, the fears, the insecurities; there’s so much life to give, people to know better.  

Age often robs people of excitement and purpose.   But age cannot take away ANYONE’s hope when they are looking through the lens of eternity.”

Turning 50 with My Second Mountain Dwellers

I am fortunate to have two men in my life who seem to have been born on the Second Mountain. They skipped the empty gratification of the First Mountain and decided to fast-forward to the good part, the very marrow of God’s best life.

My friend Shawn, a pastor at my community church, in his early 30’s forfeited his emerging career at a multinational corporation to selflessly shepherd others. He adopted two sibling Foster toddlers, while he and his wife regularly nurture and care for a seemingly endless stream of Foster babies, and to our congregation and community.

The other Second Mountain champion is my brother, Doug, who gave up his career in sales to minister to others almost every waking hour, including his adopted children from Africa, and China, and a precious special needs son.

Mountains with words-Coming to terms with turning 50

 Turning 50: 3 Tips

  1. Believe that God will provide. The present circumstances can be an anchor, preventing much-needed change. We think we need to provide for ourselves and others. But, like a person parachute jumping from a plane, we must believe that God will be there for us (and others who depend on us) when we pull the ripcord. It feels unsafe, but jumping off causes new life to begin. We don’t have to wait to turn 50 to get on the second mountain.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Matthew 6:26-27

  1. Enter your new world now, right where you are. You do not need to be a pastor, quit your career, or do what’s unnatural. Awakening to the richness of ministering to others is as natural as the wind blowing in the sails of a sailboat. We need to avail our eyes, mind, and heart toward God’s direction and let it happen.

 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Colossians 3:17

  1. Let yourself be imperfect. Changing often comes in daily, tiny increments. Letting yourself stumble, but always bouncing back and being guided by His principles is what gives renewal, energy, motivation, and life.

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,”

Philippians 3:13

Scripture-coming to terms with turning 50


Coming to Terms with Turning 50

Life is short and precious so we must stop, connect, and constantly reconnect with others.  

Coming to terms with turning 50 is an ongoing conversation where we escape the mundane and the ordinary to reflect on what’s extraordinary about each other and about what God has given us.  

Whatever age we are facing, let us tackle our fear in preparation for the Second Mountain, and let God conquer our hearts!  

Click the link to order “The Second Mountain


Cory Armand


Cory B Armand

Cory Armand is the husband of Mary and dad to four great kids. He works in the financial industry and enjoys reading, spending time with his friends and family, being involved in his church and the outdoors.

No Comments

  1. Collene on May 19, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    I love this! I had never heard the concept of a second mountain before and I love how you challenge us to climb this one first. We don’t have to wait until we are 50. What a great perspective on aging!

  2. Donna Miller on May 19, 2020 at 11:22 pm

    I have never heard the concept of the second mountain before! This is really good. I had to reconcile turning 50 also and like you said, I had to let go of perfection. Thank you for this wonderful post!

    • Mary Rooney Armand on May 20, 2020 at 1:13 am

      Thank you for reading! The book is really insightful and helped me alot.

  3. Michelle Ling on May 20, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    I’m only 23 so not even half of 50, but I thought that your blog post was super interesting! I have to be honest, the age group of ladies that I love the most are those in their 50’s and 60’s because they make the absolute best mentors! Their patience, slowly built wisdom through their life experience is something so special! I don’t know if you’d be amused to read this, but here are 23 Lessons I’ve Learned in 23 Years…


    Definitely not as deep and profound as what you wrote! But it is actually so funny to compare what we’ve been experiencing in different life stages!

    • Mary Rooney Armand on May 22, 2020 at 2:44 pm

      Michelle, What a wise soul you must be! I look forward to reading your story and thanks for stopping by!

  4. Hulda on May 22, 2020 at 1:07 am

    This is the year I turn 50. I found your post insightful.

  5. Jessica Brodie on May 23, 2020 at 12:19 am

    This is really motivating. I’m five years away from 50 myself, but I’ve glimpsed that second mountain already, and it’s a wonderful place to be. Thank you for reminding me of this!

    • Mary Rooney Armand on May 23, 2020 at 10:41 pm

      Jessica, thanks for reading! Awesome you are already looking toward the 2nd mountain!

  6. mimionlife on May 23, 2020 at 12:24 am

    I am 59 years old. I love every age. God has given me life lessons in each moment. I am a 15 years breast cancer survivor and each year is better and better. 🙂

  7. karentfriday on May 23, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    Great thoughts, Cory. I like the idea of starting with the second mountain and your thoughts here: “It’s in emptying ourselves of ourselves and getting lost in the love and passion that we have for doing this journey together:this is what we carry into eternity.”

  8. Yvonne on May 23, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    I am on my second mountain since I am 58. Thanks for the encouragement.

  9. Ava Pennington on May 25, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    As we begin to move out of the virus restrictions, this is a good reminder to consider the values that will shape us going forward. Let’s not waste this opportunity!

  10. […] of her family died in the war but at the age of 52 she began walking out a God ordained purpose believing it is never too late to find your […]

  11. […] I’ve gotten older there’s been an awakening of the importance of building human connections. I decided to shift […]

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