50 TODAY: Take a look at the changing face of 50

If you’re turning 50 this year, not to worry. Things may be a whole lot more fabulous than you ever thought possible. To celebrate our own Hoda Kotb's 50th birthday on Aug. 9, TODAY is taking a closer look at what it means to be 50 now — and our TODAY survey found plenty of reasons to celebrate.

What’s clear is that 50 sure isn’t what it used to be. In fact, 70 percent of 50-year-olds surveyed by TODAY say they feel younger than their age. With people living longer, and knowing a whole lot more about living a healthy lifestyle, 72 percent of respondents say being 50 today is actually younger than it was in their own parents’ generation. 

And no wonder: Check out this slideshow to see how 50 really DOES look different now.

  • Slideshow Photos

    50 then and now

    Different looks for different decades. George Clooney, left, is 53, and yet looks younger than the late Jim Backus, who was 51 when cast on "Gilligan's Island."

  • 50 then and now

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    Courteney Cox, Frances Bavier -

    Courteney Cox, left, who turned 50 in June, is shown next to Frances Bavier, who cultivated a much older look when she began playing the beloved Aunt Bee on "The Andy Griffith Show" in her 50s.

    Getty Images, Everett Collection / Getty Images, Everett Collection
  • 50 then and now

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    Rob Lowe, Wilford Brimley -

    Rob, Lowe, left, who turned 50 in March, and is still considered a sex symbol by many, is shown next to Wilford Brimley, who was 51 when he starred in the 1985 classic "Cocoon," about a group of senior citizens rejuvenated by aliens. (Brimley is shown here in "Coccon: The Return," which came out in 1988, when he was 54.)

    AFP-Getty Images, Everett Collec / AFP-Getty Images, Everett Collec
  • 50 then and now

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    Elle Macpherson, Vivian Vance -

    Model Elle Macpherson, left, turned 50 in March. She recently served as host and executive producer for the reality show, "Fashion Star." She's shown next to the late Vivian Vance, who was beloved as Lucy Ricardo's pal Ethel Mertz on "I Love Lucy." Vance was just 42 when she started playing Ethel, but in past because her husband was played by 64-year-old William Frawley, people often assumed Vance was much older.

    Getty Images, Everett Collection / Getty Images, Everett Collection
  • 50 then and now

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    Denzel Washington, Mickey Rooney -

    Denzel Washington, left, will turn 60 in December. He's shown with the late legendary actor Mickey Rooney, who was 59 when he starred in "The Black Stallion." Washington continues to play active roles in thrillers, and will next star in the movie adaptation of "The Equalizer." But Rooney shouldn't be overlooked--he began acting as a child star, and worked for 90 years.

    AP, Everett Collection / AP, Everett Collection
  • 50 then and now

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    Sandra Bullock, Ann B. Davis -

    Sandra Bullock, left turned 50 in July. On the verge of the half-century mark, she wasn't judged too old to play an astronaut in 2013's critically acclaimed "Gravity." She's shown with late actress Ann B. Davis, who was 43 when she took on the role of beloved Brady famlly live-in maid in "The Brady Bunch."

    Getty Images, Everett Collection / Getty Images, Everett Collection
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    George Clooney, Jim Backus -

    George Clooney, right, is 53, and his two most recent movie roles were as an astronaut in "Gravity" and a soldier in "Monuments Men." He's shown here with the late Jim Backus, who is most famous for playing millionaire Thurston Howell III on "Gilligan's Island," a role he took on at age 51. (Natalie Schafer, the actress who played his wife, Lovey, was 64 when "Gilligan's Island" began.)

    AP. Everett Collection / AP. Everett Collection

Turns out, getting old is a moving goalpost. Remember when you were 20 and thought 50 was ancient? When today’s 50-year-olds were asked to put a number on “old,” they chose 66. But ask a 60-something and they say 72.

Tune in tomorrow to learn why 50 really does rock and see the full results of TODAY's "This is 50" survey. There are so many reasons why 50 is fabulous.

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Truly golden: 50 isn’t what it used to be

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Truly golden: 50 isn’t what it used to be

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Join in! Show TODAY what the face of 50 looks like now. Send us your photos on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #ThisIs50.

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