Things I Learned After I turned 50

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Throughout my whole life, I had always said that I never wanted to grow old. Thinking I could ever turn fifty seemed unfathomable.  Then it happened, and if I had thought turning forty was hard, turning fifty really threw me for a loop.

Never mind how depressed I found myself, with my mortality slapping me in the face, but my body seemed to know it had turned fifty.  Ya know what I mean?

I had not been feeling the greatest for many years due to autoimmune disease, but it seemed the minute I hit fifty, my body wanted to shout it out.  Or was it psychological?

I’m sure a lot of how I felt was psychological.  I felt as though life had happened way too fast.  How the heck had I gotten here?

Of course there was the inevitable menopause.  Oh those dreaded hot flashes.  I haven’t slept full nights since.

Then, incredibly, I swear I could see my face drop by the week.  It’s amazing how quickly this starts happening after fifty!  Everything on my body seemed to want to head south at the same time.  Damn hormones.

My muscles also started shrinking.  I wasn’t exercising at the time, and the difficulty I started experiencing doing physical activity scared me enough to get my butt to the gym.

Then there was the grey hair.  I’d started having some in my teens, but now covering them on my head became a losing battle and I found myself needing to fill in roots every three weeks. It just seemed I couldn’t keep up anymore, but more on that in future posts.

To add insult to injury, there were other hairs that started growing, only it was on my face!  My legs started losing hair, requiring less shaving, and that’s a good thing, but my face! Gasp!

Don’t let me leave you with the impression that it’s all bad though, because it isn’t.  How awesome is it to be in your fifties?  Lemme tell you!

I Love Me!

I now have the confidence of a lioness.

I finally know who I am.  No longer am I that insecure girl I’d been throughout adulthood, always worried about what others would think.  I really could not give a hoot what people think about me anymore. I know what I want and what I don’t want. I know who I am and what I’m about. I love me, and if someone else doesn’t, pfft.

Relationships

Relationships come and go through life, and now that I’m in my fifties, I no longer care to hang on to toxic relationships.  I can quickly judge if someone isn’t genuine with me, or if a relationship is toxic. I do not wish to hang on to toxic relationships.

I’m not afraid to let people go.  Sometimes it’s necessary.  I’d rather have a few real friendships or relationships than a lot of toxic acquaintances.

While letting go of toxic relationships is a good thing, it’s equally as important to value the good relationships and nurture these.  I’ve learned to appreciate those who matter. Sometimes small circles are the best circles.

Chasing Dreams

In the past, I was often reluctant to chase my dreams and try new things.  This started changing somewhat in my forties, but by the time I reached my fifties, I became fearless. Well, maybe not fearless, but better able to ignore that fear and go after what I want.

I’m an artist and I work hard on making things happen for me. I have other aspirations that I’m also going after, and I’m doing it, dammit.  Outta my way!

Sweating Small Stuff

Small stuff doesn’t phase me much anymore.  I watched my mother suffer from cancer like no human should and die an agonizing death.  I felt her take her last breath.  Things change after watching a loved one go through something like that.  It puts things into perspective and teaches us how precious life is.  Too precious to waste on bickering over unimportant things. Too precious to waste sweating the small stuff, and like the book said, most of it is small stuff.

This realization, while I logically understood it in my forties when she passed, didn’t fully hit me until after I turned fifty. Life seemed to take on a whole new meaning.

Appreciating the Small Stuff

When you start contemplating your mortality, you begin to appreciate the small things in life.  Maybe it’s just the artist in me, but I treasure little things like flowers growing, the way evening sun lights up things, finding the perfect book at the right time, an afternoon drive in the country, the smell of a lake as a gentle breeze carries it to you, kisses from my dog, making art . . . I could go on and on with this, but you get the picture.

Life is full of wonder, and often the most amazing things are in small packages.  Appreciate the small stuff.

Accepting my Changing Looks

Aging is inevitable.  We can’t always look like we did when we were twenty-one.  This was hard to deal with for the longest time, especially in my forties, and the first year I after I turned fifty.  Now?  Pfft.  (I like saying pfft.)

I accept the lines, the thinning skin, the aching joints, and the greying hair.  I’ve even made the decision to let my hair go grey and stop coloring.  I’m accepting where I’m at and am even learning to embrace it.

I now regularly work out and try to maintain a healthy weight.  Many younger people think aging women are trying to hold on to youth by training hard in the gym, trying to hold on to hot bikini bodies. Wrong. That’s not what it’s really about.  A hot body is great to have, but that’s not the ultimate goal.  At least not for me.

It’s about staying healthy in order to live as long as possible in the healthiest way possible.  Without health, we have nothing.

I know, cliche, but it’s the truth.

A long life without health is torture.  Who wants that?

With the knowledge and resources we have today, a long life is more than possible, but if I’m going to live a long life, I want o live may best life, that means being healthy, strong, and mobile.

One needs to be able to grow into old age being able to take care of ones self.  Being able to carry your own groceries, walk up and down stairs, and just being mobile enough to enjoy things like walks and hikes. These require good health.  That’s why I go to the gym.

There are also the usual old age diseases like heart conditions, strokes, diabetes . . . These can be avoided with a healthy active lifestyle and proper nutrition.  I’m terrified of these conditions, so I take care of myself.

My health wasn’t the greatest when I turned fifty.  It scared me, so I hired a coach and I hit the gym.  I changed the way I eat.  Now, at fifty-two, I am healthier and stronger than I was at thirty.  Seriously!

I do weight training.  I do battle ropes.  I flip gigantic tires.  I push the prowler.  I AM FREAKING TRAINING TO DO PULL UPS!!!  Seriously !  How exciting is that?!

Now that I’m in my fifties, I am amazing myself with the things I’m accomplishing and the things I am pushing myself to do.  I’m not afraid to try things anymore and I’m feeling awesome.

I’ve Rediscovered the Fearless Girl Inside Me

When I was a young girl, I was known for being fearless and a little bit haywire.  My mom and dad used to cringe in fear at the things I did.  I was a miracle I survived my youth and teens.

Somewhere in my adulthood, I sort of became fearful, never wanting to try new things.  It was all about maintaining the status quo, not disturbing the flow of things, never taking chances.

Now, I’m finding myself getting a little braver again, the way I was when I was a kid. Not in the reckless, careless sense, but I’m just beginning to feel more adventurous and I’m in a hurry to get things done. I routinely tell myself to get out of my own way.

I’ve arrived

Yes, I’ve arrived at fifty.  I’m far from considering myself old though, and like everyone else who ages, I still feel like a twenty-one year old.  The mirror does betray the person inside, but that’s ok. This person is loving who she’s allowing herself to be, and it’s really just about being.

It’s about finally feeling comfortable enough to just be me and to love myself.  I accept myself, warts and all.  I don’t have warts though.  That’s just an expression.  But, you get it.

Being over fifty is really not that bad.  I do wish I’d been this person when I was twenty-one, however. It would’ve made my life a lot easier, but then, isn’t easy the boring way through life?

Fifty. Well, fifty-two now.  It’s pretty awesome when I really think about it.  Life is good, and the way I look at it now, I’m just entering the second half of my life. I still have a lot of living to do, and I have a better clue how to go about it now.

Oh, and you know how I used to think I never wanted to grow old?  Well, now I do.  It’s a privilege denied many, as the saying goes, and I think of my mother and how she never got the chance.  It hit me recently to be careful what you wish for and what you keep saying.

I want to grow old.  Very old.

 

 

 

 

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