I turned 51 on August 5. I am not sure where the first 50 years went. It seems every moment since I turned 10 has just flown by. I’ve come to grips with the fact that I am in the second half of my life. (Yes. I’ve committed to making it to exactly 100 and then falling asleep on August 5 2067 at exactly midnight…it could happen. =D ) This year, from 50 forward has seemed to gain momentum on that down hill rush toward the end.
I talk all the time about not letting your age define who you are. I do actually believe that. If you think you’re old, you will be old. There are, however, a few things that are just a fact of life and signs that yes, we are aging. What I believe, is how we mentally handle it, is how we will manage it. These are a few things I’ve been pondering about life after 50. I’m sure more will creep in over time. In the mean time I plan to acknowledge, assess, and accept all that is to be in aging. (Ok..I’ll need some reminders. I’m not gonna lie. I don’t like some of these facts and want to fight the process. 🙂 )
Menopause. The word sucks. The process sucks more.
I really can’t complain. I have had it easy. My period weaned down and then just stopped. My hot flashes (so far) have been mild. Since I was cold most of my youth, they almost were welcome. There are times when my mid back feels on fire,
Photo by Little Visuals on Pexels.com
and other times when I am reminded of when I was a 20 year old joking that “I’m a girl. I don’t sweat. I just glisten.” Oh how I ‘glisten’ now! Someone could catch a glass and water their plants for days. It’s normal. I know. But it’s also weird, and hard to explain to the people you’re with who want to turn the air conditioning off.
Let’s talk weight gain. I am 20 pounds heavier than I want to be. (And that is an additional 20 pounds more than I weighed when I got married)
Ugh. I hate this topic. And yet it’s a fact. As we age, our metabolism slows down. My doctor told me at my physical today that “as you get older you need to eat less AND exercise” in order to lose weight. This obviously didn’t sit well with me, because at ANY age, in order to lose weight you need to take in less than you are expending. She’s right. Our metabolism slows down. Menopause, and the change in hormones, just makes it worse.
In 2010, I was pregnant. It was the most happy time I can remember. I didn’t love gaining weight, but I knew there would be this amazing gift at the end. I miscarried at 15 weeks and 4 days. I had put on 20 pounds already. I don’t know that I was eating more. I think it was mostly water, and that had something to do with the miscarriage. Maybe not. I grasp at straws where this topic is concerned. I had 15 weeks of the best thing ever, and then I didn’t. It took 4 months to return to my pre-pregnacy weight and to feel a bit more normal. I worked out hard. I found solace in the gym. At 43, I was in the best shape since college..even better than when I got married…or when I was cheering in college. The scale was higher than I wanted, but dang…I had some muscles and I liked it!
What sucks now is that I’m so darn tired all the time, too, that my workouts are not where I want them to be. I get hungry randomly through the day. When I get home, I am not excited to make a meal and I frequently grab whatever is closest and easiest. I know that I need to plan more, and actually schedule activity into my life. I find this hard because until now it’s been easy. Now I have to think about it and plan. In general, my body feels like it did when I was pregnant, only there’s not that awesome gift at the end.
I guess that’s not so bad when I say it out loud…it’s just different. I can plan. I HAVE to plan if I want my clothes to fit, and to be able to hang out on the boat without worrying that my gut is hanging out. I want to learn to appreciate that pooch that once housed a being. I love my body for all it gives me.
Whether you’re pregnant now, in the past, or never have been, I think loving our belly’s (the area that houses a lot of our important parts of our being) is even more important as we progress past 50.
One of the biggest struggles I have as a 51 year old woman is knowing how to take care of my aging parents. I’m so lucky to have them both with me still. I’ll forever be sad that they aren’t still together, but I am very lucky that they are on friendly terms. I am incredibly grateful for the life and love they gave me, the faith in God they showed me, the respect they taught me and the confidence they instilled in me that I could be and do anything I choose.
Watching them age, and need help is really tough. I still go to them for advice, while they come to me to guide them. I think this is the hardest part of working my way to 100. (Above photos are from my cousin Sheila’s wedding. She is 4 years older than me. She was a role model for me when I was a kid, and still is to this day as she started her first marriage….and shares with me the same concerns she has about her Mom, my Dad’s sister.)
Some things I am so in awe of as I contemplate 51:
I am not as worried about what other people think. have always tempered my words and have been afraid people wouldn’t like me if I spoke up. Now I am able to speak my mind a bit better. I know I NEED to speak my mind better. Even though I yell at my parents to stay in line, I love, and appreciate them even more than I did when I was born. I pray daily for patience so that I may be for them what they continue to be for me. I have learned to take a breath and spill my guts when my husband and I need to talk things out. It definitely isn’t easy, but it is so much better.
I am excited more now about my career than I was at 25 too. I have always liked what I do as a physical therapist, but in the last 10 years I’ve had a renewed passion for helping people to feel better in a calm and encouraging way. It totally feels like I have found me in the process.
I can’t say I love the way I look or feel. I can say that I know that I need to keep trying. I know there are many tweaks I can make to help me achieve what I know I can achieve. My parents taught me to have faith. I know that if you put the work in and keep believing in your ability to make progress you most definitely will achieve your goals. Even if it means you need to modify them a bit 🙂