I am the first to admit, I hate aging. My feet are achy as soon as they hit the floor in the morning, my back sporadically hurts, and my knees sound like a bowl of rice krispies. Throw in some hot flashes for good measure, thinning eyebrows, and more grays than I’d like to admit. Yep, sounds like 50 is off to a great start. Nevertheless, when I backtrack to the shadow of my former, younger self, I realize that 50 definitely has its merits.
I use to roll my eyes at women in the salon who were getting their hair colored and I adamantly swore I would go natural when the time came. Of course, when the grays started to come a little more fast and furious than I would have liked, I went straight to the colorist. Clearly, my twenty-year old self had no idea what lay ahead. While the twenties were fun, I always felt like something bigger yet inaccessable lay ahead. Being on the cusp of creating a life for myself was exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. I worried about career choices and independence. Still plagued with PRTD (post residual teen drama) I obsessed about what ifs, why don’t they like me, why aren’t they calling me which would be the equivalent of why didn't they text me back in today's scenario.
My thirty self didn’t really think about age.Thirties were the beginning of my life, marriage, new house, and I was way too absorbed in processing these huge changes.
Ahhh, the 40’s. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t love my forties so much. Most of the physical changes I complain about started back then and took nearly a decade to resolve. I also didn’t like that I was on the other end of the spectrum at the OB/GYN- emphasis on the GYN because OB didn’t apply anymore. My kids were getting older, my face was stating to show signs of aging and if my night cream could talk, it would say, “what the hell happened?” Emotionally, forties is a crossroad for many. Some have mid- life crises and I am no different. My writing was stalled, I had no career, my kids didn’t need me as much and I knew that college was looming in a few short years. Fifty was creeping up and always taunting me in the background like an invisible forcefield. I didn’t want to be fifty. The number itself represented my life being half over, glass half empty. I desperately wanted to accomplish something big before AARP invited me to the party and my daughter went away to college.
Here I am. Fifty isn’t so bad. In fact, I would venture to say, it started out way better than the decade before. Whoever coined the phrase 50 is the new 40 was probably a 30 something bemoaning the fact that they too will one day be 50 and needed to justify the aging process.I know I clung to adages like that one. I came to 50 kicking and screaming, but now that I’m here, I’m actually okay. In the first few months of being 50, I published my children’s book and started a new career in fitness and nutrition. Fifty is truly the crossroads, where many decide to change for the second act of their lives.
Fifty represents clarity. I look at my daughter and all the teen angst, insecurity and drama that goes along with it. I see myself at that age, and wish she would believe me when I tell her that at some point, none of it makes a difference. I am the ghost of the future telling her, in real time, but I suppose she has to follow her own chronological journey. But if she took one thing away from my experiences, I wish it to be the fact that we don’t have time to worry about who doesn’t like us and that we should be busy loving the people who love us. There’s a 50ism for ya.
WHY CAN'T 50 JUST BE THE NEW 50?
Here’s the thing. Why can’t 50 just be the new 50? Truthfully, the 50-year old’s of today, are very different than the generation of 50’s before us. It’s true. I am a very different 50 than my mother was. There is more available to us now than ever before. We have access to so much abundance regarding healthier food, information, safer hair color and way better moisturizers. We choose differently in terms of careers, life choices etc. So, why can’t the age of 50 be the new standard? Why do we have to quantify it by trying to be the people we were in our 40’s?
I’m not glossing over the fact that aging isn’t easy. Fifty represents menopause, colonoscopies, shingles, cholesterol, osteoporosis, and the depressing list goes on. But more often than not, I feel like the same fun person I was in high school but with better fashion sense and wisdom, so I try to focus on that, and not what my bloodwork reveals (event though I get mad every time).
We all want to feel relevant but there is a reality that no matter how good one feels about oneself, there are going to be times where we are aged out of a job, or the checkout kid calls you “mam!” UGH, I hate the mam, but what should they call you? “Hey sexy, you want me to bag those apples for you?” That’s even worse. So, mam it is. We are a youth obsessed society and admittedly, when I see an upcoming, youthful actress- I sardonically think, “well one day you will be old.” I know, totally immature, but c’mon you think it too.
So, the point is, it’s okay to want to look better, we all do. There is no judgement if you color your hair, or get Botox, if it makes you feel better, then so be it. But, at the end of the day, your chronological age is only going up and nothing can change that. We can complain, even vent, but wishing for the days of yore as opposed to making our present the best it can be is soooo 40’s.