“Ouch,” we say when our knees hurt as we bend down to put something heavy away.
“Oh no,” we complain because it hurts when we stretch to get out of bed in the morning.
And “ugh,” we utter when we look in the mirror and see new creases around our eyes and upper lips that are starting to look like a set of pleated drapes.
Aging has its challenges, physically, visually and mentally. Some are bad—aches and ailments, mental lapses, repetition of the same story, again and again, and forgetting things. Frankly, it can suck. And at the same time, everything is going south. Flab. Cellulite. Brown spots.
Weight gain? Get over it. Buy larger clothes that cover the not so slim spots. Our hair is thinning and if we don’t color it, we’ve gone gray. Turkey neck? Of course. For that there is always plastic surgery but let’s face it people, it costs lots and how enticing is it to elect to go under the knife for vanity’s sake when you can’t be confident about the results. Many of us are living on fixed incomes so we must be prudent.
But the truth is that there’s no reason to lose sleep over this. Oh, sleep. Who sleeps? That’s another liability of getting older—having a harder time falling asleep and waking multiple times during the night. But we’ll save the entire sleep challenge for its own separate blog.
At the same time, age 50-plus can be liberating. Many of us who have retired, can now do what we’ve always wanted to do. Others, who’ve been knocked down have learned how to get back up. And some of us whose best-laid plans have been derailed by an illness, death, divorce, job loss, or move have learned the value of a second chance and act. That new road can lead to being an entrepreneur, working at a non-profit, doing a new form of art, training to be a docent, taking up and training for a sport, learning to do more online from Instagram to even a podcast! Whatever, as our kids often say.
There are countless examples of people who have re-charged their lives late in life.
- A former real estate salesperson is now painting portraits and selling them.
- A marketing guru stared a nonprofit to mentor 8th-12th grade girls in an inner-city charter school.
- Another woman, who did marketing and has a law degree, took over her husband’s business after he died. She’s taken the firm to a new level.
- A woman who did PR and is now age 70 has become a standup comedian and book author.
- A retired couple, who could have but didn’t turn to golf, are acting as extras in movies and on TV shows.
- A 50-something law professor is now a self-professed thrill seeker who tried and loves rock climbing. She still wants to sky dive. For her, the sky, literally, is the limit.
There are financial perks to becoming card-carrying AARP members. We get senior discounts to movies, concerts, on planes and trains and museum memberships for a senior rate. Some of us are on Medicare where some plans offer free Silver Sneakers fitness classes. And if you’re healthy and have a body that gets you where you want to go, how lucky you really are. It’s sort of like our older cars that take us where we need to go even if they have high mileage, and are dented, sag, putter and are slow to start. No big deal.
This is the time, with what time we have left, to reflect on what really matters, Work. Play. Passion. What gives us pleasure and hope, sustains our brains and hearts? How about love. Welcoming love at an older age is fabulous and healthy--and it can make us feel like teenagers. We can still have intimate relationships, sex is great because we don’t have to worry about getting pregnant and our kids aren’t in the next-door room. However, our age cohort is still susceptible to STDs, so we must be careful like our children.
So if you wake up cranky and achy, be thankful you woke up. One woman we know quotes a friend of hers who said, “I’ll know I’m dead when I don’t wake up with aches and pains.” Let’s think about how much time we have left rather than how much we have lived. The rest is just fluff.
This summer Barbara and Margaret will host a Podcast. This will be a fun, fresh, unique lifestyle brand that celebrates life after 50! Our guests will be ordinary folks who have lived life to the fullest. Details to come.