How You'll Age in Your Fifty-Year Old Body

Michelle Jaqua

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Hitting my fifties has been challenging. I’ve always been in excellent health, at near athletic level. In my mind, I’m still at my peak and believe I can still do the things I was able to do in my thirties. Until I try and my body betrays me.

Sorry, but fifty isn’t the new thirty.

This has flustered me and left me confused, not knowing why I’m having aches and pains and other weird symptoms. My body has sent me to the doctor multiple times in the past year only to be told that I’m getting older. My last doctor visit was yesterday, where once again, I’ve been told that my body is changing and to embrace it as part of life.

Getting old kinda sucks.

Let me give you a rundown of changes you get to look forward to if you haven’t hit this golden age yet:

HAIR

It may happen earlier than fifty, but eventually hair goes gray. Gray hair is wiry and difficult to control. Add that to already unruly curly hair, makes for a long morning of styling.

When this happened to me, it was time to decide if I wanted to embrace it and let nature determine my look, or continue to color it every two weeks and deal with a “skunk line”.

I decided to let my hair go. It’s salt and pepper with some Mrs. Frankenstein white locks in front. I think it looks pretty cool.

FACE

Beyond the obvious accumulation of crow’s feet and lip wrinkles, there’s also dry skin and extra hair growing out of my chin and on top of my lip and even other places. Ugh. My eyebrows are also turning white. This requires a lot of different experiments in hair removal. Still looking for the right balance.

EYES

At age fifty, I have clear vision only at arms length. Anywhere closer or further away is blurry.

I keep working on getting my glasses corrected because they have some sort of deficit at certain ranges. Most of the time I have my glasses propped on the top of my head because they aren’t working for me. If you look around, you’ll see many older women with their glasses sitting on top of their head.

BREASTS

I don’t even want to discuss this.

WAIST

Two words: Middle fat. Impossible to get rid of without surgical intervention or exercising eight hours a day. Believe me, I’ve tried (sort of).

BUTT

Going from a heart to a square. Enough said.

PERIMENOPAUSE

Okay, here we go. Because my hormones are spiking and crashing, I feel like I’m going through puberty backwards. There are symptoms from this that I’d never dreamed of: migraines, hot flashes, sexual problems, pain, tiredness, and overall feeling like I’m going crazy. I feel bad for my partner, but I feel worse for my own body. It’s in shock and it’s the reason why I’ve visited the doctor so much in the past year. Every strange symptom I get seems to be an offshoot of perimenopause. I should probably do a blog just on this subject alone.

KNEES

My knees hurt ALL THE TIME. I used to be a runner, so that probably doesn’t help. I’m lucky because now there’s these really painful injections you can get in your knees that will stave off the pain for months. Until you need a total knee replacement.

ANKLES AND LEGS

At the end of the day, I’ve noticed my ankles are a little swollen and tired. I’ve developed varicose veins. Compression socks are my newest find. There’s a huge difference, my legs feel lighter and have more energy when I peel them off at the end of the day. It’s a little weird wearing them with sandals though.

FEET

I have really great feet that have never given me trouble and are still holding their own. I know some people have a lot of trouble with their feet. Pain is usually the biggest problem. Comfortable shoes become very important and squeezing into fashionable shoes is painful. Balance is also important. Any type of heel is out of the question. There’s a reason you don’t see old ladies in pumps.

Other things:

Naps are wonderful! I can no longer go at full speed all day and then all night long. I can give my best for five hours tops, then I need a serious break.

Insomnia is a part of life. Again, it’s probably the hormones, or my bladder isn’t as functional as it used to be. Waking up at 2 or 3 am is a standard. I’m just happy when I can fall back asleep.

Here’s the best thing about coming into your fifties: You understand what is important in life and what is pure bullshit. Good for you if you can figure this out earlier (I’m a late bloomer). You see your own mortality and realize that life is really about spending time doing the things you love, and loving the people who mean the most to you. You stop taking life for granted. It makes the world a richer place.

I suppose that’s a good trade off.

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Michelle Jaqua is a freelance writer who lives in the beautiful state of Oregon. She writes about a variety of news and happenings in the Pacific Northwest, along with some PNW history and fun facts. Subscribe to her page and get her posts in your email.

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