One of the more recent catch phrases is: The 50s are the new 30s. For those of us over 40, it's a balm that feels good for the moment. In our honest times, we know the aging process is throwing us life curves quicker than we can keep up.
Let's face the facts.
Middle age is the time where your body begins to betray you. One morning you can read the newspaper and the next day, month or year, you have reading glasses in every handbag and every room. The rock concerts and loud music begin to take their toll. Suddenly, you're saying, "Excuse me?" more often. You can't find your keys. You start a conversation and forget the point. Every doctor's appointment leads to another test, another prescription.
Menopause is either here or just around the corner. Night sweats and hot flashes. Mood swings. Bloating and crankiness. What's not to love?
The looks you took for granted are now sliding downhill like the Olympic ski team. Maintenance starts getting expensive: Your hair is either going to be gray or chemically altered. Your manicures and pedicures take on major importance. More surfaces of your body need to be waxed. All of those metal fillings in your teeth need replaced.
Fashion trends are perplexing. Season after season, the newest look is something we wore years ago. If they're bringing back a certain look that you've already experienced, the designers are not bringing it back for you.
For extra fun, you're probably also dealing with aging parents and children leaving the nest. These life-stage changes bring on new challenges in a marriage and other relationships.
There is some good news.
I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin. I've had options that weren't available to previous generations. I've made good choices and horrible choices but I no longer feel the need to explain or apologize.
Middle age is a wonderful opportunity to reevaluate. What's important to you? How can you accomplish it?
I value the changes, as painful as they may be. I'm envious of the child going off to college --- (Didn't I just do that yesterday?) -- but I'm looking forward to the freedom. I'm often frustrated with my live-in in-laws but I'm grateful for the opportunity to help and witness the closure it represents.
I'm not ashamed of my age. I've earned the wrinkly knees from too much sun and the permanent lines on my face. They're my badge of honor that says to the world: She has lived and laughed. She has spent sleepless nights worrying about her friends or family. There's some wisdom hidden in those freaky lines.
I am actually enjoying middle age, still feel very youthful and am proud to tell people I am 45. Maybe it’s because I enjoy life so much. I still teach Spinning and I could kick most young peoples’ rear ends while teaching my class if I chose to do so. I lift weights twice a week. It keeps me feeling young.
However, unlike Sheri, I have had some work done to alleviate my “freaky lines”. Yes, having Dr. Stephen Perkins and Dr. Bruce Van Natta as clients for the past several years, I’ve totally bought into the anti-aging potions and procedures. No plastic surgery yet, but I’ll have no problem when it’s my time. I have saggy genes in my family. I spent 25 years basking in the sun slathering a concoction of baby oil and iodine on my face, sometimes lying on tin foil to get the best possible tan. It's pay-back time. For now, the right make-up tricks and regular dermabrasions/light peels camouflage my imperfections just fine. And, I did not have blonde hair until about 8 years ago. Call me vain. I don’t care. I’m comfortable in my skin and I’m sure I will be comfortable in my “new skin” should I choose to have plastic surgery some day.
Relative to all the other middle age problems Sheri addresses? Yikes! That’s a whole other blog article or two.