I don’t know where that came from or who thinks it’s actually true or what media outlets are throwing the half decade a big party; Today; but as someone who turns 50 in a few days, it’s an emphatic No!
So I’m going to preface this post with three things; One: I am only sharing what is going on with me personally. Two: This is not meant to be a laundry list of my angst’s, just my own experiences and observations. Three: I normally write about recovery and sobriety, but this is about my Emotional Sobriety and staying sane! The only other thing I will say is that after I share this article I won’t complain or mention the half decade milestone again. Ever.
Instead of writing in normal paragraph form, which now I’m too lazy to read, (this must be another upside of turning 50) I will break it down into 3 areas:
I’m getting ready to head out to Palm Springs in a couple weeks with some other hot 50 year olds to celebrate us, and we rented a swag house with a huge pool. I just went bathing suit shopping. I am having a funeral today for the skimpy string bikini. I can’t anymore. I weigh the same as I did a few years ago, but my middle is a pouch now with wrinkles. No matter how many planks or crunches I do (I could do a few more) the pouch has dropped its anchor. In addition to the bathing suit horror, is the arm flab. The flab that when I’m clapping at an AA meeting is looking more like a trapeze swaying back and forth. Can I continue to wear sleeveless? Spaghetti straps? That’s on a case by case basis for now, and I’m fine with that. I still find myself wearing my cute jeans, but no shirt tuck for me, I’m sporting the oversized sweater, the flowy blouse and the cute wrap draping over tank top. No need to belt that shit up anymore. I’m getting grayer by the day. I started turning gray in my early 30’s and I used to go 3-4 weeks until a root touch up was needed. Now it’s about 10 days until they highlight themselves out of hibernation. Hair mascara is my new BFF. Last but not least, are my Granny Panties and I can assure you my husband is less than thrilled. I’m not actually wearing the full on granny, but it’s getting there. I like the panties that cover most of my belly. It’s more comfortable. It’s all about the comfort for me. No more thong or cheekers or anything that represents a doily. Can’t do it.
So really, what’s on pause? Is it my lack of libido, is it the brain fog/memory eraser or is it my psycho-ism? I’ve been able to manage the psycho-ism and the libido (mostly) by HRT. But my brain fog tortures me every day. My word association is nowhere to be found and remembering if I just brushed my teeth 10 minutes ago seems to be the new normal. Yeah, I hope this pause picks up again – very soon. I heard it’s here to stay for 5 years? WTF? I will be 55 by then and I will have a whole host of other issues to harness. I’m beginning to think it’s all one big conspiracy, marketed by AARP. I’m still waiting for that damn card to arrive in my mail. As far as the Psycho-ism, when my Menopause arrived hard at my door step I was a bi-polar freak. I was whiny (more than normal), I was depressed and I cried at everything. I mean everything. Lucy not eating her food (she’s a dog), losing to my husband at tennis, watching a TV show that didn’t have the ending I wanted. Yup, tissues were tucked into my long sleeve for all.
I’m generally quite a healthy person. Until recently. My body aches are an overdrive everyday and I need to take out a loan for my dental work, and thats after insurance has paid the full benefit. I’m wearing a Thermacare wrap almost daily for my lower back, and still doing a back bend to keep it in check. What gives here? Is this all just wear and tear? I’m not 25, 30 or even 40 anymore and I’ve beaten up my body a lot through the years. Drumroll here, I’m saving the best for last, Incontinence! Who can’t make it to the bathroom anymore? Me! I find myself leaking right before I get to my commode? Yes, it’s arrived. Albeit, it’s too soon for me to be at Costco investing in a lifetime supply of Depends, but a panti-liner will have to suffice. For now.
So as my laundry list continues to grow, I also realize that for once I can also finally breathe… Ahhhhhhhh. And realize NONE of it matters. Does it matter if I look good in that bikini? Does it matter that I need to wear a hat every few weeks to cover the streaks? Does it matter that I didn’t get around to traveling the world? Does it matter that I didn’t have children? (Well, maybe, but no time to obsess on that now). I am at where I am at. I know I’m enough and I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got. My excitement for the future is that I’ve got another 25+ years to try and achieve some of the above.
Let’s talk about the benefits. The biggest one is having the wisdom I have today by going through my lost 20s, my disappointing 30s (until 37, when I got sober) and my coming of age 40s. I’ve loved a lot of people and have lost some along the way. That’s ok because today I get to be married to a man I love, I get to have a career that challenges me and pays the bills. I get to have a loving family, and an adorable pooch that I adoore! The sheer joy of knowing that its enough sustains me, speedbumps and all. The icing for me is that I get to have the most amazing group of friends; real and intimate friendships with women. These lovely ladies hail from all over the country; some are part of my authentic sober posse and some I’ve known for over 30 years! How lucky am I? I’m lucky that I get to age with these women and share the sweet, as well as the sour.
As a good friend of mine, who is over 50, shared with me yesterday at coffee, “You are never going to look as good as you look today”. That put it all into perspective for me, no more looking back, it’s all about looking forward and accepting this is where I’m at! A lot of people turn 50 and live to tell about it! Chin up sister!
I am just filled with gratitude that there is a party for me next week celebrating my Birthday in all its glory and fabulousness that I can embrace. I just hope I can get to the bathroom in time.
*I know Psycho-ism isn’t a real word, so I made it up for this article. Thanks.