“Are you tired, run down, and listless? Do you poop out at parties? Are you unpopular? The answer is in this little bottle. Vitameatavegamin.” Remember this I Love Lucy episode? Those are the only parts of being over 50 that stink.
Some of the most liberating aspects of being over 50 are well, who doesn’t need an AARP membership? You can get discounts and I am not too proud to use mine for hotel reservations. Also, after 50, you actually see the benefits of being in Triple A Car Club. Did you know it will pay for itself with the benefits and discounts for hotels, car rentals, etc. Another benefit of being over 50 is not feeling guilty about saying “No” to anything you don’t want to do. Removing words from sentences like, “I ought to”, I need to”, and “I should” is liberating. Once you are over 50 you know why you can eliminate these from your vocabulary.
I also like that I can wear comfortable clothes. In my 20’s if clothes didn’t pass the “does my stomach look flat?” question then they were eliminated from consideration. Now I pick clothes for comfort and breathability. If they also happen to make me feel slightly sexy that’s a bonus. Also, going to the gyn is not embarrassing anymore. I mean, the doctor picked his specialty, not me. He knew what he was up against. Also, after 50 when they ask me what I weigh I don’t feel like I need to subtract 10 pounds off the real number. I want them to get my prescription dosage right. I don’t want to be underdosed because of vanity.
I don’t care if I don’t know everything. In fact, I don’t have to be cool at all. I can act excited and impressed if someone tells me something new. I don’t have to pretend to be worldly. I don’t feel embarrassed at not knowing how to use all the features on my phone.
In my early 40’s I opened up a small savings account in my name only. I called it my Face Lift Account. The idea was that I would make regular, small deposits over the next 10 years or so and by the time I needed some “work” done the money would be waiting for me.I am proud to say that I made my first withdrawal from that account in March. I used a good chunk of it to buy His-n-Hers leather recliners for the den. If you had told me in my early 40’s that I would have not one, but two recliners in my house I would have said you were crazy. How tacky. Yet, here we are. Both of us have lost the ability to watch TV sitting up.
Three years ago, I decided to apply for a job. My kids have lives of their own. I was ready to have some extra cash to help pay for college and maybe a fun, unnecessary vacation. I knew 4 days into that job that it was not a good fit. When I accepted the job, the job description, hours, and salary were described as one thing but two days into the job I was told that they had changed their mind and I needed to be at work an hour earlier, my job description had changed, and the supervisor that I would report to had changed. I knew from 30 years experience as an adult what my limits were and I was able to discern within 4 days that I could not accept those terms. I knew I would be miserable and my family in turn would be miserable. In my 20’s, it would have taken me a year to figure out that I can’t change other people. So I politely and professionally resigned telling them that I could tell it wasn’t going to be a good fit and I didn’t want to waste their time and money training me for a job that was not going to work out. Being in your 50’s and being able to cut to the chase quickly is such a stress reliever.
This week I had a business phone call to make. The woman I needed to call is in her early 60’s. I gave her a call, asked if this was a good time to go over our business, and she said that honestly, that the next day would be better. She said that she had a cataract removed that morning and she was on pain medicine and felt too loopy to concentrate. That’s what being over 50 does for you. You can be honest without embarrassment. I respected her for not feeling like she had to pretend to be functional at that moment.
I am happy with the size of my tribe. When I was in my 20’s and 30’s , I thought it was important to have a large number of friends, to know the right people, and be part of a happening crowd. Now, I am grateful for the small group of great friends that I can be authentic with. It is so exhausting to have to be something you are not to fit in. I am open to making new friends always but not at the cost of giving up myself.
Also, you don’t wonder if you are going to be successful. You either are or you aren’t and you can live with it. Or do something about it.
Yes, I miss my taut skin. I miss my thick hair that hairstylists actually thinned at every haircut because it was so thick. But in reality, I never appreciated those things when I had them. I always thought I was too fat or my hair was too short or too long. I hated having my picture taken because I needed to lose at least 5 pounds. I look back at pictures of me and I looked just fine. My skin was smooth and I looked so young. I wish that I had not been so hard on myself.
Lessons learned are be gentle with myself, love myself, give freely to others out of love rather than obligation, and be myself. When you are comfortable with yourself others will be attracted to you because they will feel free to be themselves as well.
Ta Ta. Kiss Kiss.
She writes about life, death, grief, and recovery.
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