My friend is moaning and groaning about turning 50. I finally got tired of her complaints and told her to pull up her control-top, big-girl panties, eat cookies, and get over it. When she continued to bemoan the fact that her gumption had no function, I asked if she would prefer to drop dead at age 49. She slumped away under a self-imposed cloud of doom.
Another friend sniveled, through dramatic tears, that she was so insignificant she could stand naked in the middle of town with her hair on fire while dollar bills flew out of her saggy butt and no one would notice. For her, age 50 was a dark symbol of declining physical and mental deterioration. I assured her I would notice the free money.
“That’s aging,” I said. “Embrace the glory, and pass the cake.”
That may seem harsh, but many of us seasoned women are weary of some women’s wretched wailing about getting older. Let’s evaluate the options so we can stop the pity party and get on with a raucous celebration of life.
Reality: You’re Older. Your skin will wrinkle like a pricked balloon, boobs will drop to your waist, dot-to-dot spots will appear on your arms, hair will turn thin and gray, and you’ll wave at someone and your arm will continue to flap for five minutes. Your volatile intestines will keep you guessing if you’ll be constipated for a week or running to the bathroom every hour, and you’ll exercise regularly just to maintain the weight you don’t like. You’ll endure hot flashes, mood swings, and hairy toes and forget your keys while caring for aging parents and rambunctious grandkids.
But wait, there’s more! Here are other fun facts to anticipate: You won’t have enough energy to open your iron pill bottle, your family will count how many glasses of wine you guzzle at dinner, and they’ll mutter about your problem. Meanwhile, you’re bombarded with advertisements that scream at you to buy anti-aging products even though you’re older than some trees in the forest. Older women are the fodder for jokes about menopause, mothers-in-law, and incontinence, while crotchety, older men are revered as distinguished and successful. Get used to it.
Reality: You Can Choose to be Liberated. Consider the advantages of aging past 50. The kids are grown and moving away, so you’ll have less laundry, meal expense and preparation, and no more frantic nights waiting up for them to come home. You won’t need to purchase feminine products after your period stops. You’ll play with your delightful grandchildren and send them home. You’ll have more time to pursue hobbies and/or your lover, volunteer, travel, or read books. The hair on your legs gets lighter so you don’t need to shave every day. And, you have the power to throw away all the silly “Over the Hill” birthday cards and party favors. Being over the hill means you get to tumble down, laughing all the way.
Here are five reasons to stop whining about your age:
- There is nothing you can do about it. If you were born during or before 1965, you’re approaching or over 50. That’s how it works, and there are no exceptions. Unless you die.
- There always will be others younger and older. If you’re not the world’s oldest living person, you will know people of all ages. Share your stories, and encourage each other on your journeys. I’ve gleaned great facts from toddlers and old folks.
- You’re a living resource manual. You existed before the inventions of cell phones, personal computers, microwaves, social media, instant rice, and tampons. The younger generations can learn a lot from you.
- Others died too young. I read obituaries and have noticed that many of them describe people younger than I am. You and I got to wake up today. That’s a positive affirmation that we get another chance to save the world.
- Youth is overrated. Really, would you go back to your twenties or thirties? I’d love to look like I did but I don’t want to relive the challenges, heartache, worries, and exhaustion of those years. I’ll stick with being feisty over fifty.
I’m sending this message to my friend for her 50th birthday. I hope she embraces the positive message I’m trying to convey. If she continues to stay home and mope, I’ll go to the party without her and send her a souvenir.