Moving to New Mexico has changed me in a lot of ways (right around 50 or so ways 2B exact).
I think the biggest influencer has been my job, and the wonderful patients I am privileged to take care of: people of all ages in all stages of health and illness. One of the things I have learned is that there is a lot of heartburn here. #longlivegreenchili #buystockinOmeprazole
The other resounding lesson I've learned is that "our past and present habits will become evident with aging ailments and medical conditions" (Anita Joy). Our bodies are a reflection of our thoughts and lifestyle (and genetics). The care you give now can spare so much pain later. Sure uncontrollable stuff happens. But we can stack the odds.
I'm no different than others, who in the middle of middle-age has a mid-life crisis. It's sobering to wake-up one day and realize that trampolines are torture. And right around the corner is arthritis and down the street, cataracts. Aging is tough. It ain't for sissies. I see the challenges daily. It could be very easy to be depressed today, my birthday, knowing the potential horizon.
Instead it's motivated me to step up my game, do what I can to be more mentally and physically healthy and focus on what is good about this back nine of my life. And I wanted to share that!! If I could help one person make a healthy change, all my time, effort and embarrassment will have been worth it! (See #50changes on my Instagram: jennifisher66)
You see....from my vantage point, "middle-age" seems to be a real sweet spot. (Although every age has benefits with things to learn.) The 20s are spent convincing others to love us. The 30s learning to love others, the 40s learning to love ourselves. The 50s and 60s+ are golden, when all that comes together: less proving, more giving and living. Not yet challenged with hearing loss, incontinence, daily arthritis pain, impaired mobility, or other struggles of aging, but with more freedoms that come with established careers, empty nests, and self-acceptance.
Cameron Diaz has a book called "LONGEVITY-- the science of aging, the biology of strength, the privilege of time." I love her tagline and way to think about aging. I don't like the negative tone of the ubiquitous phrase "anti-aging" as if growing older is an enemy to fight against. You can't hold back a sunset. And those who want to let it happen naturally, without dying the gray or Botoxing the wrinkles, shouldn't be made to feel they are anti anti-aging. I also don't love the term pro-aging as if we are promoting tickets to a carnival ride.
Years tick by like a moving train. It's pointless to be for (pro) or against (anti) that. Whether we slow down the train, or promote it along the way, the train, unless derailed, WILL get to the station. Being anti or pro-aging assigns value to something that just is. It is what it is.
Plus, let's be honest, my pro or anti stance varies with the low back pain of the day. Some days I holler, "bring it on" loving the wealth of wisdom birthdays bring. Other days (usually after seeing an infirm 85 yr old), I adamantly want to stop the train. I want to get off and picnic forever in the nearby field of paintbrush and poppies, never ever re-boarding the age train headed to Dementia Town.
Forget pro or anti-aging. How about choosing to simply find joy in aging, however that resonates in the moment. Your soul is rooting for this.
Joy in aging. Joyaging. Joyaging!! (I can make up my own words... it's my birthday).
I'm grateful for the perspective and charisma that comes with 49 years of experience + 1 yr of sleeping (=50). Aging is a doomed privilege. Maybe I'm not lucky enough for forever. But I am lucky enough for now. For now, I'm basking in this golden time, that soft magic hour before the sun sets.
We'll see what I say about all this when I turn 80. I'll probably need a new word, like constipatience!