A friend asked the other day for any useful tips for turning fifty. I struggled with ‘tips’ as I was unsure as to what infinite wisdom I could bestow. I’ve been fifty for a few years now and I have some advice, warnings and ‘ohmygawdwatchoutforthisshit’, but not exactly the ‘tips’ I think she was looking for. In any case, in honour of all of those young ladies turning fifty, here is my Top Ten List of Shit You Don’t Want to Know When Turning Fifty.
You. Are. Welcome.
And Happy Birthday!
10. You lose interest in everything except yoga pants, wine and food- Okay, maybe that blanket statement goes too far. You lose MOST of the interest you had in leaving the house. I started wanting to spend more time drinking in my yoga pants than going out or doing something that required me to wear pants or an ‘outfit’. I still enjoy going out, but I really have to want it.
9. Impatience is the new virtue since you don’t have time for shit, don’t give a shit and basically you can’t put up with anyone’s shit. True. My patience is waning for whiners and folks who like to complain simply to hear themselves talk. NO. TIME.
8. Crashing Fatigue is actually a ‘thing’ and when it hits, it’s difficult to snap out of it- You feel exhausted every day all day and you just want to crawl into bed and stay there. It will pass, but you have to summon up some patience. It usually lasts a few days and I get through it by telling Hubby I’m on strike of mother duties due to the polar vortex and incessant winter. Even if it’s summer, I can say I’ll be tired for the next few days so just let me be the best version of Greta Garbo and I vant to be alone…. Trust that this is simply an ‘episode’ and it WILL pass. It IS an actual part of the Big M, so take it day by day.
7. Opposite of Crashing Fatigue, comes Insomnia AKA Your Brain On Menopausal Meth- Sleep is a distant thing and you stay awake with songs blaring in your brain, a to-do list of epic proportions, the mistakes you made on the Grade 6 Spelling Bee and how you’ve clearly failed as a parent because your child can’t boil and egg. You start to panic realizing you haven’t accomplished ANYTHING and your life has been one big waste of time. Up you get from your bed, start writing out a bucket list of stuff that you WILL NEVER DO because you don’t have boatloads of cash and your Fairy God Mother is on vacation. Breathe. This too shall pass…but still write the list because you’ll need something to make you laugh later that day when the Migraine Auras start. Oh, I didn’t tell you about that, yet?
6. Migraine Auras are fucktastic – No, you are not having a stroke. You don’t have a brain tumour. You are having Auras. Little bits of psychedelic lights dancing in your eyes like you’ve been staring at the sun too long. They flash, they dance and are squiggly lines pulsing and moving. It’s a part of having a Migraine. I don’t actually get the blinding headache pain with migraines, just the auras, but some people get both. After fifty, you can experience these auras a little bit more frequently. Awesome. They usually disappear within 30 minutes with my eyes closed and laying down. That’s after having a few nights of no sleep thanks to #7. See how this works? Fun. Times. *having said that, make sure to get your blood work done regularly so you can keep your levels in check. Your chances of stroke, heart disease and diabetes rise as you age. Know the signs of a stroke so you can differentiate between the two. If you have any doubts, get thee to a doctor. Stay healthy.
5. Breakouts vs Wrinkles, the Epic Battle of your Skin – Around the time when my period used to occur, my body still thought I should endure the effects of one. My skin continues to break out like I’m seventeen, I get all that crampy-bloated-wonderfulness of a tween and I’m crankier more than usual. AND, I’m over fifty so the fight against aging or simply looking older than I should, is an ongoing battle. I’m not thinking I should look twenty, because I’m not. I just don’t want to look ninety, either. I went on this epic fact finding mission to discover the basic ingredients for fighting wrinkles. I found a few things: Serums – I like them and use them daily. They go on first, then a moisturizer. Vitamin C and E are your friends. Vitamin C helps with brightening and tone, Vitamin E helps with repairing the wrinkles and I use that one at night. Hyaluronic acid plumps up your skin. Retinol fights wrinkles. Glycolic Acid exfoliates. Those are the basics. I don’t buy anything expensive. I use all-natural as much as possible. You really don’t need to buy expensive creams to look good. Use something that you like and stick with it.
4. You need a hobby – seriously, you have dedicated your time, energy and talents to work and raising a family. Now, take some time and develop something else. Do something out of your comfort zone or find your creativity. Paint, write, run, walk, volunteer, sand-down the outside steps…it doesn’t have to be wowtastic, just something you enjoy. You need time for you to develop your own interests and hidden talents so you don’t go batty. It’s healthy for you to be busy and enjoy something other than work/kid/husband/partner related.
3. Brain fog – I’ve noticed that I can’t remember as much as I used to. My short term memory decides to take periodic vacations. I can’t keep the kids’ schedules straight in my head and I incessantly ask what they are doing every day. I’ve decided to practice using my brain more. Crossword puzzles, games with reasoning, reading something other than newspapers or online content and writing are all keeping my brain active and engaged. Something TV does not do. Turn off the tv and do something else for your brain.
2. Exercise- Oh, come on you knew that was coming. Weight training and aerobic exercise are important to keeping you feeling and looking younger. Weight training builds muscle, and helps your joints. Aerobic exercise keeps that heart pumping. Do both. You’ll feel better. It may help with #7 and #8 as well. Kinda.
1. The Fashion Industry Sucks at dressing us – We either end up looking like a wannabe-twenty-something, or like Dorothy’s Auntie Em. It’s disgusting, really. I don’t do elastic waist band pants and I don’t like being called ma’am. I also can’t wear a dress up to my bum and a v-neck down to my naval. Trust me NOBODY WANTS TO SEE THAT. Finding age-appropriate comfortable clothing is challenging, but I always manage to find something. I drag daughters with me and find some stuff at Winners on a good day. Sometimes, online is the best bet, but you are taking a chance on sizing and fit. It’s a trial and error thing, but know that you are not alone. That’s why yoga pants will always be in style.
BONUS: Key to staying young is a positive attitude and finding your tribe. Having friends and a good support system is vital at any age, especially when journeying through a transition. Getting through the hard days will be sweeter with some good friends and some hearty laughter.
Enjoy the journey! xo