Activism - Art - Authorship
Sharing Insights About What’s
Happening in the World
Sharing Insights About What’s
Happening in the World
Interested in my speaking work, purchasing art, a feature, or other inquiries? Contact me here,
and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!
Turning 50 is a Byatch
Turning 50 is a Byatch
An excerpt from my 2013 out-of-print book, Turning 50 is a Bitch. These will be posted intermittently.
"I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my abhorrence." ~Frederick Douglas
The big transition is here and ongoing. All my senses tune to the new reality of finally receiving my AARP card. Remembering anything short-term can be taxing. I want to remember the things I tend to forget and the things I want to forget I remember. However, I still love and hunger for all life brings but at a slower pace.
Recently I started receiving online advertisements for senior dating: Seniors Match; we have a sweet senior single near you. I sat at my computer reading the email over and over because only one word stuck out, and that was 'senior.' Nowadays, I can hear the hands of time clicking as I get closer and closer to the day when it will be official.
Accepting this aging thing has not been easy. I keep noticing signposts in my environment, which subliminally shepherd me to understand that youth is slipping away. Online Application forms no longer feature my birth date of 1963 on the first page. I have to scroll a long way to find it. I can't buy a bikini or even a one-piece swimsuit off the rack. Nowadays, it takes me weeks to choose a swimsuit, and then I do it online because some sites have perfect illustrations of different body types to help me out. Heck, I even care about healthcare, pensions, social security, and wearing sensible shoes. Not one of these things ever bothered me before.
Guiding my teenage daughter through her transition as she prepares for middle school adds even more fuel to my changes. Not only do I have to worry about my hormonal shifts and drifts, but I also find myself counseling her about hers. Her transition helps to keep me grounded in mine because taking care of a pubescent girl is just as trying as navigating my menopausal drama.
I struggle with my ups and downs and grief regarding losing a self I never fully knew. Now, here comes another unfamiliar me strutting into the picture demanding attention: here comes my daughter sliding into view next to me. Somehow we have worked out a system, and we are helping each other through this process, but did anyone tell me that turning 50 starts when you turn 45? Nope. I started noticing the changes back then. Unfortunately, they are not letting up, only intensifying and expanding. I never gave it much thought because, of course, 50 would happen without my help.
My dream was to turn 16, 20, 30, even 40, but getting to the halfway mark never did it for me. Now I find myself fully immersed. I am already here. Meanwhile, my daughter's thinking more and more about turning 14. She is delighted not to hide because she wears a bigger bra than most her age. I feel the pull of the big 'Five-OH' at every turn. It feels like an invisible magnet is pulling the discombobulated pieces of my torn psyche back together from their scattered confines. I'm not too fond of it, but it is happening. Some days I am scared, anxious, and filled with fear, and others, I am accepting of what is to come: a mere supplicant.
I have no reference to look to and no way of having my questions answered regarding this significant, burgeoning change, which is rapidly approaching. My mother and I no longer talk, and I don't know if my father is dead or alive. I can hear the sharp whistle of time flying towards and past me all at once, and there is not a thing I can do about it.
My outer shell betrays me even as I feel like a child inside. Sometimes my 'inside child' will try to break out and do crazy things like trying on skinny jeans or bikinis in department stores. Fortunately, she quickly subdues when the outer me sees what I look like in the mirror, and things get back to normal in a hurry. More and more, I realize I am not the master of time: time is the master of me. The inevitable is catching up rather quickly.
In my early twenties, I was baptized as a Born Again Christian. The day of my baptism was exhilarating, and I rushed to change my clothes in the lady's room. By the time I arrived, most of the women were in complete disarray. I was so shocked by what I saw I forced myself to avert my eyes. Most of the women that day were much older, and I was amazed at how different they looked undressed. People I saw every Sunday and admired for their savvy appearance were coming undone. I had never seen so many sags and belly folds in my life.
I judged them at the time because I had nothing to worry about regarding my own smooth, toned body. Now I am one of those women. Today I am ashamed of how critical I was regarding the effects of their natural aging. I am no longer sneering at sags and folds on others because I now have my own. I have a cup for my dental plate that replaces my two missing teeth. One day I was eating lentils, and my denture broke off. After almost swallowing the darn thing, I popped it in my bag and returned it to the dentist for repair. I felt like a worn-out car returning to the auto shop for a tune-up.
Sadly, I am too chicken to get implants, so I walk around with them in my bag and put them in as needed. Maybe I should reconsider. I always thought I was going to have all my pearly whites. When I was a little girl, I laughed at my mother and older relatives when they had to put their teeth in a cup at night. Who's laughing now? Somehow I just never saw myself flowing flab all over the place with teeth missing to boot: there is indeed a "circle of life:"
Everything is changing and shifting in my life. Every day brings a new development on one level or the other. Not only do I have to wear a panty liner all the time, but if I don't, a good laugh or hard sneeze will certainly bring regrets and embarrassment. Lately, I wonder why there are such a plethora of products for women to keep themselves clean. You can find sprays, wipes, suppositories, and so on at most stores. There is an entire shelf area dedicated to feminine hygiene products. Are they trying to send us a message? Come to think of it, these products were always there, but I seem to pay more attention than I ever had before. Why is that? The same thing goes for prunes and my obsession with fiber. I am constantly on the hunt for fiber foods that have the highest amount of fiber content. Constipation is my worse fear because I need to feel free of all restrictions at all times. I am learning fiber is my best friend. It sets you free, in more ways than one, as you age.
Life is such an enigma. When the collection in your medicine cabinet suddenly seems to be expanding with names you can't even pronounce or understand, and visits to the doctor are more frequent, you know things are shifting fast. They prescribe medicines for ailments you once heard your mother and grandmother complain about; they give you other drugs to ward off side effects and others to ward off the side effects of the side effects. After my daughter was born, I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition, and the struggle to manage my weight began. It took me ten years to figure out diets will never help me because Hypothyroidism guaranteed I would always look a little bloated. Year by year, the list of ailments has grown and now includes asthma, high blood pressure, and using a 'happy light' in winter for what I call my 'seasonal light disorder issue.' Lately, lower back pain has been a constant.
I look forward to the next ten years with glee.
Nighttime has become my official enemy. I have been a night person for as long as I can remember, but now I am a full-fledged bat. Settings up extra pillows in the correct position for padding are now part-time prep before I go to bed. Once they are in place, I have to force myself to go to bed because I know if I don't, waking up in the morning will be hell unless I take the little peach pill that eases my stress and anxiety to keep my pressure in check. Yet, each night brings more tossing and turning with the eventual three to four hour drift off, and then, without fail, the 'wake up,' which is always around three o'clock in the morning until dawn. By the time I roll out of bed, I am in pain and exhausted from the mind games I have to play to entertain myself while tossing and turning and listening to my husband snoring.
Lower back pains are a constant worry because of the additional belly weight. Lately, I awake drenched in sweat from head to toe, which forces me to change my clothes before I can even begin my day. I feel like a teenager on the inside, but this is not reflected externally. There is a fantastic amount of energy and drive inside me, but that's the problem: it's just inside. Nowadays, I have to get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise for my heart health and make sure my joints don't cease by taking supplements. I am comfortable only in loose clothing, and my favorite color is black no matter the season. Pools are there to avoid at all costs since going to one means exposure.
My monthly menstruation has a mind of its own much like it did when I first started way back in my elementary years. During those days, I was scared to go to school when my time was near, fearing a deluge. These days I cannot tell if it will be a deluge or a drip, and I never know if or when it will arrive. Today I am teaching my daughter how to deal with hers.
I am looking forward to the day when it is gone for good because I have had enough already!
Then there are the age spots that seem to be sneaking up and sprouting all over the place. Sometimes I wonder whose body I am in because everything looks so unfamiliar and new but in an old way. Not only are the spots annoying, but accompanied by certain parts of my body pulled southward by gravity. Lately, things require a lift and a nudge to get them into their garments and the same to get them out.
Above all, there is this feeling that there is something big coming or that a great shift is about to occur, and it is omnipresent. Thankfully, I have my daughter's life-changing drama to keep me in some alignment as my life performs this unfamiliar but somewhat rhythmical yet erratic dance towards the inevitable. Being here to offer her support and advice is my saving grace. Day by day and moment by moment, I feel the weight of a life lived and the worry of life to be lived and lost.
Plus, why can't I seem to stop dropping pieces of food on my clothes while eating? Only a bib will solve this new problem because the stains are not always easy to remove. I used to laugh when my mother-in-law told me stories like this about her life change. Now my daughter is laughing at me. I marvel at my evolution regarding a myriad of things. I am at a place where I feel enough freedom to be honest and bitch about everything and let go of those I cannot control. I am now labeled as a 'senior' and have finally decided to carry that card with pride and aplomb. I certainly had a bitch of a time getting here, but now I have arrived; it isn't all that bad, well, I have my gripes, especially about the bloating, but that is another story.
Finally, I am 50!
Honestly, at long last, I am looking forward to what is coming and anxious about what is leaving. There is this constant push and pull. Turning 50 is indeed a bitch! However, it is mine! So bring it on panty liners, sags, folds, bloating, lost/repressed memories, unfiltered blunders, along with all the other crap. I am ready -I think.
...What was I talking about again?