Fifty is the new f*cked
It’s not the new 40. It’s certainly not the new 30. Being in your 50s is a punch to the gut.
Oh sure, the signs of aging are gradual, but the minute your first, unsolicited AARP membership card comes in the mail, a bright spotlight appears out of the heavens to expose you to yourself and the world. As I pulled the presumptuous envelope out of my mailbox, I noticed brand new little brown spots on the back of my hand. I seriously thought they were from the chocolate ice cream cone I’d just inhaled.
“Geesh I must have wiped my mouth on my knuckles in my haste to get to the mailbox,” I mused to myself. But when I couldn’t rub them off, my heart sank. I have my grandmother’s age spots.
I threw the AARP devil mail into the trash in the garage and made a vow that no future solicitations will every make it inside my door. (Since that first mailing, I’ve received hundreds of pieces of paper from them. Doesn’t that seem like a big waste of money? Wouldn’t it make more sense for AARP to save the literature and mailing costs, not to mention the trees, and invest that money in something more worthwhile, like Alzheimer’s research? They would be such heroes and at the same time increase the size of their membership pool.)
Okay so those “50s freckles” really rattled me. That night after my shower I noticed the wrinkly skin inside my arms just below my armpits. Over time, our skin loses elasticity. Youthful, smooth skin gives way to elephant girl skin. And while I’m at it, when did my pubes lose their curl?
Of course, none of this happened overnight and touching the AARP literature didn’t straighten the hair on my lady parts. But it all came crashing down.
Gone is my monthly reminder that I’m a woman. That bloated, crampy predictable inconvenience has been replaced with sweaty, embarrassing flashes of hell heat that come out of nowhere 52 weeks a year. And who calls me out on it? Menopausal women who think it’s clever to ask if I’m having “my own personal summer” or a “power surge.” I guess they found a way to accept it gracefully, with humor. I consider them delusional traitors.
I take pills for improved eyesight, blood pressure, cholesterol, bone strength, memory improvement and daily pooping. All the drugs are counted out in those weekly pill containers for old people.
My eyebrows are thinning and take shape more from pencil than actual hairs. However, there’s no shortage of white, bristly lady whiskers sprouting from my chin.
And my metabolism is slower than Florida justice for innocent and unarmed black teenagers.
My career was cut short in my 50s. I was replaced by a 30-something woman, probably at a substantially lower salary. But that’s all been hashed out in an earlier column “58 and fired.” I could write another one entitled “59 and unemployable.” It seems experience and wisdom are undervalued these days.
I can see why you’d think I’m on an old lady rant, but I’m not. Being in your 50s sure beats the below-ground alternative. My mother died at 59 and my dear father’s life was cut short of his 28th birthday. Trust me, I’m happy to be on this earth as I leave this decade and head into my 60s.
What does irritate me is the “blank” is the new “blank” bullshit. I get it, we are living longer with a better quality of life than the previous generation. But society is enamored with youth and corporations are obsessed with profits. So yes, in your 50s you can look and be great. You can be healthy and happy. You can be sexy. But you can’t be 40.
I won’t be writing a “60 is the new screwed” column because once you’ve lived through your 50s, you know the truth and can’t be fooled. We benefit from health and technological advancements our parents and their parents didn’t have. My grandmother felt old in her 60s. I feel older but not old.
Labels don’t matter. Health and happiness do. I’m no longer trying to prove myself to anyone or attempting to keep up with a generation where I don’t belong. I am what I am. I’m figuring out the transition between midlife and old age. I’m learning to accept my droops and wrinkles while still feeling like the same girl inside.
And the truth is … 60 is the new 60.