By Jacqueline Perez
Finally, at 56 reality has hit. It’s hard to admit, but I finally accepted that some of my 30s and 40s life-style habits just aren’t working for me anymore.
I’ve struggled with the notion of fighting it, accepting it, ignoring it. I’ve been sad. I’ve been ticked-off. I’ve been resentful. I’ve been belligerent. Today I decided to not give a ‘bleep’ and expose a few of the miscreants which have been plaguing me. In sharing, I hope to disarm them of their self-esteem stripping power. And, maybe by sharing them, other women can find camaraderie and comfort that we are in this together. Here are my tips on how to survive your 50s (and beyond) with a smile.
1. Independence is key.
I still carve out time for independent pursuits.
Whether you are single or partnered, maintain your independence! I am in a relationship; I live with my boyfriend. But, that only happened AFTER 52. Yes, we were dating for a few years prior; but, for the most part, I had a very independent life filled with many wonderful opportunities to be with my son, friends, family, or alone — if that’s what I needed or wanted at the time.
It was an incredibly freeing time in my life; one which was not marred by the specter of having to find ‘the one.’ Been there. Done that. Now, even though I live with a mate, I still carve out time for independent pursuits. I find it makes for an overall healthier me and relationship. When my boyfriend and I spend time together, each of us has interesting conversations to share.
2. Exercise. Even a little. Every day.
Between arthritis and hormonally-driven sleep deprivation, I am oftentimes faced with “Can I just skip exercising today?” Turns out the answer is a resounding “NO”! I did stop exercise for a while, in the hopes of feeling less aches and pains. Yes, the arthritis eased up; but my middle expanded, my energy plummeted, and my disposition suffered greatly.
As you can imagine, those stuck with me on a daily basis were very happy to see me back at it. This is a must for how to survive your 50s and beyond. Even on days when I just can’t get a session with weights or a jump rope, or time on the Peloton, I still do three sets of: 20 push-ups, a one minute plank, and 20 reverse lunges — throughout the day.
3. Buy nicer clothes.
Even through my early 50s, I could still grab a size-medium bikini off the round-bin at Target. I tried that this past January before heading off on a Caribbean vacation. Definitely, my last time. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my body. It’s treated me well for over half a century.
It’s solidly built. The engine runs great. But, let’s face it, after 56 years there are many ‘cosmetic’ dings and the leather seats…. well, let’s just say I haven’t been sitting in a temperature/humidity-controlled garage all this time.
4. Embrace Facebook’s “You Have Memories”.
I have a ‘love-hate’ relationship with the “You Have Memories” feature on Facebook. If you were an early adopter, you might have a decade or more to reflect upon. I joined in 2007; and believe me, I look VERY different today than I did at 42. Sometimes it’s a bit of a ‘slap in the face’ and a ‘what happened to me’? But, for the most part it reminds me of wonderful moments in my son’s life and fun times with friends (see point one.)
5. Break-up with Victoria’s Secret
They look better on the floor than on my body
At this point in my life, no matter how much I bench press, the girls need some extra help. While the undergarments at Victoria’s Secret are frilly, sexy, and lacy; they look better on the floor than on my body. Let me be clear, I am not opposed to medical intervention to help put the sisters back up where they came from and where, in my opinion, they should stay.
As of yet, I haven’t fully committed to the idea of a breast lift. I am having difficulty reconciling expense, general anesthesia-risk, and downtime. For the time being, a super expensive bra from Nordstrom is a fantastic place holder. Not glamorous and won’t win any eye candy awards but under clothing the illusion continues.
I would make a terrible, terrible spy.
6. Sleep deprivation causes depravity.
I would make a terrible, terrible spy. I would give up the nuclear codes in a heartbeat after two, maybe three, nights of ‘no sleep’. The issue I have, and I suspect I am in good company, is that I never ‘know’ how it’s going to go when I lay down. I am in a constant state of trying to figure out the aging related insomnia.
Eat, don’t eat. Wine, no wine. Nap, no nap. T.V. before bed, no t.v.. I think you get the picture. Nothing works or doesn’t work consistently enough, so please keep the Gold Codes away from me.
7. Adopt a skin care regime
For years my face got washed like the rest of me. Bar of soap, body-wash, shampoo… whatever was around. I finally came to terms with the notion that the skin on my face is different (not to mention more visible) than my body skin. As it turns out, our facial epidermis is about 0.12 mm thick, while body skin is thicker, around 0.60 mm.
In addition, our body skin is less oily than facial skin because it has far fewer sebaceous glands. Skin products containing retinol can help diminish fine lines and wrinkles. Better yet, ask your dermatologist for a prescription to Retina-A. It’s expensive and your medical insurance won’t be hornswoggled into believing you ‘need’ it for acne control.
But, a little goes a long way, and I have it on the utmost of authority (WEBMD) that retinoids minimize the appearance of wrinkles, improves thickness and elasticity of the skin, and slows the breakdown of collagen.
I am sure as I approach 60 more havoc will be wreaked upon my ‘so called’ life. Changes are inevitable. A healthy dose of acceptance and workarounds are on deck to muddle through this next phase. Then it won’t be how to survive your 50s, but your 60s and beyond!
Listen to Jacqueline Perez on the Magnificent Midlife Podcast
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Jacqueline (Jack) Perez is a champion for women in midlife. She runs a virtual community, Kuel Life. Her mission? To re-define midlife for women through curated content and women driven brands. Sign-up for the Weekly Newsletter to have your hot topics delivered directly to your inbox.
Last Updated on February 2, 2023 by Editorial Staff