By Jacqueline Perez, founder of Kuel Life
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
How to survive your 50s checklist – from our editor
- Remember your 50s is prime time! You are coming into your power as you move through midlife!
- Make physical health a priority. Eat healthily, do plenty of physical activity and regular exercise. Incorporate strength training to maintain good muscle mass and prioritize bone health too. Take small steps daily to optimize healthy aging. Staying mobile, especially, is key to good health and longer lives!
- Start prioritizing yourself and be open to new things in this new chapter of life. Learn new skills, seek new life experiences, meet new people, try online courses, maybe start a new career, whatever is going to give you a sense of purpose. The first step to thriving in your 50s is to start putting yourself first. Because if you don’t do that now, when will you?
- Keep a check on health issues such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol to protect yourself from heart disease, for example. Don’t dismiss small changes you notice that may signify something needing attention. Keep up with any screening test you need, so health problems can be identified and dealt with. Your future self will thank you for it.
- Strong social connections are crucial for our mental health and are known to help us age well. Make sure to spend time with good friends and maybe find some new friends too. Our 50s are a great time to cultivate close friends and cement relationships that will carry us through into being older adults.
- Adapt your personal style to make you feel great now, rather than mainly sticking with what worked in your younger years. Our bodies change as we age and especially as we move through our 50s. Don’t be frightened of physical changes – instead embrace them. Find out how color analysis can help you look gorgeous at any age.
- Similarly, try to embrace the changes in your face (and hair) as you get a bit older. Easier than fighting this transition into later life!
David Bowie said: “Ageing is an extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been.” Sounds about right!
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Last Updated on August 4, 2023 by Editorial Staff