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Literally Lorna column: Turning 50 is a new life chapter

Lorna Ross

Fifty years old! Wait! What? When did this happen? I guess I blinked. I was have so much fun in my 40s learning and exploring new things. I felt so much smarter while in my 40s, like I had an opinion and because of my "middle-age" status people would listen.

Now what? I liked being in my 40s. Why can't I just stay in this state of mind? What is there to look forward to in my 50s? Seriously, I'm experiencing tendonitis in my elbow, leg pain who knows why and abnormal female stuff, less of an appetite, a middle section that is less than desirable. I certainly can't bend like I used to and forget about sitting criss-cross applesauce. Gray hair is less of a concern than those darn wild ones! ARGH!

I don't have grandchildren to look forward to because we never had kids, so I am really asking the serious question, what now? I started to ask others who were over 50 and even over 60 the question: When did you realize you were older? Most responded with some sort of restriction in their body movement. They also said something like "It just goes with the territory." Not being able to do things anymore doesn't seem fair, but then I realized, it is just different things to do now, like kayaking. Maybe that is not the best example because there will come a day when getting in and out of that kayak will be more difficult and I'll end up rolling my way out. Gosh, I hope nobody witnesses that!

What I came to realize after talking with people was that 50-plus is a new chapter in life, like it or not. It's how one deals with it. Some say "It's just a number" and "You're only as old as you feel." Well, I guess I agree with that. I've also heard "Attitude is everything!"

Taking a positive attitude when we are ill can make a huge difference. There are recent examples to learn from. Phaedra Springgle-Radtke has been coping with cancer, posting every step of her recovery on Facebook with a smile on her face. She has been showing a positive attitude while going through chemotherapy, losing her hair and plastic surgery.

Another example of attitude making a difference would be actress Betty White. What is she, 109 now? Just kidding, but she loves what she does, stays active, is passionate about dogs and cats, probably maintains a healthy diet and keeps her mind busy. I'm not saying I want to live to be dinosaur age, but both sides of my family have longevity in their blood, so it's very possible I will be around awhile. I'd like to be somewhat healthy towards the end because I am not a fan of pain and discomfort.

Changing my attitude and activities that best suits my 50s body is now a plan. Daily stretching comes to mind. I've faced reality of never being a runner, but stretching and walking is more desirable. Maybe those pains will subside and I can sit criss cross applesauce again without the pain. I have recently committed to my mental health, which is just as important as the physical. Reading, writing, speaking, joining a group of people with similar interests is all very healthy.

There are many things to look forward to in the next phase of my life; the nieces and nephews, aging with wisdom, new activities to fit my lifestyle, maybe even discovering a new talent. Eating right, drinking less and some exercise, well, at least stretching, will be beneficial. Hanging out and visiting with the right people is essential and a positive attitude is a must. Ready or not, I am looking forward to this next decade of my life and can only control my own attitude, so that's what the focus will be.

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