I’ve been practicing saying, “I’m fifty,” for at least six months. Actually, I’ve been saying, “I’m almost fifty,” since I have a thing about not lying about my age.
I don’t know what I thought uttering those words out loud would do to me. Which I guess is why when I didn’t implode the first time, I did it again the next time someone asked my age. And the next.
My head tells me that this should be a post about my insides. My feelings. Fifty is a milestone, after all. Am I content? Successful? Fulfilled?
But my heart keeps circling back to my body, which is how I know it’ll be impossible for me to describe turning fifty with any honesty if I don’t start with what you see. Or what I try hard for you not to see.
What follows is a description of my nearly fifty-year-old body, and since I’m a Virgo and a linear thinker, I start at the top and work my way down.
Coloring my hair stopped being optional at 34. I remember the year because it’s when I started dating women. And, realizing the gray was too much to tweeze and knowing that I didn’t want a hot girl in her 20’s to see a gray hair on me, I began ‘hitting the bottle’ consistently.
Since then, my hair’s gotten thinner. But, the upside to being born with a unibrow and enough body hair that I’ll probably never be done with laser, is that thinner hair is relative. Plus mine’s curly which makes it look thicker.
Wow, we got here fast.
My face is different, though I want to be clear I’m not complaining. I marvel that the emotional trainwrecks I’ve been through in my lifetime haven’t left tread marks on my face. Though I’ve been getting botox since age 32 and fillers since age 40, which undoubtedly help. Also, at 37, I stopped screwing around with cigarettes. Finally, from age 25-48, I 100% stayed out of the sun. At 49, I said fuck it. I missed the sun. I have no regrets today about that decision. Talk to me in 10 years.
What’s different is the firmness of my face. I see drooping beginning. Working too much probably doesn't help. Nor does being neurotic. But this is a post about my body. Not my mental health. That one’s coming next month.
So my face isn’t as firm as it used to be and every now and then a mirror or a selfie catches an angle that shows an older version of me. The one I’ll probably be at some future point. Unless I get a facelift, which I’m not ruling out.
Also, I have sun spots under my eyes. I’ve made peace with them. They kinda look like freckles. Which I always wanted as a kid. That, and blonde hair.
My neck’s OK. I think it’s because I sleep with a stuffed animal under my chin. She’s an elephant named Ellie, and likely the reason I don’t have those horizontal lines people sometimes get.
They’re ok, though they’re not located exactly where they used to be. I blame myself for this. I build muscle easily and if I had hit the gym with any consistency during the last decade to work my chest, they’d probably be an inch higher than they are. Still, they’re fine.
Stomach & Waist
My stomach and waist have expanded. I used to have an 8 pack which morphed into a 6 pack. Now I’m psyched if I have a 4 pack because mostly I have a 2 pack. Again, I’m reading these words just as you are, and I’m thankful for what I have.
Lately my tush has acted under the false assumption that it is an extension of my legs, just slightly higher up (though not much). This makes me sad. Which is why, when Dr. Jennifer Levine told me about a new procedure that claims to build muscle tone, I wanted to hear more.
The procedure is called Emsculpt and it creates body contouring by using electromagnetic energy to cause supramaximal contractions in your muscles. And… she tells me it’s cleared by the FDA for “improvement of abdominal tone, strengthening of the abdominal muscles, development of a firmer abdomen [and...Wait. For. It.], strengthening, toning, [and] firming of the buttocks.”
The thought of my tush springing back to life was too much to resist. So I agreed to do 4 treatments on both my tush and my stomach (follow me on IG to watch the procedure + results in real-time), because I’m turning 50 and I refuse to go [gently] into that good night. It’s a poem about aging. Google it.
They’re OK. I’m mostly saying that because I feel like I should. I know that I should. The thing is, I spent 7 months of the last year doing nothing: Didn’t lift a pound, didn’t go to a dance class, probably walked less than 200 steps a day. And while I’ve had spans of time like that before, this one came with consequences - I’m guessing because of my age.
Tired of hearing me complain about my sedentary lifestyle, my fake kid, who is a personal trainer at a fancy NYC gym, gave me personal training sessions for the holidays, which I started using in May and which I will continue to take advantage of until she fires me. Or quits her gym.
The legs are building muscle. But there is cellulite, which I’ve never had. And currently, there is nothing one can do for that. And no guarantee that it will go away. Which sucks.
I won’t lie: It’s not the same. But that may not be a bad thing. Without killing next month’s post about how I feel at my age, I will say that having less energy means I sweat bullshit less. I’m less reactive. More thoughtful. More likely to let stuff roll off my back.
In the physical sense of having energy, I have found that staying active is less a thing I “should do” and more a thing I “have to do” to keep up with the psychotic pace of my life.
What this means in a nuts and bolts sense is that I now walk to and from work every day which puts my daily activity (without the gym) at a minimum of 2.5 miles, and I have a commitment to train twice a week with my fake kid. The combination of these two things has improved my energy significantly. As well as my self-esteem.
I’m not sure there’s a difference in my strength. I mean there absolutely is but it’s hard to tell what to attribute it to since I sat on my ass for three quarters of the last year eating snacks before bed. All I know is that every week, my weights and reps go up in the gym, which admittedly is easy when they start off as low as mine did.
I can tell you with certainty that when you do nothing other than eat during the 49th year of your life, your strength will decrease. And you will worry that you may fall and break a hip. Which is why I will never have another period of time during which I do not exercise.
Changes. Those change.
If they’re happening, I haven't noticed. Nothing seems to have changed in any area between my waist and my thighs.
As for my birthday, I’ll be in Spain. With my family xo
PS: Want to hear about this kind of stuff? We’re all talking about it over on my private Facebook group. Click here to join!