Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Downward Slide

I turn 50 this year.  That's right.  The big five ohhh.  I always become 1 year older at the New Year.  I tell people I'm 50 now even though the B-day is a few more months away.  Not sure why, but I've always done it that way.  January 1st rolls around, Yep...I'm another year older.

In my head though, I still feel like I'm in my 30's.  Which can be kinda creepy when you see a hot guy who's 35 and you realize you're 15 years older than he is.  His kids could be your grand babies and he's looking at you like you're his Mom.  You always hear about the "creepy old guy" but not about the "creepy old lady".  Are we just better at hiding our creepy moments? 

I can sympathize with Demi's depression right now.  Young hotty Ashton says "bye-bye" and reality will smack a girl right upside the head.  And Demi Moore will always be hotter than the majority of women her age.  Some women have just got it going on genetically.  Has anyone seen Raquel Welch lately?  The girl is in her 70's and looks better than I ever did in my 20's. 

It's a weird head game that goes on as you get older.  It's still a bit of a shock to come around the corner and catch a glimpse of myself.  Where did all my youthful "hotness" go?

This past year, I've seen the biggest changes in my physical looks.  Softer, rounder...my weight is about the same but I have to buy bigger jeans cause the weight is in a different place now.  And my face!  No wonder plastic surgery is so popular.  Sorry to say, but there won't be a trout-pout in my future.  No botox either.  I can see the appeal.  I can understand the mindset.  It's just not for me.  I'll probably continue to color my hair until the grey outnumbers the brown but that's about all I'm willing to do.  I still want to look like me

Of all the changes happening as I get older, the one that concerns me the most is the limitations of my body.  I'm noticing that my recovery from overexertion is a lot longer than it used to be.  Aches and pains take a lot longer to go away.  I've noticed that my hand "grip" sucks.  I literally can't open a bottle of water without help.  My legs, hips and back are killing me after a long surgery day at work.  Ibuprofen wants to become my new best friend.  I'm resisting it though.  I've never been much of a pill-popper.  I still prefer a hot shower, a glass of wine and a day of rest.  All this helps for sure, but how much longer will my body be able to tolerate the demands of my job?

This concerns me because SM and I are part of the millions of Americans who will rely on our Social Security check to cover the majority of our daily household needs.  The government is telling me I need to work until I'm 67.  That's 17 more years.  I hope I'm able to do it, but I'm beginning to realize that there will come a point when I'm going to have to admit that I can't physically sustain the pace that I keep now.  I'll have to change my occupation or go part time which will likely mean a diminished paycheck.  Less money is still better than NO money but still...It's a scary thought.  Even scarier if one of us becomes sick.  Anyway you look at it, our standard of living is shifting downward. 

We're not even considered middle class anymore.  I made more money 10 years ago than I do now.  And it's going to get worse.  Our gravy train is gone.  Welcome to the new norm.  (Don't you find that phrase annoying?)

I've noticed lately that I'm on the "lookout" for women who are older than me that are still employed.  What do they do for a living?  Full time or part time?  If I get the chance, I pick their brains.  What did you used to do?  When and why did you change?  How do you feel?  How much longer do you think you'll be in the game? 

I've always been a big fan of mentors.  When you're at school or work, finding that special person who "gets you" and can help guide you into your future is priceless. 

My "life mentor" right now is Susan.  Or "Miss Susan" as I call her cause she's a Southern lady born and bred.  She moves through her life in such a graceful way.  I admire her very much.  She's relaxed and calm and she helps calm me down.  We work well together.  She's 14 years older than I am and used to do my job.  She moved into a receptionist position with our company 10 years ago due to the physical complaints she experienced.  She used to be full time but has moved into a part time situation that she enjoys very much.  We often talk about when she might quit for good (Who knows?) and I tease her back that I plan on taking her job when she does retire. 

I've always been the type of girl that looks for the pot holes in the road I'm traveling.  If I can recognize an upcoming problem than I can take the steps now to curve around the pot hole, thereby ensuring success.

This is a pretty big pot hole.

7 comments:

  1. We're roughly the same age. I've noticed the same things--particularly related to "strength". I used to be able to move HEAVY objects. I have absolutely NO strenth in my arms anymore. I just hope to be able to keep gardening. I'm sure it will be at a LOT slower pace.
    Have a great weekend!

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  2. Hmmm LOL - I've got 7 (8 this year) years on you.

    I, too, have a nodding acquaintance with iboprufen and the end result of two kids, one caesarian and an emergency hysterectomy means that the middle is definitely taking strain, though the arms and legs could probably pass for a 40-year-old (if you ignore the flappy bit developing above my armpit...) Oh, and the glass or two of rose at night, also probably isn't helping.

    Retire at 67 - NOT a chance! I've already told RMan that my brain hurts from company figures, and all I want to do is grow veggies, tend lemon trees, make soap, and entertain my grandson. Reckon by 60 I'll call it a day, and we'll have to learn to live more simply - simply enough to stay within our budget. (what's that - if you haven't got one, then how do you live within it?)

    S'funny - I still think of myself as 32...

    But, I wouldn't change my age for anything. Life doesn't begin at 40, it beings at 50! :)

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  3. OK, I'm one of the "Creepy old Men" you mentioned. Single and 8 years your senior! And there is only me to worry about (and the animals!). But I know that I will never be able to "RETIRE", not if I want to continue this DREAM!
    I too find it takes longer to recover and I'm always trying to find easier ways of getting the job done!
    Doing it a lone SUCKS! But that's life!

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  4. Oh Tom! You're not "creepy" unless you're chasing the young fresh things.

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  5. I agree with Dani, and I've been saying it for 3 years: life begins at 50. I am so much more content and easy-going at this point. Okay.. creaky, droopy in spots, and physically slower, too, but pretty darned healthy all things considered.
    I have a decent retirement amount saved up from my first job 30 years ago, but DH lost his ENTIRE retirement savings when the MCI debacle occurred. Never planned on seeing any of my Social Security money come back to me (I could see, even 30 years ago, that that system will be kaput by the time I turn 65). Therefore, I plan to work, Lord willing, until I die.

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  6. Oh Girl you are in good company. I hit 50 in Oct(2011) and feel all the same things you are. I find I can't seem to get any one project completed before I'm off to another one. I just can't seem to focus. I have been saving for my retirement and hope to do so in 5 years 8 tops.. God willing. All I want to do is play in my garden and do what I want, when I want.

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  7. I'm 51 1/2, and I feel so much better as I age. I don't really care what other people think of me anymore, which was a HUGE obstacle for me all my life.
    Why retire? Just find something else that you are passionate about and carve the way for yourself.

    Yoga does wonders for keeping a body ache-free. I highly recommend it!

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