I’ve started keeping a gratitude journal. 

What am I grateful for today? Well, many, many things. I will start with my healthy body. I am nearly 50 years old. This month, I will have circled the sun 50 times. As most people say as they get older – I kind of can’t believe it. 50 is what older people are. Age is just a number – it’s all in your head – blah blah blah. Actually, it’s not just in my head. It’s in my lower back, my eyes that don’t focus like they once did, my post-menopausal belly, my greying hair. 

As I write this, I hear the voices of people who are older than me saying – oh you just wait. Try being 60, or 70, or 85! I know. My body will continue to fail, as bodies tend to do. And that’s ok – bodies aren’t meant to last forever. But that doesn’t diminish my experience, and amazement actually, that my 50 year old self feels different than it did before. Noticeably. 

So back to gratitude. I am thankful that this body of mine is healthy. The aging I feel is normal, from what I hear. I don’t take any medications. I try hard to treat this body right – so that it will continue to be healthy for me. I try to put good stuff in it, move it often, strengthen it with working out. I meditate pretty regularly, and all of this is very helpful. Yet, I get the feeling that it is kind of uphill from here. Must work harder, more regularly, to feel ok. I am thinking, I better appreciate how awesome I feel today, with my little aches and pains, for in 5 years, I will look back and remember how great I felt!

FIFTY. Feels real. Just a number. 50 is the new 30. Is it though? Not sure I would want to be.

There is so much that is wonderful about aging. I sure would not want to go back in time, and try to navigate life all over again. I don’t feel despondent or depressed, I’m just processing the physical aging process. For me, the changes that happened through my 30s and 40s didn’t feel like the changes I’ve been feeling lately. It seems the changes in how I feel are sharper, and happen more quickly. 

I do what I can to negate the painful and unwanted signs of aging. I also work on reasonable acceptance. Is my mid-section less firm and more ample than I wish it is? Sure. Am I willing to cut out ALL pleasurable food and drink and work out like a fiend to keep it flat and less? Not really. Sometimes I am surprised when I see a photo of myself, and my face is not the face I imagine I still have. Does it matter? No, of course not, it just doesn’t always equate to my own vision of myself – my younger self. I lived with that version much longer than I’ve lived with the version with wrinkles around my eyes, and the neck which solidly betrays me for no longer being in my 30s. So I’m still getting used to that face that looks one way on the outside, but still feel the same to me on the inside! 

Balance. Gratitude. I am a healthy nearly 50-year-old-woman. I gave birth to 2 children. Thank you body, I think you’re great. I’ve earned you, and you have done me the enormous favor of standing by me. I will do my very best to take care of you while I have you.

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