I mean, life is good these days. I like my job, and I focus on doing what makes me happiest. Where I am having a bit of a struggle is in the area of health, wellness, fashion, and fitness. That is to say,I am at times caught off guard by that girl I see looking back at me in the mirror.
One of my best girlfriends told me recently that this is the age when we should start adding a couple of years to our ages when asked, so people are impressed at just how good we look for our age.(She has coined the term " Plus 2" for this and claims it works great for age or clothing sizes...)
Yes, the place where things most dramatically change as we enter and progress though our fi..fi..fif..fifties. It's our appearance, and our health.
Oh, and maybe a little bit of our short term memory. I find myself wondering why I came into a room in the house and have to retrace my steps back to the point I started at so that I might be able to remember why it was I had gone to the other room in the first place.
Now, where was I? (Let me go back and re-read what I wrote so that I can remember....)
Ehem...As I was saying, the older we get, the more obvious the extreme differences are in appearance and health in our age group. There are women in their 50's that remind me of Opey's Aunt Bee..
and, at the opposite end of the spectrum,there are lady cougars like those gals on the Real Housewives of the O.C.
Trust me here, I live in the real world a pretty good portion of my day, and I know I am not going to achieve the Real Housewife status of outward beauty, but I also can assure you that I do not aspire to be anyone's Aunt Bee.(God bless Francis Bavier, I am sure she was a wonderful gal. I just don't wanna look like her.)
This being said, it ain't easy trying to be cute morning, noon and night, at this stage of life. It takes more time and effort to maintain...everything.
Manufacturers are more than happy to come to our aid with a massive assortment of creams and lotions, procedures, and various little hand held machines all designed to help us look our optimal best. I for one am an easy target for these items, since I am an eternal optimist and believe in miracles. (If only I could find the time to use all of this stuff. Poor, poor Jillian Michaels stares a disapproving hole through me from her DVD case each morning as I run around getting ready for work, promising her that tomorrow I will make time for her, really, truly, I will.)
I am enjoying the freedom that comes with being the age I am,however I have to admit that I am slightly time management challenged. (Either that or I need an additional three hours in my day so as to be able to use things like the supposedly incredible little face machine.)
That, coupled with the fact that I haven't found an exercise activity I love, or at the very least, don't dread.(Never say never, 'coz the next sport I'd like to give a try at is golf...and it just might be "my thing". We'll see.)
Then, there is the issue of age appropriate fashion. I want to look "hip" (oh Gawd, does that word date me?)but I don't want to look like I'm trying to be twenty four.
I guess you can see by my seemingly mindless rambling on this topic of attempting to age gracefully (and trying my best to stay active...and cute, at the same time.)that this has been weighing heavily on my mind of late. It occurred to me that if I am
That made me think of Cindy...and I am sure you know Cindy. (Let me interject right here that I am pea green with envy over Cindy's fit and fabulous upper arms, and I am dying to know her secret. I only pray that her secret isn't being born with good genes.)
Cindy and I have been online friends since...when? 2006 I think. We actually met in person a couple of times at fairs. (and wouldn't you know it, neither of us had the foresight to get a picture of us together either time!)It turns out that she lives very near my Dad, so I am sure next time I make my way to northern California, we will try and connect again.
Now, Cindy is a few years younger than me, but still in her oh-let's-make-them-fabulous fifties. (She's even got a new blog dedicated to this very topic!Check it out right here.) She has recently discovered mountain biking, hiking, and ...gasp!....Fitness Bootcamp.
Here is a girl that can share some real insight for all of us on how to go for the golden ring and make the most of our age, whether it be thirty one, or fifty five...or seventy eight. Thinking about Cindy gave me the brilliant idea to interview her and get her perspective on things.
Cindy has some great information, insight, and inspiration for us all. So...without further adieu, let's get this party started, shall we?
me:Thanks so much for sharing your insights, Cindy! You know we have a lot in common. We're both single girls in our 50's who love to decorate, cook, blog and who knows what all else. What has been the biggest surprise for you as you enter your fabulous fifties?
50 and fabulous Cindy:The biggest surprise is that I like it, I'm actually enjoying it! I still don't feel 50 and I'm about to turn 51 in September! This sounds so cliche but I've realized that it's all in how you look at things...you have a choice...you can be depressed that you're 50 or you can enjoy it! I remember when I turned 40, I woke up that morning and cried! That seems so silly now, 40 is so young! When I turn 60 I want to look back and say "Wow, my fifties were some of the best years of my life" It's all about your attitude and we are the ones in control of our own attitude!
me: I've gotta say that I love your attitude Cindy. You've got it right. What sparked the inspiration in you to become more physically active?
50 and fabulous Cindy:The fear of being "over the hill" is what did it. You see two types of people over fifty; the type that slows down and grows old or the type that is fit and active and although they are still 50 they look amazing. I used to look at the second type and wish I could be like them. It was sort of a "light-bulb moment" for me. I realized I could be that type of person...I just had to do it!!! It's more work but it can be done. I'm still not where I want to be but I'm in a much better place than I was when I weighed 50+ lbs more and got no exercise! Also, I saw my mom's health deteriorate over the last 25 years because she wasn't active. My mom passed away this year and it was very hard on me. I really realized how important it is to stay active as we get older! If you want quality-of-life in the later years, you have to use those muscles!
me: Yup, it's that Aunt Bee or Real Housewife of the O.C. thing all over again. You know what they say..."use it or lose it". I guess that's true of everything.
How did you end up getting into hiking, and bike riding? (Did you join a club? Was it suggested by a friend?) What's your current favorite sports or fitness activity?
50 and fabulous Cindy:I hiked with friends a little but it was hard to get our schedules in sync and I knew I needed to do it on a more regular basis. I went to www.meetup.com. There are so many different groups you can join there! I found numerous hiking groups and joined one of them. On my first hike with that group I met a woman that ran her own hiking group with her husband. She gave me her email address and I've been hiking with their group ever since! We hike 8-14 miles every Saturday morning! It takes up 1/2 of my Saturday but the results are worth it. My legs haven't been this firm since I was in my 20s! As far as biking...that was a little more scary for me. I hadn't rode a bicycle in years but I started dating someone that was really into mountain biking so I gave it a try and I was surprised how much I liked it! It's really hard to pick a favorite because I enjoy doing both of them! Since they both use different muscles I plan on continuing with both.
me:That's awesome.I guess it's all about trying different things out, and finding something you really enjoy.Meetup is a very cool thing too, and it's everywhere!
Speaking of enjoying an activity...Tell us about Fitness Bootcamp....(is it as scary as it sounds?!)
50 and fabulous Cindy:No, it's not as scary as it sounds! They don't scream at you...they let you go at your own pace. There are people of all ages and fitness levels there. I did a trial offer through Groupon.com. It's only for 1 month. It's rather pricey so I'm not sure if I will continue once my one-month trial is up. It's Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:15 am. Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com have some great deals for many things. I just saw one in my area for Zumba lessons so I may try that soon!
me: The coupon sites are great things too! I love how you are trying things out in all sorts of different areas...that's how we find out of we really like an activity, after all.
Since I myself am just about to hit the big five-five, I know turning 50 beats the alternative, but...how do you really feel about entering your fifties?
50 and fabulous Cindy:Tracey, you look amazing and you certainly don't look like you are about to turn 55!
(Thanks so much, but I feel the need to jump in here to also add that after 50 our eyesight seems to take a nose dive as Cindy has clearly demonstrated...) Honestly I wish I was in my 30s but I'm not. I think it's important to feel the best at whatever age you are. The one thing I do like about this age is the wisdom that comes from all those years of life experience. I would 't trade that for anything!
me: Hmmm, I am not so sure I feel like I am the wisest woman out there sometimes, seriously. I guess I am wiser (more wise?) than I was at 30 though, now that I think on it. What would you say is your best gotta-do-everyday beauty tip?
50 and fabulous Cindy:I make sure I wash my face really well every night before I go to bed! I actually wash and rinse my face 4 times to make sure I get all my make-up off. If I miss just one night of doing this ritual I can tell a difference in my skin!
me: Wow, four times? (I am now wondering if I am cleaning my face well enough.) It's a great tip, and so true. Okay, slight change of topic here, but I know you have lost weight in the past year, and you are looking great! How did you do it? What kind of advice do you have for other women out there wanting to get fit?
50 and fabulous Cindy:I joined Weight Watchers and I love it! Years ago, my doctor had told me that he has many patients trying to lose weight and the ones that lost the most and keep it off are the ones on Weight Watchers. I've tried just about every diet out there and I really do think Weight Watchers is the best. It really teaches you how to eat for the rest of your life! It's so much more than a diet...I hate that word any way! I associate diet with starving! It's so much better to look at it as a way of life! I still allow myself to have treats because I really hate the feeling of being deprived. If I make the majority of my food healthy; lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains then I can have sweets (which are my weakness) every once in awhile.
me: That sounds like a good, smart, livable plan. The idea of a diet just sets us up for defeat.
I have definite opinions on my next question, but I want your take on this first...Do you feel that being a single girl adds extra pressure to feeling the need to look your best, or do you think it's simply a girl thing?
50 and fabulous Cindy:Oh, I think it adds a lot of extra pressure especially if you are out there dating! The competition is fierce on the online dating sites. I always feel like so much emphasis is put on how we as women look that it sometimes it makes me feel so inadequate. I try to focus on looking the best I can with what I have and be happy with that. Perfection will never be reached and I am what I am...a 50 year old woman and nothing I do will make me 30 again and I'm okay with that. After all, 30 year olds have no clue how much more wisdom they will have when they are 50!
50 and fabulous Cindy: I just would like to add, if you are wanting to lose weight and firm up, don't focus so much on the end result you want to see in the mirror...have that in the back of your mind but more importantly, enjoy the process! I can feel when I've lost just a couple pounds and it feels great! I can feel my legs getting firmer every time I go hiking! I guess what I'm trying to say is...Enjoy the journey, don't just focus on where you ultimately want to be. The amazing thing is you will feel and look better all along the way to your final result!