Lisa Beach is a freelance writer, blogger and recovering homeschool mom who lived to write about it. Check out her writer’s website at www.LisaBeachWrites.com and catch up with Lisa at www.TweeniorMoments.com, her humor blog about midlife, family, friends—and all the baggage that goes with it.
From hair loss to heel spurs, middle age can slowly ravage your body from head to toe. It all starts innocently enough, with a suspicious mole here and a high-cholesterol count there, here a pound, there a pound, everywhere a pound, pound.
At first, I barely even noticed the small, sporadic changes that began to crop up – the stray gray hair, the smile lines that remained long after I stopped smiling. But then I started to connect the age spots, as I perceived a more frequent pattern of disturbing physical transformations inching their way into my body. Then it hit me. BOOM – I’ve got a full-blown case of middle age.
This is a good news/bad news situation. First, let’s rip off the Band-Aid and look at the down side.
1. The Metabolic Middle Finger.
My metabolism tanked at mid-life. Secretly, I was hoping for a dysfunctional thyroid to blame. Nope, I was just getting older. Like an Energy Star appliance, my middle age metabolism clicked into conservation mode. Now I need to do more of everything (i.e., exercise, eat healthier, take vitamins and supplements, manage stress) just to maintain the status quo.
2. Less-Than-Stellar Skin.
In middle age, I learned to deal with the sheer volume of wrinkles that might soon rival a Shar-Pei. My skin, with the elasticity of a 20-year-old balloon, just doesn’t spring back the way it used. I need more products than ever to combat dry skin, age spots, under-eye circles, broken capillaries, enlarged pores and not-so-fine lines. And that’s just my face. Cellulite? Don’t even get me started.
3. Ho-hum Hair.
Women spend an enormous amount of time and money on their hair, from cuts and color to extensions and blow-dry bars. Middle age guys are just happy to still have hair. Me? I’ve always struggled with my fine, flat, mouse-brown hair, wishing for more color, bounce and body (hence the many perms in the ‘80s and ‘90s). These days, I curse the irony of my wishful thinking as I look at those coarse, springy gray strands that now pepper my hair. There’s your color and bounce!
4. Declining Vision.
I skipped the “good-vision gene,” needing glasses since fifth grade. It’s sad to think that I peaked at 10. In my 20s, I wore a stronger prescription than my grandmother, and she had cataracts and bifocals. These days, I’m squinting at menus in dimly lit restaurants and grabbing my reading glasses to decipher the micro-directions on a bottle Nyquil so I don’t overdose in my sleep.
5. Unexplained Aches & Pains.
Hi, my name is Lisa and I’m athletically challenged. Physical prowess has eluded me my whole life, but I can still hold a yoga pose or two. Despite my attempts to stay semi-active and healthy, a muscle cramp, hip pain or back spasm could strike for no apparent reason, like sitting on the couch watching Modern Family. Or sleeping. One time, on vacation in Tennessee, I was reading a book and reaching for a glass of wine, when a childbirth-intensity level of pain ripped through my lower back literally driving me to tears. In addition to worrying about drinking and driving, now I’ve got to worry about drinking and reading? Dear. God.
But the good news? I don’t want to be 20 again. (OK, not exactly true. I would want the better physical health, skin, and vision. But I’ll take my highlighted, silver fox head of hair over my perms any day.) While I do care how I feel (both physically and mentally), there’s a certain soul-sucking aspect to caring too much about how I look. These days, I’m shooting for “presentable.” And if, as the saying goes, “a smile is an instant facelift,” then I’m laughing myself all the way into my senior years. BOOM – there it is.