Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Big 5-0... Getting Older and Hopefully Better!

As my fiftieth birthday approaches, I think about health, life and how I just don't feel this old! :) A half century..yikes! With the brain of an overgrown twentysomething, it's so strange to watch my body age. I wonder if others feel like this? I didn't care about turning forty, but, well, fifty takes a little digesting. I don't judge others by their ages, so why be so critical of myself? My boyfriends have all been older than myself, many of my friends, too. It's no big deal. But watching people I've known deal with major illness, and a few peers of the past have even died, it puts life into a bit more perspective than the formerly happy-go-lucky, invincible feelings of youth. It's time to get serious about health, but not lose the youthful and fun side along the way.

Some people run out and get plastic surgery at the first signs of aging. It's all over television, those who plumped up their faces too much and ended up looking like Barbie-doll blowfish. It's one thing to fix a minor issue here and there, but quite another to make your face look like plastic. Yikes. To me, some lines on the face are character lines. Taking them away will change the character of the face. I have always had "laugh" lines since childhood. To me, they are ok. They're just me. Others who never had them and then started getting them, I can understand them wanting to get those fixed. It's all an individual choice for each person to decide. I personally like the lasers that kill photo-aging. Had it done once in Florida and it was like a rubberband snapping, not painful, and it took some of the light brown, lacy sun damage off of my face and neck. It's not cheap so I only did it once, but it lasted for ten years, without being invasive in any way. To me, that is worth the money and I will do it again sometime at a good place I know in Beachwood, where friends have gone and had a good experience.

Another procedure that isn't too bad is having moles removed. Both my parents have had (early) cancers removed from themselves, so being their daughter, I think nothing of getting moles removed if they are questionable. Having fair complexions have made all of us targets for these things, so it's better safe than sorry. My ex had large moles on his body, and I told him to get them checked, because they were bigger than pencil erasers (apparently criteria some doctors seem to think of as possible risk factors for skin cancer). He was fair skinned, too, so he consulted a doctor, who ended up taking all of them off. You just never know. When I lived down in St.Petersburg and Largo, Florida, I saw people walking around with loads of sun damage all over their arms and faces. The sun is so intense down there, it's understandable that it happens to them. But dangerous not to do anything about large purple blotches and other discoloration. I spent most of my time in Florida, indoors, not interested in baking in the sun like a lobster. Did that down in Mexico when I was younger, but it was time to be more careful. And now, I use zinc type sunscreen when needing to be out in the sun for long periods of time, along with sunglasses. Not being a fanatic about it, just being more careful.

As for gray hair, whatever. It looks great on men especially. My dad has white hair, shows his Scottish heritage. The chemicals used to color hair are a cocktail mix of unhealthy chemicals but they do make us all look refreshed when used. I love Aveda brand salon products, due to their apparently natural ingredients (and they smell so darned good!). Working from home and living in the country, I'm less concerned with getting the hair and coloring done every eight weeks like I did in my youth. Nobody much sees me so it's not that big a deal. This goes for wardrobe, too. I might dress a little nice to meet with friends, go to the store or to the doctor but otherwise, it's not a big deal unless being out and more social. Buying girly, pretty clothing is in my nature but so is wearing sweats at home. Women who wear high heels to walk in the park, to me, are nuts (I know, did it a few times in my twenties). I wore high heels my entire young life out with friends but only here and there now. It isn't necessary to do all of the time. Being in less fashionable topsiders is more comfortable and doesn't wreck your feet.

After being VERY sick with serious tooth infection issues (ongoing fight, even now), I have a deeper appreciation for good health and taking better care of myself. In youth, I burned the candle at both ends, eating junk food, staying up late all night/every night (due to excess energy/insomnia), stressing my back by carrying ten bags of groceries at the same time, etc. I even moved my entire apartment in Florida, lifting and transporting my furniture (with help from a friend) myself. Big mistake, tore up my back. When the spine (lumbar area) gave out and needed rehab for a few years, it was time to change habits, and being more mindful of my spine has helped so much. Same with the teeth. My wonderful dentist and his staff have taught me better ways to improve my oral hygiene. The less infection in my system, the more energy I have. Before all the dental work, I felt dead. Could barely do much of anything, just worn out and sick all of the time. I dragged myself to the dental office, scared out of my mind that the infection would actually kill me, as my face would swell up and teeth were breaking off/infecting, one after another. They are now replaced and cosmetic appearances aside, it's beyond a huge relief to see my gums look healthier, and to live without broken teeth carving up the inside of my mouth. If you are suffering with dental disasters like I did, don't give up or avoid dentists like I used to..find a dentist you trust and go. It's worth it. Perfect A Smile Dentistry in Chagrin Falls, Ohio is the best..go if you can. Amazing, caring dentists, all of them.

The next on the list of things to do is to get the weight down some more. I lost weight last year, and will do it again now. But, I don't diet..just eat what I want in smaller amounts and increase my exercise (for me, gardening). Throughout my life, losing weight wasn't hard and I did it a lot. The older I get, the harder it is, but it's not impossible. A good pig-out once a month seems to work for me, to get the need for something sweet out of my system. This coming month, that will be my birthday cake. LOVE cake, even if it doesn't love me in the least. The rest of the month, it's hummus, flatbread, salad, etc. It's surely not a regimen recommended by any doctor but it seems to work for me. I lost over fifty pounds twice in my life (fifteen years apart, the last time being last year), so something's going right. I get a goal in mind and then shoot for it. For me it's about avoiding diabetes and also looking better in my clothes. In my closet is a full range of clothing from small to large sizes. I aim to be solidly a medium again, and throw out any larges. We're never too old to better ourselves, in whatever way it means to us each individually. I want to make fifty look good, but better still, FEEL good!