Last week our family went on a vacation to Virginia Beach and this week I’ve spent much of the time thinking about how much I want to go back on vacation.
We had a wonderful time. It was great to get away with our adult children and their spouses. We relaxed on the beach and ate a lot of great food. We drank coffee in the mornings on the porch of the Airbnb that we stayed at, and drank cocktails at night. I didn’t give one single thought to work. I didn’t watch the news and spent little time on social media.
Now I’m back to work and reality. Ah well. We wouldn’t enjoy or savor vacations as much if we had them all of the time, would we?
Could we though?
I think I probably could.
It’s called retirement.
Now that I’m 55, I think about retirement a lot. The years are going by more quickly and I know that the years that I have left to work are few when you look at the overall scheme of things. I can’t wait. I wish I was one of those people who loves what they do so much that they never think of retiring, but that’s not me. I’ve worked most of my life, starting at the age of 12 as a babysitter. 43 years. That’s a lot of years of working. These days, I just want to travel with my husband, enjoy a glass of wine outside, and snuggle up with my dogs and a good book.
Besides thinking a lot about retirement, I’ve also been thinking a lot about aging. I read obituaries and see that someone has died at the age of 58, or 62, or 84 and I start looking at where I’m at and doing the math. It sounds morbid, but the older you get, the more it dawns on you that your time on this earth is limited. What do I have left to do? What’s left on my bucket list?
I look in the mirror sometimes and ask, “Who is that old lady staring back me?” I decided to stop coloring my hair, so the gray hairs increase with each day. Other than using some eye cream for puffiness, I don’t really worry about getting wrinkles. I know they’re inevitable and I’m learning to embrace them. I stopped worrying about the cellulite and my soft belly. I exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water and eat a lot of healthy foods, but I’m not going to get obsessed about looking a certain way or cutting out food groups for flat abs. As I grow older, I love my body more. It’s done so much for me and while I’m doing my best to take care of it, I’m not going to feed it with negative talk and if I want a glass of wine or pizza, I’m going to give myself these things.
With age comes more self-confidence, more self-acceptance, more of “I couldn’t give a fuck” attitude about what other people think. Those are the perks of growing old. A wisdom that I wish I had had years ago when I spent so much energy trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be, trying to make a good impression, trying to fit in.
I sometimes ask my body to do things that it’s probably too old to do. This week was a perfect example when I tried some workouts that my body was just not fit enough to do. Instead of pushing through, I decided, “Okay, this is too much for me right now. Let’s try something else.” I give myself more grace these days. I don’t beat myself up. That’s not to say I’m not going to try things, but I’m listening more to my body and what it needs.
None of us know how much time we have left in life, so if I could teach just one lesson with this post it is this: you are a beautiful human being. Love yourself, take care of yourself. While it’s important to be kind to others, also be kind to yourself. Fuck the naysayers, including that negative voice in your head.
And don’t be afraid of getting older. While the hot flashes, night sweats, and body aches and pains aren’t fun, the self-confidence, appreciation for life, and feeling comfortable in your own skin rock!
This, my friends, is 55.
May your glass always be full,