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Five Things that Go to Hell after Fifty


You're probably familiar with the expression in the above photo, and for the most part I have to agree. At forty I was in the best physical shape ever, having lost a bunch of weight thru diet and walking every day. I didn't get sick with even a cold for an entire year! It seems like once I rolled past that magic number my body began to fall apart, and after 50 it only got worse.  In the spirit of Five on Friday I present five ways my body has turned on me in recent years...

1.  I've worn glasses since I was 17 so I'm used to them, despite them being a pain in the butt cuz they seem to attract dirt, dust, and fingerprints thus frequently requiring cleaning. Somewhere around 40 I "graduated" to bi-focals so I could continue to read voraciously without going blind.  By 50 I was needing tri-focals so that I could drive, read and spend hours staring at the computer screen. When you first get bi-focals they drive you nuts, but you soon adjust. Tri-focals are no different. The only problem is when you are walking and look down, such as on steps - they tend to distort your  depth perception and I have very little of that to begin with. Steps are now a scary adventure! I've tried the "Invisiline" versions and although they look great, they don't work worth a damn, so I settle for the "uber-glam" kind with obvious lens divisions, but what the hell, I wasn't planning to try out for covergirl anyway.  I've tried having different pairs for driving/reading/computer too, but constantly changing glasses throughout the day drove me nuts. Now it's gotten to the point that I can't read the tiny squiggles of text on my iPhone without my glasses, so they have to be on the bedside table at night in case I receive a very important text... or want to check the latest blog updates as they pop in! :-)

2.  Most people's ability to hear well diminishes as they get older, but mine was obviously not cutting it in my early 40's.  I worked with a bunch of women who tend to gossip in whispers and I'm a lousy lip reader so often ended up smiling or laughing along with the group, though I had no idea what they said. It was probably about me! The doctor told me my hearing loss is quite possibly the result of chemical poisoning. More about that later.  I got hearing aids, and hated them, more background noise than I could stand. So I tossed them in the drawer for a few years. 

By 55 it got to the point that I couldn't understand phone calls or conversations clearly enough to perform my job duties so I swallowed my pride and back to the audiologist I went. I now sport hi-tech hearing aids that cost well over $5000, and live in fear that some dumb ass will push me in a pool and short them out! They are insured of course, but being without them for any period of time is torturous. It's like living in a muffled world similar to having stopped up ears when you have a cold.  Every now and then one of them experiences problems and has to be sent in for repairs, for that week I have to function with one "good" ear at work,  and it's maddening and so very frustrating! 

I didn't realize how much I couldn't hear anymore until I got them.  When they are out at night I can't hear the cats meowing at the door, and probably wouldn't hear someone who broke in and removed half of our possessions.  I don't have them in on Saturdays when I am home alone, since I don't need to hear well then, I can enjoy my quiet world. Being dependent on them is another blow to the ego and another pain in the arse.  Hearing aids aren't a perfect answer either - sharp sounds, whistling, and loud background noises like a blaring tv make me cover my ears! Not being able to hear clearly in noisy situations doesn't help my social anxieties either.

3. I don't recall having allergies as a child, although my older sister was plagued with them. But by my thirties I began to experience problems with strong perfumes and hairspray - much to the delight of my teenage daughter who would bomb her room and the car with said aerosols.  Surprising she lived to see 20, but karma happens, and now she has the same problem with people wearing perfume at work! 

By 40 I was experiencing problems with plant pollen, dust mites, and cleaning chemicals, and by 50 I was breaking out in hives from external chemical exposure and an array of food substances, not yet completely identified.  Chocolate makes my throat itch, but no - that doesn't stop  me from eating it. Probably not until I end up in an emergency room from overdoing it someday! I am also allergic to black and white pepper which are in many things, and we're still trying to figure out the rest. When I eat something "wrong" it not only makes me cough and itch, it makes my ears block up, gives me indigestion, and intestinal issues and sometimes increases my heart rate - really "fun".  We use fragrance free/dry free everything at home, and my beloved Papa Bear must put on his wonderful Armani Code cologne after I leave for work. By nighttime it has worn off enough for me to enjoy just a whiff left on his skin but at first it gives me terrible headaches if I'm near it.  I can actually taste fragrances, and they don't taste good!

Not surprisingly, asthma came on the heals of increased allergic reactions. Allergies are one of the common asthma attack triggers, along with stress, excitement, exercise, and cold. I now take a high-powered asthma medication that costs $300 per month without insurance.  My health insurance for my new job kicks in May 1st, thankfully!! In the mean time I've been reducing the amount I take cuz that is beyond our budget. I can sympathize now with elders on fixed incomes who can't afford their meds.

4.  There there is the sore, creaky joints caused by osteoarthritis, and the painful muscles and chronic fatigue of fibromyalgia. When I walk down the hallway at work you can hear my knees and ankles going snap-snap-snap!  If I push a vacuum cleaner for 30 minutes, or get down  on my knees to scrub a floor, I'll barely be able to move the next day.  Thread crochet and writing letters by hand are now out of the question, but thankfully my hands and fingers still tolerate the hours spent daily at the keyboard fairly well!  Walking the half-block across the slightly inclined parking lot to our office building in the morning is a slow process, it takes awhile for my  joints to get moving, and I feel like a snail as the young folks pass me by.

5. Last but not the least of the indignities suffered in my 50's is waking up one day to find my mom's hands attached to my arms, and my dad's drooping eyelids looking back at me in the mirror!!  I remember those features so well in their older years and now I see that I look exactly the same. The aging process is gradual so you don't really notice it until one day and the shock hits you.  My skin has lost it's elasticity and is getting that crepe paper feel.  Just lovely!

So what is one to do, but to grow old gracefully, accepting that these things are part of the cycle of life... we are born, we live, we age, we die.  No amount of plastic wizardry can erase the tell-tale signs, and they have yet to discover the famed fountain of youth.  Those who try too hard to retain their 30-something appearance often overdo it end up looking totally ridiculous.  I don't mind aging really, I have no desire to be 21 again, and I do realize how blessed I am that these are the worst of my complaints and problems, it could be so so much worse!  I'm not throwing a pity party here, just stating the facts... after 50 the body goes to hell! It sure is too bad we can't requisition factory replacement parts!! I was going to add that my mind remains sharp and fully functional, but I fear there are some who would beg to disagree! :-)

Happy Friday everyone, I'm headed out to Cracker Barrel with the Papa Bear to enjoy our traditional Friday night fare.  Have a great weekend, and remember to count your blessings!  No matter how many things in your life aren't exactly as you wish they were, look around and see that you still have some wonderful blessings to be thankful for!

23 comments:

  1. Even though my hair started to go grey when i was in my 20's, i think 40 for me was the peak as well. I still feel pretty good, but age is starting to show in my face. I'm not to happy about that but what are you gonna do? Just try to keep a young mind. :)

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    1. I agree with that Ken, young of heart and mind is always attractive, no matter how old a person becomes!

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  2. Thirty for me was my peak, after thirty-five, it all started to go downhill.

    Vision, hearing, creaking bones and allergies, that's me too.
    Apart from a complete body transplant, there's not much else I can do.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this post! :)

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    1. I know it's kind of whiney, Lily, but seriously, from the physical standpoint at least, getting older is no fun! Though I do know folks much older than me that can still run circles around me. They've taken better care of themselves along the way.

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  3. I am not yet 50 but it is closing in...........lol I have to wear glasses for reading as my arms aren't long enough........lol.....
    I also have hearing aids which I only wear when around the family or at night watching telly with hubby......one day I will also wake up and find my mothers hands attached to my arms my mum says she often looks at her hands and sees her mothers hande in their place......

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    1. I am so used to wearing hearing aids now that I don't realize they are in, Jo-Anne. If I forget them it is my husband who grumbles when I'm not understanding him or wanting the tv turned up, he says "Don't you have your hearing aids in?" Then I touch my ears and remember! The hands thing kind of sneaks up on you, you don't see it happening then one day you look down and think "where did MY hands go?" I get a real kick out of women who do tons of plastic surgery to their faces but can't fix the aging signs of their necks and hands. Sorry, age is unavoidable, so we gott try to accept it gracefully!

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  4. So tell me, what gets better after 50? There has to be a silver lining.

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    1. Well Monkey, since I try to maintain balance in my writing and my thoughts, I was going to add five more things about life after 50 that are good, but somehow, senior discounts and getting away with acting a bit "senile" don't quite equal out to the down side. Honestly, physically at least there's not a damn thing good about aging. I'm mighty close to sixty and I observe folks who are 70 and 80 all the time and shudder realizing before very long that will be me. :-(

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    2. I'm smiling at your thought that there has to be a silver lining. That's something I wouldn't expect the Monkey to say! Does life indeed have a silver lining? Some folks think it's just one damn thing after another 'til you die. I don't agree with that perspective either, but it certainly isn't an easy journey, though I wouldn't trade mine in for anything. I can easily list lots of good things I would have missed along the way!

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  5. I'm sorry to say that I couldn't bring myself to read this! I'm don't want to feed my getting older fears too much! Must stay young... must stay young lol

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    1. Poor Bozo! Aging is part of the life cycle of all things, so in some sense we must embrace it. If you find a way to stay perpetually young, please let me in on the secret... quickly!! But I can say that you have a young and beautiful heart, and that will preserve you in wonderful ways and attract people to you for all of your life. No whether or not that bikini you dream of would still look good at 60, I can't say. It could happen! :-))

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    2. I'm just calling up Tinkerbell for a little pixie dust! ;-)

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    3. I'd need about a truckload of it by now, Bozo! :-)

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  6. I got new glasses last year and new upper teeth. Allergies, seem to get a little worse every year. Aging is so fun. Also love adding a new med every year or so also.

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    1. So true, Kristy. My glasses, now trifocals, get changed out about every two years, I didn't even list my teeth and how many of the old fillings etc have gone to pot and need to be replaced. Allergies are over the top and a damn nuisance, and yes, for many the meds keep climbing. After leaving the ex and the job I was working at that time my need for blood pressure medication has gone away except at moments of extreme stress, which is a plus, and some things, like the fibro meds I just refuse to take because of all the side effects, not worth it. Papa Bear was taking only one medication daily when I met him - for blood pressure, now he has several, some of which will hopefully prevent him from having another heart attack. Damn scary... and expensive even with insurance!

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  7. Being in the same age bracket, I can relate...
    ;)~
    HUGZ

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    1. Sadly, I think most of us "golden oldies" can, Ticklebear! It should work the other way I think, when you finally are old enough and smart enough to know how to take good care of yourself and your life you should get a new body to go with it. That would make an awesome 50th birthday gift! :-)

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  8. Josie, I want to know more about you...email me...
    and what is this Five Question Friday?

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    1. I'm headed over to read your OQW answer, and I'll drop you an email too McGuffy Ann. My email is always up on the right corner of my blog for anyone to use.

      Five on Friday is another one of my inventions. My brain is tired on Friday so I don't want to think too hard on writing a post. To play along all you have to do is create a list of five things - any topic you choose, and elaborate as much or as little as you like. I'd be delighted to have more folks join in anytime! :-)

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  9. Oh how I can identify with this post, especially the allergy portion. Thankfully, I don't have the hearing problems or the arthritis.

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    1. I find the ever-increasing allergy issues bewildering and frustrating, Tee. Just in recent months peanuts/peanut butter in anything more than a small amount has become a problem. That has never bothered me before. Somedays I'm almost not sure what to eat anymore. And the scents are a real problem, if someone comes into my office wearing heavy perfume, it can take an hour or two for the air to clear enough that I am no longer suffering. It certainly increases my desire to stay away from the public! It interests me that it seems to be a problem for many of us getting a bit older. I wasn't aware that allergies got worse with age.

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  10. The thing I notice the most about getting older is a general increase in levels of tiredness. I certainly don't have as much energy as I used to. My knees also crack a bit and my eyesight isn't as good as it used to be. I still feel young though, deep inside. I hope that feeling stays with me!

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    1. Amen to the tiredness Selma. I used to be able to work from morning to night, now it requires several breaks just to get things done, drives me crazy! I feel young inside too, that's the hard part. My body can't keep up with what I would like to do!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)