June 08, 2010

Thoughts on Turning 50... Besides: Holy Crap, How the Hell Did That Happen?



So this is the post that's supposed to go something like: "Oh gosh, I'm hitting a major milestone birthday today and... I'm just thrilled to pieces! I'm not growing older, I'm growing BETTER! And now readers, hold onto your hats: I'll reveal some surprising secrets to enjoying a deliriously happy middle age!"

That's what most health and fitness writers would do, right? Everyone else in this game seems to age gracefully and cheerfully. It's supposed to come with the territory: not only should a health blogger be physically healthy, but she should have frequent life-changing epiphanies and accumulate valuable wisdom. Looking deep within to find profound spiritual meaning in everyday moments, she accepts with gratefulness the inevitable life transitions, opening her heart fully to greet the wonder of each new day.

Yeah, well, screw that.

Like it or not, I'm turning 50, and I find my skeptical, introverted, semi-neurotic personality still pretty much intact. Which I'm fine with--but it means I'm probably not the best person to give others advice on handling this transition. So instead I'll just share some personal observations about what sucks for me and what doesn't suck so much about turning 50.


Things I Hate About Turning 50 And/Or Becoming Middle Aged

1. It came way too fast

Such a cliche, right? But I swear I just turned 30 about 2 years ago. Which means in another 4 years: poof! I'll be 90.

So hey, smarty-pants scientists, could you folks get on this? Surely there must be some practical application for your string theories and strange attractors and black holes and quarks and whatnot. Let's spend a little less time developing apocalyptic video games and surprising new flavors of vitamin water, and a little more time figuring out how to slow time the fuck down, okay?

2. Wait, whose face is that in the mirror?

Has this ever happened to you? You're out having a fun evening with friends, laughing and feeling all social and happy and carefree. Then you go to use the restroom, and as you finish washing your hands, you innocently look up in the mirror just to make sure you haven't got visible vegetable matter stuck in your teeth or a tomato sauce rorschach blot displayed on the front your blouse. But what's this? The lighting is coming from some weird, wrong direction, casting creepy shadows that reveal the reflection of a hundred year old woman with your hairstyle and clothing.

Hello? Who is that woman? Oh wait, that's YOU! Not the fresh-faced 30-year old version of you that lives only in your head and your old photo albums. No, it's the real you complete with crows feet, frown lines, jowls, and those oh-so-special "marionette" lines. Sigh.

I'm afraid my customary facial anti-aging techniques are no match against the steady march of time. They consist of: (1) wishing I hadn't spent my youth in the sun; (2) cursing my genetic predisposition to premature wrinkles; (3) wearing extra sunscreen now to retroactively undo the damage despite knowing it doesn't work that way; (4) thinking someday I should actually purchase and learn how to apply make-up like most female humans but never actually getting around to it because department store cosmetic saleswomen scare me; and (4) avoiding mirrors except for ones with extremely flattering light.

Many signs of aging you can fight with exercise, but despite some weird infomercials I've seen, I don't think wrinkles are one of 'em.

Scientists? Um, if it's gonna take too long to figure out how to slow time down, could you at least give us a pill that eliminates wrinkles? Even at 50 I'm way too immature to simply not give a crap that I look 10 years older than I am.

3. The whole ticking clock issue
Those of you who do the religion thing and believe there's a happy heavenly eternal afterlife where you get to be reunited with anyone you've ever loved? You probably don't have a huge problem with the whole limited-time-on-earth concept. The same for those of you who expect to be reincarnated. And those of you who don't think there's an afterlife but find the awareness of your impending mortality to be a life-affirming inspiration to enjoy every moment? Good for you!

Me? Knowing that 50 is more than halfway to Dead just creeps me the hell out.


4. Oh Yeah, and My Memory is Crap

As I may have mentioned before about a thousand times.


Things About Turning 50/ Middle Age I Have Mixed Feelings About:

1. Gray Hair

The strands of silver (or ok, white) that are appearing with increasing frequency serve to remind me that I'm not young anymore. That part I don't like at all.

But I've always had dark brown hair, and it would have looked fake and ridiculous had I tried to highlight it with anything other than slightly-less-dark brown hair. So for me, having little flecks and streaks of another color in my hair is kinda fun! Even if it's the color most often associated with using walkers and wearing Depends.

2. The "Change of Life"
I'm having my first hot flashes, and strangely enough, I'm kinda happy about that. I know, check back with me in a few months when I'm complaining mightily, but for right now, I'm kinda ready to get this whole "menopause" show on the road. I'm reaching the part of peri-menopause where some women (lucky us) are blessed with epic menstrual cycles of the "I can't stray more than 5 minutes away from a restroom or it will look like a Sam Peckinpah film in here" variety. I equate the start of hot flashes with, I hope, the beginning of the end of Periods from Hell.

3. Wear-and-Tear Injuries

Yeah, my knees, my feet, my back, yada yada yada. I hate when I can't do my most favorite sort of workout. It seems to happen a little more often now that I'm older, though I've had knee issues off and on since I was 17.

But here's the thing: I always find something I can do when injured, and after I've recovered, I'm really glad to have learned some new tricks. I'm too stubborn and lazy to change up my routines unless I absolutely have to. I figure occasional messed up knees and feet and back muscles are nature's way of saying "Take your head out of your ass and do something DIFFERENT, Crabby!"

Things That Actually Kinda Rock About Turning 50:

1. I feel great.

Seriously, I have more energy, more muscle strength, less anxiety, a stronger immune system, and less trouble maintaining a healthy weight than I ever had before. I sleep great, never get sick, have a ton of fun, a great marriage, awesome friends, and I'm pretty darn content with my life. (Now watch, I'll head into menopause and it will all go straight down the toilet--but for now at least, all is good). As a young adult looking ahead, it never would have occurred to me that being 50 could feel this good. So, dear young people: you know all that cheerleady crap you hear about how you should eat right and get exercise and plenty of sleep and not smoke or abuse drugs and how you should nurture your close relationships and be financially responsible, etc., etc. etc? It's annoying as hell to listen too--but weirdly enough, it's true. You'll thank yourself later.

2. "Wisdom" may be putting it too strongly, but...

There are lots of things you get smarter about as you get older. In fact, there's a book I've been meaning to read, "The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind," but, um, I keep forgetting to see if the library has it in yet.

Apparently memory isn't one of those surprising middle-aged talents.

But anyway, it does seem like what we lose in processing speed and recall, we gain in general smarts. At least, when I think back to some of the dumb-ass things I did as a young adult, I hope I'm getting smarter.

3. The Road Ahead Looks Less Crappy Than I Would Have Thought

So the major drawback to hitting my fifties seems to be the idea that I'm in my 50's--and the assumption that life will soon start to accelerate in a downhill direction. And yet, I hang out with folks in their 50's, 60's, and 70's who are still kicking ass and having a blast. (True, those I know in their 80's and 90's are slowing down a bit, but many are still hanging in there with pretty reasonable quality of life). And every day I seem to read about some promising new study or medical intervention or anti-aging strategy. So perhaps it's not inevitable that my body is going to disintegrate in to a rickety, malfunctioning, toxic pile of bitter complaints anytime in the near future. (And if I'm wrong, please stay tuned for my new blog, "Really, Really, REALLY Cranky Fitness.")

Anyone else facing a Big Birthday or life transition? Any helpful advice?


84 comments:

  1. LOL! Love your post!

    And happy birthday!

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  2. Happy birthday to you, my second favorite crabby person (my mom comes first)! Big transitions? I'm finishing grad school and will be forced to actually deal with life in seven short months. (eep!)

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  3. I had no idea. Honestly, unless your pictures have been photoshopped to heck, I had thought you were in your late 30s or early 40s. I guess all that working out & (occasional) eating well paid off =)

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  4. Happy 50th Birthday, Crabby! I got quite a kick out of this post. I, too, am healthier and in better shape than I was, say, 20 years ago.
    I'd like menopause to be over as my periods have gotten random. Surprises have their place, but periods aren't it.
    Raise an extra glass or two of wine, Crabby. It's good and good for you.

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  5. Happy birthday. I really enjoyed your post... it was like it was your birthday but I got the present:)

    I am 47 and determined to be fab at 50, just like Oprah. And isn't 50 the new 30?

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  6. Happy 50th birthday to you, Crabby! And many more!

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  7. Happy Birthday, Crabby!

    I used to think that 50 was a scary number.. so OLD. But I'm five years beyond that now, and thinking that I'm still 30 something (until that pesky mirror comes into play). Keep on as you are.. you're doing something right.

    Good to "see" you. :)

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  8. Happy Birthday. As I'm going to be 51 in a couple of weeks, I can totally relate...

    I've decided Second Life (not the online community) will commence for me at 52. Since my Second Life will be a heck of a lot shorter than my first life, I'm going to be living it with more abandon, more intensity, and cherish more of the little moments than I did First Life.

    because I don't believe in another life beyond this one, this one has to count for everything.

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  9. aww..POOP... that's ME up there... Was logged in on my other account...

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  10. Oh Crabby! You are awesome! Love this post. :)

    I turned 40 at the end of April. It's weird. It seems like I should feel grown up now. I thought the same thing when I turned 30. But I'm still just me.

    My parents are in their 60's and they are still going strong. Knowing that makes me feel better about this aging thing. I agree that time goes to fast, but as long as we are still feeling good I guess we just have to make the most of it.

    Happy birthday Crabby!

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  11. Crabby, the thing that slays me the most about this post is that my mother said very similar things to me upon turning 80 last month. Well, without the strength parts, alas. And okay, the crabby bits were more of what she focused on. But I figure she's got 30+ years on us and she's entitled, right?

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Do something decadent for yourself. At least twice.

    (I love my verification word, btw: sphooff. I shall have to come up with a definition for it now.)

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  12. Happy Birthday!! Love your thoughts, esp. about the gray hair. I'm actually excited to get gray hair some day. My dad grayed in his 20's and LOVED it. Something about having such a youthful face with silver hair cracked him up. That's my dad though - he has an uncanny talent for finding the good in anything. Anyhow... transitions. Baby count? Jelly bean is 7 mos. old!!

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  13. Thank you all so much, you crack me up! Seeing you guys here is a GREAT birthday present, especially as I have been so bad about internet socializing lately. I peek into your blogs and smile but then scurry off with out leaving comments, lazy slacker that I am.

    Oh and Khanh? I think I love you. :)

    The Lobster got me an awesome surprise present: a fancy pants Vitamix! So I just hopped off the elliptical, am about to make a green smoothie, and then I'm off for a walk along the breakwater since it's such a gorgeous day. How weird is it that that's my idea of a perfect birthday morning? (But later on, it's champagne and cupcakes, believe me!)

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  14. Happy Birthday!

    It's so good to see a post from you. For what it's worth, you really do look amazing for 50 - hell - for any age.

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  15. Happy Birthday!
    Having already passed this milestone, I can tell you that the best part about menopause is ..... ummm ...... oh, yeah (sorry, lost my train of thought for a minute!) ... no more visits from Aunt Flo! (At least, I think that's what I was going to say....)
    Anyway, hope you have a great birthday, and many, many more!
    (and it was a pleasant surprise to see you posting today!)

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  16. Happy Birthday! I turn 50 in November and can totally relate to a lot of what you wrote.....

    May your "transition period" not be hell.....I found out recently through a blood test that I've made it through menopause with little discomfort (a few night sweats).....hope yours goes as smoothly!

    For what it's worth, my kids call me Crabby Laura!

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  17. 50? You are so a baby still! And you look gorgeous, all glowy skin and pretty smile, lady, you have nothing to worry about!
    Happy belated birthday by the way! I do know what you mean though, I just had my 61st birthday and I thought "hells teeth!" How can I be 61 when I ain't gotten over being 60 yet!!! Life can be realy mean sometimes! All the best honey!

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  18. Happy Birthday! Just took Mom on a cruise for her 60th. We celebrated up and down the ship. How cool to be alive and kicking. It makes my next 20-30 years seem hopeful. I am looking forward to them!

    Cheers,
    Missa
    LosingEthel

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  19. FELICIDADES! Welcome to the club. (I turned fifty 4 months ago).

    I hate the memory thing. I used to have such a shiny, gorgeous, brilliant brain. Now, I think it's tapioca. Not sure, maybe rice pudding.

    I went through the Epic tampon-plus-pad-change-every-hour-blood-tsunami phase and it sucks. But it passed pretty fast, thank God. Not having periods is very nice. Having vagina dryness issues, not so much. Invest in Sliquid. :D

    What I fear is incapacity and pain more than death. I don't want to see poeple I love die, and I don't want to be incapable fo wiping my own butt (like my dad and mom, who both ended up bedbound in diapers for their last years).

    I wish I had my shiny brain back, and I wish I hadn't let myseslf gain so much weight (the saggy skin, ick), but I have no wrinkles YET. I can't use sunscreen (allergies), so I avoid harsh sun. It paid off. I stopped sunbathing at age 22 when I met white-and-pink-gringo hubby. To save HIM from skin cancer meant I ended up saving myself wrinklies. :D

    Enjoy the decade!

    The Princess

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  20. All I can say is that you're making me feel better about turning 47. I'm not alone.

    And I wait with eager anticipation the start of your new blog, Creaky Fitness.

    p.s. Happy Birthday!

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  21. I just happened to see your update on someone else's blogroll - so glad I did!

    I beat you to 50 by a few months. If you want to see what I did, go here.

    My Mr. did that because he had listened to me whine for months about turning 50. Once I got here, it's not so bad.

    Sure, I wish someone would put a cut in the top of my head and pull everything right back up where it belongs! But really, the good outweighs the rest.

    Happy Birthday. Enjoy every minute of it!

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  22. Happy Birthday, Crabby! Glad you're back, even if it's only for one post.

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  23. Loved your post! Happy Birthday! My mother who is 50 is in the best shape of her life! So congrats on everything to you too! I just sent her
    The Benefits of Exercise
    . I hope you enjoy it too!

    ~Sophia

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  24. Happy 50th Crabby! I'll be joining you in the half century decade in a few way-too-short years. Glad to hear you're doing so well!

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  25. Great observations, and spot on. Also, it's nice to hear from you.

    No, I don't expect you to do the whole "everything's wonderful" bit about aging -- after all, you are Crabby. You were honestly cranky about the bad stuff, and straightforward about the good stuff.

    May you have many happy returns of the day.

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  26. Happy Vitamix!

    Some of us don't have much memory to lose. I can clearly remember (oddly the distant past is no problem) standing in the living room doorway, and by my height against the door I can't have been more than three, trying to remember what I'd come in there for. In the four feet from the kitchen I'd had time to forget.

    Live long and prosper.
    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  27. Happy Birthday Crabby!

    The Lobster rocks! What an awesome gift.

    I am turning 44 this year and still don't have any gray hair (I don't colour it). Some day they will come and I will let them.

    Hmmm...transitions...I will be off work for nine weeks starting July 22 at 3:31 so I may have to ease into my vacation time...but I think I will be fine. LOL!

    Enjoy the champagne and cupcakes!

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  28. So you're celebrating hobbit-style this year: you have the birthday, and we get the gift of a post, eh? (And a shiny new one, not a "mathom"! Cool!!!)

    Hope you have a wonderful birthday, and many, many more! Thanks for sharing your 50th birthday wisdom!!!

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  29. Ok, I have to be honest....I LOVE THIS POST!!! Love, love, love. This is absolutely great. Love your writing, love your style...love your perspective on life. I thank Ms Shelly Kramer for introducing me to you.

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  30. Happy bday & so glad to hear from you!!! Being 52 heading to 53, I am not too happy about it for many of the reasons you wrote about. And yes, that impending death thing wears on me! I guess too many older relatives dying off & it just seems so much closer!!

    As for perimenopause, I hope yours is better than mine cause I have been going thru it for so many years that I am losing count! And I get all the symptoms out there at the same or different times & then they go away but come back. As for the monthly crap, it has gone & come back at least 4 times now. The whole sh*t will just not go away.. this has been going on for at least 2 years now so I never throw away the necessities! I know, TMI but for god's sake, we go thru 40 + years of the monthly & the change is almost worse. And I have hairs growing everyhwere.

    OK, I am now runing your bday.. I am going to shut up on the change of life!!!

    I love that you celebrate the great stuff & acknowledge the other crap! You have a super one!

    We miss you!!!!!!

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  31. Hope you're having an extraordinary 50th birthday and it's definitely good to hear that the road ahead looks less crappy. ;)

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  32. Ok, I think I just popped a rib! After dying laughing, I realized I related to every single thing you said, including the too much sun part. Your post was incredibly inspiring to me, ageing issues and all--I want to kick ass all the way to the end too!Happy Birthday my friend!!

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  33. freaking brilliant post. 50 sounds like a mixed bag but overall rockin'. So HAPPY BIRTHDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!! So good to see you writin'!

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  34. I dunno why i dropped all my g's in that comment, sorry!

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  35. Love this post. I am turning 50 in August. Celebrating by going to Greece in two weeks with my whole family and my sis, who is 14 months younger than I am. It's important that we try to keep a sense of humor, and you have totally done that for me today. Thanks.

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  36. Haaaapy birthday, happy birthday, happy happy birthday to you! And thanks for giving us the gift of a post! : )

    I'm not sure I'm with you on the gray hair, but then I've had some since I was in my late 20's. Thank you hair color! My goal is to be as strong at 40 as I was at 20. 4 days a week of hockey made me pretty tough, but I've got 4 more years to get it back. And now that the baby-making is over, my progress won't be interrupted. Or at least if it is, it won't be for as long!

    Have a great birthday. Take the Lobster out and whoop it up for a bit! You've earned it.

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  37. We are all born toxic piles and ultimately if we are lucky to live long enough, turn into rickety, malfunctioning, bitter complainers as we age.

    Since I have been in my 50s for all of 3 years and a couple of months, I have a suggestion. You know those X mirrors -- the kind you can buy where you can see 5x, 7x or 10x? My advice first of all, is don't buy one but if you get one, what you can do as a quickie vacation is put the mirror down on the table, look into it as you're hanging over it and it's sort of like taking a mini vacation to the Grand Canyon. This way you don't have to leave home yet it still feels as if you've been away for ages. The only hiking you'll have to do is to the nearest garbage can to toss the mirror when you are finished.

    I *do* use my 5x mirror because I hang out with Hannah who can see all the canyons in my face, all the hairs on my chin, the flaking pieces of skin hanging off my nose. I try to get to them before sees them and freaks out and remembers me like I remember my great Aunt Cecil, fondly but furry.

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  38. Detailed, funny, absolutely well-written and highly entertaining. If getting this good is one of the rewards of ageing, then I really wouldn't mind having the years pile on. Happy birthday!

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  39. Crabby!! Happy Birthday, and it's great to get a post from you.

    I related so much to your fabulous writing about aging (who's that in the mirror, I was ten years younger just a few months ago). Oh, well, as long as we stay on the right side of the grass.

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  40. Oh yeah. Absolutely agree with every word!

    Reaching 50 is indeed quite a mixed bag... and I speak as a pretty mixed-up 50 year old bag!

    As far as the grey hair and wrinkles go, I reckon I earned the beggars so I'm damn well going to show 'em to the world and be proud of them. In any case they may get me a seat on a bus some day ;-)

    Happy birthday anyhow - have a wonderful day.

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  41. Hippo Birdy Crabby! I hit 59 last week.

    Don't worry. Some things just keep getting better and better.

    I just wish I'd written down what they were because - Oh! A puppy!!

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  42. Happy B-Day! Love the post. As always you have a whole other way of looking at things that cracks me up.

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  43. When I turned 50 I went out to buy myself a nice watch at one of those "fancy stores" - I started bawling at the counter when the salesperson was showing me the watch. She handed me a kleenex and asked what was wrong and I said "I'm turning 50 - wah". I wouldn't let my family throw me a party and I wanted to just quietly let the event pass by. After I turned 50 everything was OK - it was just the months leading up to the big birthday. Have a happy birthday!

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  44. HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!

    LOVED the post, I laughed so long and so hard I farted and peed myself at the same time!

    Just kidding, but I swear that's the other side of menopause I'm not too happy about facing. That and chin hairs I absolutely swear grow half an inch overnight! Where the hell is this testosterone helping my muscles any???! Nowhere that I can see, dammit, it might be an acceptable trade off if so.

    I think 300 years ago the average Josephine was dead at 50, so we're doing pretty well as a generation. I don't know if 50 is the new 30, I thought 30 would be long enough to live when I was 15, WTF how naive was I? I'm 53 and in my head I still feel about 26 but damned wiser, and I do NOT recognize that face in the mirror either, nor my friends' real photos on FaceBook etc., how did they all get so oooold???

    You are rockin' 50; with that fit cute bod and impish grin you will always have a youthful vibe.

    Keep up the great work, and as previously noted, thanks for giving all your reader's such a great gift for YOUR birthday! Love to you and the Lobster.

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  45. Happy Birthday! 50 is the new 30!

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  46. Just saw this - belated Happy Birthday! I'm only 3 years behind you (well two years and 359 days, actually) and I have to say that if this is what 47 feels like, then bring on 50!

    P.S. I like the "retroactively applying sunscreen" thing...please tell me it's working! :)

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  47. Yesterday (June 25th) was my 50th birthday.

    It sucked.

    Oh like my 49th birthday wasn't bad enough when Michael Jackson died LAST year.

    So to top that, THIS year my fiance had to be out of town for a work trip for ***SEVEN*** weeks -- killing Memorial Day weekend, my 50th bday weekend, and the July 4th weekend in one fell swoop.

    In the 10 years we've dated the longest we've ever been apart is 3 weeks - it's already been 4.

    Gotta say - I'm in a dark hole now, and just feel like my life has been a complete and total FAIL. No great, passion-filled job that I love. No great fit body, no children, never even married.

    I guess I'm 'spozed to now write, "But you guys have inspired me to know that I can start living NOW! WHOO HOOO!" -- but no...

    Day 1 of being 50, and I still feel this horrible, terrifying knot in the pit of my stomach that I'm a waste of space on this planet.

    Everything I can think of feels completely futile. Oh wait - let me inject some humor quick....

    ....
    .

    ... uh sorry, can't think of anything funny.

    I will say that I'm grateful for the internet. I shudder to think of how our predecessors survived this stuck in their homes alone. I did feel better after reading your post, and thank you GAWD that you didn't go all positive-thinking, mantra like on us.

    Ok. Well... I've got 3 more weeks without the fiance, so I'm trying to enjoy the quiet house.

    Back to my 2nd bag of Tyson chicken nuggest, Arizona sweet tea, and that bag of Cape Code Dark Russet chips.

    Oink if you love being 50!

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  48. Thanks again, everyone, for all the birthday wishes! It was such an incredible birthday present reading your comments.

    Hey Angie, so sorry to hear about your sucky 50th. Must be really hard to stay positive with your fiance gone and things looking so disappointing at the moment. But I can tell from your articulate and moving comment that you are anything but "a waste of space on the planet," and I guess I'm a little worried that depression might be making things seem even worse than they actually are.

    I've known many awesome people who've battled with that dark place and blamed themselves, so I can't help but hope that there's a friend or doctor or online group you can reach out to to get a little more support. Depression is treatable, and if you hang in there and put one foot in front of the other, things will eventually get better, even though it all looks like crap at the moment. And don't be afraid to call 1-800-suicide if you're really down; no one there judges anyone for asking for help. You can also anonymously email the samaritans at http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/samaritans.htm

    Don't mean to go all Suzy Sunshine on you, but one thing I'm discovering is how "young" 50 is in terms of time left to make great changes in life. So many people I know who are in their 50's, 60's and 70's have gotten to a much better place than they were when they were younger, and often this transformation came late in life.

    So I guess it's a little late for "happy birthday," but I hope you get through this difficult time quickly and start feeling much better.

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  49. Hello. Its my first time reading your blog, Belated happy birthday to you! be thankful you have come on that age.. many more birthdays and many more post!

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  50. Happy birthday Crabby! I work with people in their 60s 70s and 90s, and they are the most interesting and entertaining people I know. If it wasn't for seeing them living life to the fullest, I'd freak out about getting older!

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  51. Hi - I found you via reading other blogs, and I am so glad I did!

    Thank you for a really funny post - you write so well. I have a few years on you but I too can say there are SO many good things that come with ageing. We tend to list the bad ones and those are the ones we keep hearing about, but for me the sense of freedom I now have is just wonderful.

    I feel so liberated. Perhaps it's because I have heaps more confidence now and I at least feel comfortable in my own skin. I'd like to say I don't care about my appearance, but I do - and I think that's a GOOD thing. I am sure it wasn't so long ago that hitting 50 meant a woman was supposed to take to a rocking chair and wear a shawl. I also think and believe I have a whole lot more living to do. Inside I am still a youthful woman and I still feel, despite all the things aging brings (smash mirrors I say)that I have a lot left in me. I want to go out kicking and screaming if I possibly can, that's why I have to lose weight. Other than that and despite having a pretty grim few years (due to ill health)things are OK..more than OK. I am sure I had far more insecurities in my 20s, 30s and 40s than I have now.

    Happy birthday (belatedly.) I raise my glass (of water, naturally) to you and wish you many, many more great years ahead. Thank you for making me laugh this morning.

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  52. Sorry I missed this post when you wrote it. Happy belated birthday. I can sooo relate. When I turned 40 I thought, "What's the big deal." I looked pretty good then, poof, 43 came and everything started falling apart. All those years of sunscreen wearing to avoid wrinkles didn't prevent my jawline from appearing to melt into my neck.

    I turned 45 in March and I'm clinging to my 40's for dear life.

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  53. Funny...but true! I will be turning 50 this August, wish me happy bday then. Happy Birthday to you. Found your blog while goggling "my first time in a fitness gym" yes that is right I will be doing that soon. I am on layoff from July 17th til Sept 7th. So I have decided to face my fears and enter into the gym. Wish me luck!

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  54. Good luck Doreen!!

    And thanks everyone, for the great comments and good wishes!

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  55. Hi there - great to read your post and some of the comments that followed! I'm counting down to 50 with a blog that aims to celebrate and commiserate with everyone in the same boat.
    Anyone approaching 50 or over that particular hill is welcome to stop by - and I could do with some comments from you, Ms Crabby, to liven things up a bit! Hope to see you there.

    All the best, Jo

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  56. Acceptance!! Accepting the changes that happened to you helps lighten all your worries.

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  57. Interesting, i'm about to hit the range.
    I'm a martial artist so the wear and tear injuries especially the knees give me a little creeps.

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  58. Happy Birthday, I just shared your post to my FB page. Thank you for the laugh and your honesty

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  59. Great post you have!
    Seriously, i was thoroughly entertained by the way you narrate on being 50, the ups and downs. It's very informative considering the fact that soon enough i'll be facing this situation and i think being 50 rocks just eliminate the thoughts of having physical issues!

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  60. Still a young un. I look forward to the struggles...not :)

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  61. OK, I know it was June, but I just found this post and am I'm still laughing, my kids think I'm totally weird! I turn 50 in 20 (no, 19) days - kicking and screaming (CRAPIT!) Anyhow, I was googling things and people turning 50 in 2010, and found your post. Thanks for your humor, honesty and hysterical writing! I'm plagiarizing, most definitely.

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  62. A Belated Happy Birthday Crabby McSlacker!!!. I loved your post. But what I loved even more was your response to Angie. I am turning 51 in a couple of days and my life also never turned out the way I wanted to. Never married, no kids, no job and surrounded by nightmare relatives. But your response to Angie was so kind and thoughtful. I especially loved, "So many people I know who are in their 50's, 60's and 70's have gotten to a much better place than they were when they were younger, and often this transformation came late in life." Your response had so much hope. I printed it out and I will carry it with me. Thank you!!

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  63. Hey thanks Anonymous!

    Really appreciate your kind comment & hope your upcoming 51st is a great one! Know what you mean about life not turning out as planned. But despite being something of a grump (with not much in terms of conventional achievements to show for my 50 years), I really do believe in second acts. You sound like a really nice person with lots to contribute to the world & I bet you already have, more than you realize. I wish you much happiness in the coming years.

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  64. Old age creeps up on a person like a thief in the night. Toward the end, just before it grabs you, there are certain tiny signs: hard breathing over little exercise, slight trembling of the hands, certain little twitches, flabby muscles, slight aches and pains, increased trips to the doctor, wrinkles, gray hair, slight impairment of short-term memory, generalized weakness, less latitude in eating and sleeping habits, decreased interest in sex, less adventuresome, and on and on. May I repeat, these symptoms and others like them gradually creep on us without our noticing that we are growing old.

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  65. Age 50 sounds scary but don't think of it. As long as you live healthy, you will always feel like 30. Age is just a number. LOL

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  66. Hi Cranky, hope you had a good 51st birthday. Have you looked into tofu for the hot flashes? My OBGYN told me it would be great for stopping them.
    Breakfast every morning: 1 tsp Earth Balance margarine, 4-6oz firm tofu, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper, 2 shakes of garlic powder and 1 shake of onion powder ... mash all together with a fork in a frying pan until hot. Eat on toast. Even my 11 year old loves it.

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  67. This was hilarious and don't hate me for what I'm about to say...but nearing my 30th (yes, sorry, 30th) birthday and I still feel like I'm 20....lol...and from the sound of it 50 is just around the corner. Mental note: enjoy the next few years (decades) cause they're gonna fly by. :) Enjoyed your post, thanks for sharing your experience.

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  68. So, I turn 50 in a couple of weeks (October 12, 2011) and I Googled "On Turning 50", and came up with your blog post.

    First, happy birthday a little over a year late!

    Second, thank you for just letting me know that other "turning 50s" have exactly the same feelings. I'm just having my first major depressive episode, my periods are still regular and occasionally very heavy, and I don't have "hot flashes"...I am hot every minute of every day.

    Enjoyed your post!

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  69. Sha Kha Khan says,50 SUCKS, I whine and ocmplain constantly. I can't remember what I just said, I can't remember what I just said. Right now I'm going though some hormonal nightmare, any my husband's hom every day all day (laid off work) and while I love him dearler with all my heart...I WISH HE'D GO AWAY FOR A WHILE! I keep hearing there's life after 50. When does that start please? I'm 50 + 2 months and still waiting. LOL. Oh well, at least I did no do what my husband's Aunt Wanda did. She hid in the house naked with a machete and then chased him through the house and out the front door NAKED AS A JAYBIRD, tying to kill him. Why? She just turned 50. Eventually he wrestled her to to ground and the mental health wagone came and got her and gave her several does of injections of estrogen. I guess she was O.K. afer that! God, please don't let that happen to me.

    Signed Mrs. Crabby Butt Night and Day!

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  70. Hi Crabby:
    Rick Hansen mentioned you in his latest newsletter, which brought me here. As someone who just turned 77, this topic interests me, and I thought I'd link you to a chapter by the ace nondual coach Candice O'Denver (with whom I'm seriously in love, I tell my wife):
    Candice “Complete Confirmation of Natural Perfection” Ch 6 Pt 1 – Transcribed from a series of talks available on line here as: audio, video, or pdf
    http://www.greatfreedom.org/audio_natural_perfection.html
    or
    http://greatfreedom.org/Downloads/CCNP%20PDF%20TRANSCRIPTIONS/CCNP%20Chapter%20Six%20Part%20One%207.22.09.pdf
    I also have a transcript of these pages, if anyone wants to email me. As a grabber, the section starts, "All of the negative experiences we’ve had, I can guarantee you they will get much worse. Yup, they’re going to get much worse for every person in this room. It’s not going to go the other way. If we haven’t become convinced of our own mortality by the time we’re sixty, it’s going to come calling and we won’t be able to avoid it any more. Once the body starts to fall apart, the mind starts to fall apart as well, and then all the strategies that have been put into place for controlling the mind, they don’t work. And even if you’re able to get them to work somehow, when you’re on your death bed, they don’t work. The mind gets fuzzy and confused, all those positive affirmations you’ve been doing, you’re not going to be able to do them any more, and even if you can do them, they’ll seem extremely hollow. Saying, “I am rich and famous.” [general laughter] . . .
    Ramon: Cha-cha-cha!

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  71. Hi Crabby:
    Rick Hansen's newsletter brought me here, and as someone who just turned 77 I thought I'd share a chapter by Candice O'Denver that helped me out:
    C“Complete Confirmation of Natural Perfection” Ch 6 Pt 1 – on the importance of resting in clarity:
    Transcribed from a series of talks available free on line as: audio, video, or pdf:
    http://www.greatfreedom.org/audio_natural_perfection.html
    Page 5:
    All of the negative experiences we’ve had, I can guarantee you they will get much worse. Yup, they’re going to get much worse for every person in this room. It’s not going to go the other way. If we haven’t become convinced of our own mortality by the time we’re sixty, it’s going to come calling and we won’t be able to avoid it any more. Once the body starts to fall apart, the mind starts to fall apart as well, and then all the strategies that have been put into place for controlling the mind, they don’t work. And even if you’re able to get them to work somehow, when you’re on your death bed, they don’t work. The mind gets fuzzy and confused, all those positive affirmations you’ve been doing, you’re not going to be able to do them any more, and even if you can do them, they’ll seem extremely hollow. Saying, “I am rich and famous.” [general laughter]

    More good stuff follows!

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  72. I turned 50 yesterday. Not a single phone call. Not from any of my children. I guess my wife forgot. Everyone, and I really do mean everyone, at work gets a cake on their birthday. Not me!
    I thought I was loved, I guess I was wrong. This seriously sucks. What's the point? If I'm going to be alone, I may as well be alone.
    Didn't intend to whine. I's just hard to believe I give and give and give only to find out it's a one way street.
    I'm not going to say anything to anyone. Why bother.
    Thanks for allowing me to vent.

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  73. Hi Anonymous,

    I am so sorry to hear about the lousy treatment you got on your fiftieth! That must be really, really hard to deal with if you're someone who does a lot of giving to others.

    However, I've been clueless myself about forgetting important occasions, even when it involves people I love! So please don't conclude that it says anything about how much they love you.

    I hope you have someone, perhaps a friend either online or in person you can have a belated celebration with, even if you have to mention it's your birthday? Because the 50's can be an awesome time of life, welcome!

    And HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (I think it's standard you get to celebrate it for at least a week.)

    Hope things start looking up soon; it might have to start with you reaching out.

    And, in an excess of caution, I just want to make sure you know to call a local or national suicide hotline if you're feeling at all at risk. They have kind folks who will really listen. I believe that dialing 1-800-Suicide might be an option and there are more here: http://suicidehotlines.com/

    Best of luck on having a fantastic decade despite the lousy start!

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  74. Thanks. It meant a lot to me. More than it should have lol!
    I guess I just needed a "pick me up" and you gave it.
    I couldn't even consider hurting myself, two of my sons are freshmen in college.
    I did get a call today from one of them and I thought "My son is calling me to with me a happy birthday! Turns out, he needed money.
    Some times you just have to laugh to keep from crying.
    Later.

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  75. Hey Anon,

    Oh sheesh, glad you found the humor in the timing of the call for money!

    And the fact that you were kind enough to check back here and let me know you weren't in any danger, and to reply to my comment, leads me to believe that you're the sort of thoughtful person who should be in turn treated with lots of love and kindness! Hope you find more folks who properly appreciate that.

    (Oh, and if you stop by again and give yourself a blog name at the bottom of the comment (either inside the comment or in the identity section; you don't need an URL) so I recognize you again, that would be awesome.)

    Hang in there, have a great birthday week, and thanks again for stopping back here!

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  76. I might not be 50 but I can appreciate the humour behind this post. Great job. I work with mature adults to set up temporary travel/work/internship positions abroad and have recently featured this post HERE

    Cheers,
    Melissa

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  77. Thanks Mel, and love the idea of gap years!

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  78. Thanks for this. I'm turning 50 this year and although I'm fine with it and I think I still look and feel ok - low weight, in shape, don't dye hair yet, etc., it seems the rest of my world wants to remind me of this milestone year every single day. Age 50 reminders seem to be everywhere!

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  79. Don't buy into this happy to be 50 crap. I'm going to be 50 very soon, and quite honestly, if I didn't have a husband & children who would be devastated I'd rather check out of life & be done with it. While I desperately sympathise with people who die young, life after 50 holds no attraction for me whatsoever.It's a daunting thought to think this could drag on for another 25 years.

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  80. I remember my 50th birthday, 13 years ago, and it was a very depressing day. Here's the true facts of the 50's. I had more energy,ambition,hobbies, and accomplished everything that I wanted all my life, in my 50's. Although I wish I was still back in my 30's,nothing compares to what I've gotten done in my 50's. So have a happy 50th, and watch the 10 year long adventure to begin.

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  81. Thanks J, and I agree, I find the 50's to be an awesome decade so far!

    And Anonymous, sorry I missed your comment earlier and doubt you'll see this, but I'm so sorry you're feeling so down about the notion of turning 50. Hope you can find a way to get some help and support! You may be suffering from depression and there is HELP and HOPE out there. You deserve to have a happy life and these next few precious decades do not have to be miserable! I don't know your specific circumstance so don't want to downplay the obstacles you may be facing, but I suspect you will feel differently if you can get some help.

    I'd urge you to talk to your family or friends or a doctor, or phone a crisis line for some referrals, or find a support group, even one online... please don't try to face this alone.

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  82. Turning Fifty ain't so bad....there are the down sides you've mentioned, and I agree the end of the menstrual cycle can be celebrated, but also more acceptance of just who I am, and more desire to do my own thing, more freedom to do my own thing now that the kids have flown off to University at least 8 months of the year. You might like to check out my new book, The Tao of Turning Fifty, which explores some of the turbulence, the going down and in to better come up and out, the feeling like you're going crazy....and offers some journaling questions and workbook to help women find their own answers....to what is coming up next!

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  83. I really want to follow your blog. How do I sign up ? I am turning 50 in July and I need a pick me up like your blog. I want to be one of those people who say 50 is the new 30 but I feel 50 and I want to see things on the bright side. Maybe reading other posts from people who are growing old with me will give me a boost.

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    1. Hey thanks anonymous! Glad to have you aboard. You can either just visit the home page to see what's new, or subscribe using a feed reader or check out the "Get Cranky" box in the right hand sidebar.

      Thanks for stopping by and hope you enjoy your 50's!!! It can be a pretty awesome time of life.

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