Here's the Thing About Getting Older

By , Shelli Mosteller
I don’t know why it feels like such an accomplishment to have stayed alive for half a century, but it does. It really, really does. Recently I hit that milestone 5-0 and with it came a lot of excitement and a lot of reflection. Honestly, it feels like a second adolescence, mercifully minus the angst and acne. Kids practically grown, years of wisdom under my belt, new stage of life—no wonder the people in the AARP commercials are always smiling.

First off, let me just say I don’t think 50 is old. I find age to be subjective. I know some 20-year-olds that act like they’re 85 and vice versa. Currently, I base any age-related issues on my dad. He’s 77 and just went back to grad school because, why not? It seemed like the right thing to do and there's always more to learn. He also walks a couple of miles a day and regularly does pushups. The lesson? Seventy-seven, not old. I watch him and follow his lead.

Much of how an individual handles aging seems to come down to attitude and priorities. As I neared the turning of another decade, I asked myself, “How do I want to age? Kicking and screaming? Gracefully? Call it quits and give up? Or do I try something else entirely?” I’ve seen people go kicking and screaming. It isn’t pretty. Grace has never been my strong suit, so I can’t see myself starting now. Quit and give up seems like a terrible option, which leaves me with something else entirely.

For now, my "something else" is working to embrace each stage as it comes, accept what I can and can’t do, and move on to trying new things. This positive, yet realistic attitude seems to work for my dad. It's been important to recognize that there really are some things I can’t do anymore. I have a wonky disc in my neck, so I have to be careful with exercise and my day-to-day activities. No running, heavy lifting or roller coasters for me anymore. But here's the thing: Who cares? I hate running and the last time my husband and I rode the tea cups at Disney World, we thought our heads were going to explode. So what if I can’t skydive and run marathons? Big deal. It's not the end of the world.

The key is embracing the other things that I can do, all those new things that I still have yet to try. For all we know, our next passion or new hobby could be hiding right in plain sight. Plus, experimenting with new activities or mastering a new skill is a wonderful way to feel young again. Lately, I've been taking online hula hoop classes. It's fun exercise and my head never feels like it's going to explode.

My priorities have shifted, as well. Fifteen to 20 years ago, my primary goal was to look good naked. I don’t know why this seemed so terribly important at the time, but it did. Thankfully, I don't put that kind of pressure on myself these days. My husband and I can’t see each other clearly unless we’re wearing our trifocals anyway, so it doesn’t matter as much. I know lots of women my age (and older) still look great in their original birthday suits. Some of them are competing as bodybuilders or running marathons. Good for them! Everyone’s priorities and goals are different, as they should be. Holding ourselves to other people's expectations is the quickest road to feelings of disappointment, frustration and failure.

For the moment, I’m more interested in challenging myself to grow creatively as an artist than worrying about what I see in the mirror. I work on building a life that is healthy for my mind, body and soul, which keeps me plenty busy. I’m guessing it can keep me occupied for the next 50 years, right?

How have your goals changed as you've gotten older?

About the Author

Shelli Mosteller (MOSTMOM1) has been a SparkPeople member since 2010 and currently resides in just outside of Cincinnati. On her journey to weight loss, she's experienced all the highs and lows, but always manages to find the silver lining. She loves interacting with the SparkPeople Community, which she finds is full of encouraging, motivating, positive people. Married with two young adult children plus Chubbs the Immortal Guinea Pig and Bubba the English Bulldog, Shelli also works full-time as a creative arts pastor for her church.

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PATRICIAAK 10/5/2019
;) Report
DLDMIL 9/5/2019
Thank you for sharing. At 60+ and retired, my priorties have also changed. Report
SUNSET09 9/2/2019
My age does not define me and although I'm not ashamed of it, as people will define it for you, I don't share it. I hang with the best of them. Hear, hear SUSANBEAMON. Report
STONE815 8/26/2019
Great blog! I think the key is to enjoy what we do - I love water aerobics and just turned 70 - and keep moving forward. Report
EVILCECIL 7/10/2019
Great blog. Report
KERRYG155 7/4/2019
I'm 68 but couldn't manage the belly dancing. Way to go?? Report
KOALA_BEAR 7/1/2019
When I was younger, much of my generation was all about Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll. Who knew that a) sex used to be an activity & not an identity crisis; b) with marijuana now legal in many states it's different Rx drugs to discuss with friends; & c) rocking might be in chairs or rolling on the ground cuz you can't get back up!🐨 Report
MAREE1953 4/19/2019
Now that there are so many baby boomers, "Longevity" is key. I recommend The Longevity Solution by Dr. Jason Fung and James Dinicolantonio. I have personally benefited amazingly from the fasting methods--18/6 time restricted eating and giving up stevia. Report
KHALIA2 4/17/2019
76, Thanks! Just glad to be in the land of the living! Report
MUSICNUT 4/15/2019
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
HEALIN1 4/1/2019
That was the best article I've read so far. So true & honest. Inspirational & funny. Thank you Report
JIMA681 3/11/2019
As I got older and stopped working I use the extra time gardening. Report
MOM-OF-SIX 2/18/2019
Great article!!! I'm 50 and decided to try some beginner Yoga classes on BeachBody on Demand. I started Jan 1st and have already increased my flexibility so much. I can't do everything on the videos, but I can adapt to my own 50 year-old body. I've never done Yoga before, but I love it! I love the challenge, and that I can adapt to my abilities. Never to old to try something new! Report
FRAN0426 2/6/2019
Since having knee surgery, running is not an option for me any longer, but honestly it's ok, never loved running that much ever. I started taking to going to the the outdoor pool in the park we live in for seniors in Texas, and having a much fun time exercising. Report
BONNIE1552 2/6/2019
Age is just a number unless we let it be much more. Report
ANHELIC 1/24/2019
Thanks for the information. Report
RAZZOOZLE 12/18/2018
thank you Report
SUSANBEAMON 12/17/2018
Here's the thing about getting older; you are still every age you have ever been. Report
PACEKA1 12/13/2018
THANK YOU! I so needed to hear these words today. I've been struggling lately with going to the gym. The classes I've been taking are just not as enjoyable as they were a few months ago and they feel so much more difficult right now. I much prefer staying at home and doing some YouTube videos in my living room. Probably not as good of a workout but it's something! Yes my brain won't let me alone. It's time to re-think my objectives. I'm clearly the oldest person in so many of those classes - I think I'll just have to be satisfied with that! Report
1CRAZYDOG 12/13/2018
Well said! Report
MSROZZIE 12/12/2018
Good read. I focus on my health and growing older gracefully. WooHoo! Report
Love the blog! We just need to keep moving, and having enjoyable things going on - whatever that is for us. Report
BESSHAILE 12/12/2018
Honey - my 50's were the coolest funnest most wonderful decade ever. Now, more than half way through my 60's I'm still finding ways to be hot hot hot - just - you know age appropriate hot hot hot. LOL. It's all in how you embrace things. Report
Loved this article. Age is not "the end of the world." I just turned 65 and am still active and plan to be for years. Report
age is just a number - until you can no longer do something that was routine earlier in your life Report
LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog. Badly needed a nudge to stop trying to be someone else and BE my 74-year-old self with enthusiasm, accepting my limits but always reaching just beyond them. So here's my nudge - thank you Shelli - you are a goddess. Report
Really enjoyed the blog. It is all so true. Life is full of changes, that what make it so great. Enjoy life. Report
It was around age 50 that I was at my highest weight, and then a great thing happened: I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. I was referred to a great dietician who changed my perspective. Armed with new knowledge...and some focus... I lost weight, and have kept the pre-diabetes in control. After I retired some years later, I met a new Life Partner who loves exercise. That too has been a "Great Thing"! Despite arthritis hitting a number of joints now, I've done some incredible (for me) Bucket List items this past decade: a 75 mile canoe trip; hiking in the Grand Canyon; exploring Mayan ruins; a 33 mile backpack trip; a 300+ mile bicycle trip.... The most recent Bucket List item celebrated my 67th birthday with a hike to the top of Mt Lassen (10450ft). Never stop, keep exercising (listen to your physical therapist!!), eat as healthy as you can, and love your Life! Report
It's not so bad getting older. Report
64, thanks Report
Words to live by! I'm 59, and have always considered myself to be in great shape. In the past 2 weeks, however, I've been diagnosed with pre-diabetes and had a cardiac catheterization :\ I will choose to focus, like your dad, on what I CAN do rather than what I can't! Report
Thanks Report
OMG! This is one of the most honest and selflessly true articles I've read in a long time. Thank you. Report
At 68 I am still having new experiences and learning lots each day. Just sighed up to do phone calls for a charity and joined a hiking group. As long as I can breath, I can live. Report
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
Well said! Thanks Shelli. Report
Thanks for your encouragement Shelli! Report
My goal is to get older. It beats the alternative. Report
Thanks Report
GREAT Report
Well at 65, I'm not the athlete I was at 20 or 30 but I can still run with the big dogs!! Report
Gotta love what's inside! Report
Thanks for sharing! I turned 67 yesterday and I just keep moving right along...doing all I can to stay moving with ease through the rest of my life. No matter what that number may be. Report
Out standing attitude, I needed to read that as lately I have been quietly going thru a self-pity party. This jarred my perspective back to a reasonabe center. I have been focusing on all the things I used to take for granted but no longer can due to, let's call it mileage. Prob'ly missing out on pleasure for the things I can. Report
Great article. Report
I believe @Sparkpeople is getting better photos to illustrate the stories - the clothed real people, instead of "model" types wearing evocative clothing that make the rest of us feel badly... (especially when this article is looking ahead to the future when we all gotta keep on doing what we can to improve.). Report
I feel so much better when I am active.I am 73 . Report
I just stumbled across this article and needed to comment. Thank you for your words, Shelli! This article spoke to me and is very similar to my mind frame. I just turned 51 but feel mentally 30. I've a metal frame in my throat (4 level fusion) and a metal left ankle- but I'm determined to make 2018 my road back to fitness! I retire in 30 months and I want to be ready to take on the World doing everything! Keep on moving, Sister! Best wishes for a healthy, happier, prosperous 2018! Report
Thanks for sharing! Yes first reaching the big 5-0 sounds scary! But I also decided to enjoy it. I had a big party! Yes I can't run marathon any more and for me it was a sacrifice. But I found other things to do. I hike when RA allows me to, I play golf. Sometimes that golf is only 9 holes. But hey I am out there! And I focus on developing my skills to establish myself as a Consultant in the next 5 years Report