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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ZIGGYGAL 11/22/2020
Turning 62 the end of Nov. and from here on out, I intend to be my best self. Thanks for the article. Report
GRAMDEB16 11/22/2020
Just within the last year (I’m 64) looks have stopped being so important to me. Now I focus on being healthy. Report
CECELW 11/22/2020
I just turned 61 myself. I'm so surprised how life has changed. Some for the good, some for the really unpleasant. That's life! Report
RO2BENT 11/22/2020
Continuous improvement Report
RREDFORD5 11/22/2020
I love this-thank you! I had my 61st a couple of months ago, have been reflecting and noting new priorities, as well. This is helpful to me. Report
ROSSYFLOSSY 11/22/2020
Great article. Report
AZMOMXTWO 11/22/2020
I love this one I miss your blogs and the hooping hope to see you back soon Report
RACHAEL2020 11/22/2020
With time comes wisdom. Report
OLDSKOOL556 11/22/2020
Thanks! For sharing your article 👍 Report
NEPTUNE1939 11/22/2020
ty Report
ETHELMERZ 11/22/2020
Interesting! I just turned 74. To each his/her own. Do as you see fit. It’s almost funny, the things we worried about, in our twenties though........I guess that is normal. Report
Thank you for sharing Report
MAREE1953 11/22/2020
Several crossfit gyms have "longevity" classes now, or other programs for people who have chronic diseases, some of which can be reversed (type 2 diabetes). COVID has made it crystal clear--lower risk for those who aren't obese and don't have chronic disease. Report
JANIEWWJD 11/22/2020
Awesome article!!!!! Report
STEPHLOKI 11/21/2020
Thanks for writing this. Once you are past 50 you need to learn to listen to your body. If your body tells you to give up something, then replace it with something else. I gave up marathon running due to RA and replaced it with golf. I totally surprised myself by liking golf. 😃 I go for long walks now instead of long runs. I chose the less steep hikes, but I am still out there having fun, as active as ever Report
CECELW 10/21/2020
i'm 61. I hate being so old, but at the same time, i'm thankful for another day Report
SNUZYQ2 10/14/2020
Great take on aging! Thank you for sharing! Report
SUNSET09 10/9/2020
The good thing about getting older is, it's a good thing, SparkFriends. Report
DGRIFFITH51 9/16/2020
My dad, who is 96, told me today that he doesn't ever want to get old again, life is to hard! Report
Very helpful and informative article Report
MWHIGGINS 8/9/2020
Thanks for this perspective. Report
CECTARR 7/17/2020
Thanks Report
:) Report
Sure miss seeing @MostMom1(Shelli) on this site. She was such a bubbly person with a great attitude. Her blogs were always fun and funny. Report
ATHENA2010 6/25/2020
This is a great article and so on target! When I think of life, I figured out that the first 20+ years you spend growing up, the next 20+ years you (most often) are growing your children. So by the time you are 45-50 you begin to think of what you want to do for yourself! There are so many possibilities! Report
PATRICIAAK 6/21/2020
:) Report
BOB5148 6/19/2020
Thanks Report
ROBINRS 6/1/2020
accepting what I can and can't do and moving on to new things - I agree that this is a good way to approach aging. Thanks for sharing your positive attitude! Report
WILDKAT781 5/30/2020
well said! Report
Here's the thing bout getting older; it beats the alternative. Report
JAMER123 5/25/2020
This is a very well written blog/article. I didn't think much about the big 5-0 but did more as the 7-0 hit. My dad passed away at age 70 and I was concerned I would follow in his footsteps as I had in other ways. Thank you for sharing! Report
JAH1264 5/25/2020
I never really thought about age until I was laid off and had a reality check to my usefulness in the job market as 50ish employee. Well I decided to just start the process of changing careers. Scary as hell but my mind & body work just so to heck with corporate America. I’m equally excited and, happy and terrified to be starting over and hopefully getting to the point of having y own business.

There’s so much more to do, learn & see. I don’t plan on letting my age define what I can & cannot do. I will keep going, perhaps with modifications until I’m a pile of ashes.

My late parents aged very well and I have them as examples. But Ernestine Shepherd is a new idol of mine. Report
I'm turning 73 in July and healthy and fit are my top priorities. I want to keep enjoying life as long as possible. What a great idea about on-line hula hoop lessons. Fun is also a big goal in life! Report
CKEYES1 3/7/2020
I'm 64 and even I don't want to see me in my birthday suit. Report
HEDSTS58 2/16/2020
I'm not fighting the aging process. I dont want the pressure. I want to explore and fight for causes I believe in. Report
I love getting older. I was so excited when I turned 70 and that was 2 years ago. My attitude has changed, I am a positive person. I try not to sweat the small stuff. I love that I don't have any stres in my life. I exercise daily and try to eat healthy. I am glad that I found Spark to help me along the way. Oh, and I rode a roller coaster last year. Report
KHALIA2 2/9/2020
If you do not get older, you are dead! And I am not ready to leave this earth! Report
JBARBER16 1/15/2020
Actually at 66 I’m quite pleased with who I’ve become!
Yes my clothes have “shrunk” the past year and it looks like I may need to purchase bigger!
I’m blaming that on a major Abdominal surgery In ‘17.
I do more physically now than I did in my 30’s. Report
I am passing this on to my Son who is turning 50 this year. Report
thanks for sharing Report
My hair stylist told me the other day, "You seem to be aging backwards." Now, I KNOW that's not true, for sure, BUT it's nice to hear something like that. It proves that the effort to take care of ourselves, no matter WHAT the age, is totally worth it. Of course, more than our appearance, our energy, zest for life, ability to function independently are also positively impacted by keeping active physically and mentally! Report
Thank you. An excellent article Report
Excellent article. Thanks! Report
Thanks for sharing! My oldest son turned 50 on Sunday. I am in my second stage of life, after retiring I met and married a wonderful man who owned 5 acres. Since we married we have planted a large garden, adopted 6 dwarf goats, have a flock of 12 chickens and tend 2 bee hives. Life is full and very busy and we are very happy. Keep Sparking! Report
I am healthier at 65 than I was at 45. Oh I have more aches and pains, but I am still healthier and that makes the next decade very promising for me. Report
Thank you for sharing. At 60+ and retired, my priorties have also changed. Report
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
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
Great blog. Report