On Turning Fifty

50

eighthThe mere thought of that age makes many women and men cringe. After all, it seems so, oh, I don’t know…OLD. We conjure up images in our heads of thinning hair, crow’s feet, lack of libido, a prescription-filled cabinet, and fading beauty, not to mention all of the what-ifs that start plaguing our minds. Even if some of that is true, it doesn’t mean we are any less beautiful or any less full of life.

For me, turning 50 means I am stronger, wiser, more beautiful on the inside and out, and part of that I owe to being willing to learn from life and others, as well as starting to take care of myself in my 40s.

I have always been a bit overweight, but about six years ago, I was actually obese. I weighed a good chunk over 200 lbs. My ah-ha moment came when the Wii Fit scale told me straightforward with no sugar-coating, “You’re obese!” Yes, I knew my BMI, and I knew what that number should have meant to me, but to actually have something rather than someone or some outdated calculation tell me was a more difficult truth to swallow, so I knew it as time to do something about it.

I made a promise to myself for the entire year of 2010 to do whatever it took to lose weight, to figure out what worked for me. The ending result was a 65 lb weight loss in ten months, and I’ve kept 55 of those pounds off for six years now.

That was the year I took up running. It was the year I examined just about everything I ate and learned what I was willing to put into my body and what I wasn’t. It was when I learned the importance of moving my body and fueling it well. It’s when I turned my body into a healthier, happier, more alive version of me. It’s when I decided to become a health coach.

I am by no means perfect, but I do strive every single day to take care of myself. It’s something that I started to do too late but a lot sooner than my 50th birthday, and because of that, I am hitting this birthday drug free – as in I am on no prescription medications, and it is an extremely rare occasion for me to take something over-the-counter. In many ways, I have learned to listen to my body and give it what it needs. I use essential oils as needed, and I try to follow the 90/10 rule of eating (90% healthy/10% indulgences). I try to exercise on a regular basis, but I admit that even I have trouble sometimes maintaining a steady routine. It is an important part of my life, though.

I hear a lot of people my age talk about how many meds they are on, about how their bodies don’t move like they used to, about how old they are getting, about their wrinkles, their gray hair, their aches and pains. Aging seems to be a negative for many, and I’m out to change that. Growing older is a privilege not everyone is given, including my sister who died at the age of 49 (but that’s a whole other blog post). For those of us given that privilege, we owe it to our Creator (regardless of how you believe), to our friends and family, and to ourselves to take care of our bodies. And honestly, we really shouldn’t wait until we’re older to do that. I was lucky in that I didn’t already have a host of ailments to deal with when I did finally start taking care of myself. Probably the worst thing I was facing at the time was high cholesterol, but I wouldn’t be surprised if other health issues were looming. I truly believe that the body will respond in a positive way when you start making changes in your lifestyle, in how you treat it, how you eat, sleep, deal with stress, and so on.

Tracie Neill 50For me, growing older means more opportunities. It means staying active and living life on the fierce side rather than on the too cautious side. It means taking chances, living with no regrets. It means making the most of every single moment, of cherishing those who are closest to me, helping those in need, using my knowledge and wisdom for the good of all things. It means being unapologetically me.

Fifty. It doesn’t scare me. If anything, it energizes me to live life harder, to love more deeply, to increase the gratitude, servitude, and positivity. Bring it on!

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