dana2{January 2016}

Fresh Starts

The New Year is here again, and while most folks will simply think of it as “2016,” I’ll think of it as “the Year I Turn 50.”

The panic began to set in when I turned 49. As much as I would like to pretend that I’m still the same me I was in my 30s, realistically, I can’t. After all, I can no longer turn myself into a pretzel during the stretches in Pilates class, and I’m going to need quite the plastic surgery budget to hide the effects of the loss of collagen and the pull of gravity. The comment from well-meaning well wishers doesn’t help, either. You know, the “But you look great… for your age!” one. What does that mean, exactly? What is a woman my age supposed to look like? Are they saying that at 50, I should suddenly look like death warmed over?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could start this new year believing we look good, regardless if our age is 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 or even more? Two of my fellow demi-centenarians and I have decided we’re going to do just that. We’re donning our “50 is Fabulous” t-shirts and heading to the beach where we might even bare bikini-clad 50-year-old bodies and dance on some tables to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of our births. After all, one of the advantages to getting older is that other people’s opinion of our bodies or appearances is fading faster than our firm chin lines. And even though it’s quite a bit saggier than it used to be, we’re much more comfortable in our own skin.

I wish I could figure out how to stay comfortable with growing older gracefully once the celebration has subsided and the tequila has worn off, though. After all, I do realize that “America’s Next Top Model” is probably not going to be calling and I’m just going to have to move on over for the younger, faster runners on the track at the YMCA. But who says 50 has to be the beginning of a long slide into physical deterioration and social insignificance? Even with the graying hair, popping knees, and expanding waist line (and, let’s face it, that part does suck) there is a bright side to turning 50.

There’s actually a lot to be said for growing older, and I am going to try to focus on the positive. Here are some reasons why 50 rocks:

  1. It beats the alternative.
  2. My BS meter is finely tuned—I can smell a bulls#*t story a mile away.
  3. I can still fit into my sexy underwear, but I also know it’s optional because I’ve figured out that being sexy has nothing to do with underwear.
  4. I understand that confidence isn’t having all the answers or even knowing what to do and when to do it; confidence is believing that I will figure it out.
  5. I realize that I may have more years behind me than in front of me, but that doesn’t make me sad, it mobilizes me: times a wastin’!

“A seasoned woman is spicy,” says best-selling author Gail Sheehy. “She has been marinated in life experience.” Even though my marinade was mostly cabernet, I do love the fact that at 50 I have been bathed with wisdom, the ability to laugh at myself, humility, and grace. I wouldn’t go back to my 20s at this point for all the age-defying cream in Dillard’s. Maybe the acceptance that five decades of learning and growing is a good thing and the self-assurance that comes with that is what 50 is supposed to look like. And perhaps, that’s what aging gracefully is all about.




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Lake Norman Woman Military Veteran

May14CoverIn various features, we honor and remember our LKN women military veterans or active military. If you know an LKN Woman who served, we want to know her, too!

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