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I'm In My 50s. Here Are 5 Things I'm Dealing With

Maybe you're also experiencing these changes.

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I’ve been going through significant changes during these midlife years. Some have been challenging and painful, while others have been liberating and rewarding.

As I get older, my decisions are shifting, my perspective is deepening, and my gratitude is growing. At age 56, I’m also experiencing the physical effects of my aging body and am learning new ways to tend to it.

It seems most women experience midlife changes. Here are five of the biggest ones I’m going through now:

I pay more attention to my physical health.

I've been through all the menopausal symptoms that affected my sleep, weight, appearance, strength, and endurance. I’m not the young, fit chick I used to be, but I'm slowly accepting this body I'm in and am taking better care of it.

Almost every day, I feel some new physical ache or ailment. It could be a pinch in my neck from sleeping in the wrong position, pain in my lower back from sitting too long or an upset stomach from eating the wrong food. My body is teaching me what it can't tolerate anymore, and the list keeps getting longer.

I'm learning my limitations, as I know I'll pay the price. If I don't listen to what my body is trying to tell me, it will demand my attention until I respond accordingly. So I don't overextend or strain myself unnecessarily. I still want to stay in good shape, so I choose exercise routines that are easier on my joints and muscles and try to eat a balanced diet. I realize, more than ever, how critical it is to preserve and maintain my health.

I manage my time differently and shift my priorities.

When I was younger, I made impulsive decisions that would cause unneeded stress. Now, I take time to assess my physical and mental state. I don't fill my schedule with constant activity or say yes to every request and opportunity, much like I used to. If I'm not up for doing something, I am more comfortable saying no.

This is massive because I hated letting people down, so I would power through and sacrifice my needs to meet theirs. These days, I prioritize my needs without feeling selfish. The wonderful thing about this development is that people my age understand and are supportive, as I am when they do the same.

Of course, I still have to deal with overwhelming situations that often leave me exhausted and frazzled — but I figured out how to navigate them with discernment and set limits to protect my well-being. Then, I carve out much-needed time for self-care.

I advocate more for my medical care.

For much of my life, when I went to the doctor, I felt intimidated and rarely had the courage or confidence to advocate for my health. For years, I left appointments feeling dismissed and disappointed, but I’m finally secure enough to speak up and be completely honest with medical professionals.

I was terrified to ask for anxiety medication. Now, I regularly assert my psychiatric needs with my physician. I’ve been to several gastroenterologists for severe digestive issues and never felt like they understood my personal experience. After struggling with my symptoms and not getting help, I became bolder and more direct, insisting on better care. Thankfully, I found a doctor who listens and is invested in exploring effective treatment options.

I find joy in simple things and relish my downtime.

Life has slowed down — my kids are older, and my husband and I aren’t as active as we used to be. This has given me more time to enjoy little things.

In my 30s and 40s, I was so busy with a jam-packed schedule that I didn’t embrace the small wonders of this world. Today, I savor quiet moments alone and love evenings at home with nowhere to go.

I don't need to chase adventures. I’m excited watching birds build a nest on our back patio or snow falling outside my window. These magical moments are so rewarding.

Driving to my sister’s house out in the country, I spotted three deer grazing off the side of the road near the woods. I pulled over and watched them for a while, soaking in the sweet sight until they ran off. Oh, the joy! In my younger days, I might have rushed by, distracted and in a hurry to get where I was going. These days, I pay more attention to my surroundings, pause more often when I notice something special, and linger longer to take it all in.

I look at life from a different perspective.

I’ve lost people I love, and I’ve witnessed countless friends and family members suffer from devastating illnesses and fatal diseases. My heart is heavy and frayed from the cruelty of life’s end that will eventually happen to us all. It’s impossible to comprehend the enormity of grief until you experience firsthand the unbearable pain of someone dying up close.

I’ve learned a hard truth — life is flawed, fragile and fleeting. This has significantly impacted how I view everything. I’m grateful for each day I wake up breathing in a body that moves (despite the aches and ailments) and with a mind that works (reasonably well).

I celebrate doing things I enjoy and being with people I love. And when I start to worry about the immense issues I must face, I take a deep breath and remember how fortunate I am to be here on this earth, no matter how hard life gets.

What's the biggest change you've noticed in midlife? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Lifestyle