Ode to 45

I’m 45 now.

I know, right? I can hardly believe it either. Where does the time go? I know most women don’t like to admit to their age, especially once they cross the four-oh mark, but I’m practicing acceptance and embracing. So. I’m 45 now. And I have some things to say about that. Brace yourselves…

I am not growing old gracefully. I wish I were. No, I am bitching and moaning and whining and complaining every step of the way. Believe me, I know that life is precious and, as Bonnie is always telling me, being old is better than the alternative. And before you start sending me emails reminding me that 45 is not old, I know that too. Also, don’t send me emails telling me that I need some perspective, that I am not old, not overweight, that I am healthy and there are many women who would give anything for those things. I know that, too. I promise (I’ll touch on that later). But I can’t help the ridiculous thoughts and opinions and feelings that have lodged inside my brain and made a home there. Sometimes, a girl’s got to vent. So, I’m venting. I’m 45 now. I can do that.

I have never been a small girl. By the time I turned 30, I realized and understood that I would never weigh 130 pounds. I’m 5’9”. That’s pretty tall, and I have quite a solid build. It’s always been more muscle than fat, but 130 pounds has never been a possibility for me. (I did drop down to 125 once. I was 21 and my very first girlfriend had just left me for somebody else. I completely stopped eating and at 125 pounds, I looked like an emaciated refugee, and my mother told me so. No, 130 will never happen for me.) I’m okay with that, as long as I feel like I look okay. I don’t expect to look in the mirror and think, “Hubba, hubba, you are hot!” I want to look in the mirror, shrug, and say, “Okay. That’ll work.”

But passing 40 has been hard on me. And on my body.

I’ve gained a good 10-12 pounds over the past year or so. It’s all in my belly and my hips. What the hell? I put on a shirt and all I see is this belly pooch, like I’m five months along, like I should be walking bent back a bit with my hand on my belly. I have done nothing any differently. Nothing! Bonnie and I are rather healthy eaters. Yes, I like my dairy group and sweets on occasion (I single-handedly keep Cadbury in business during Easter by hoarding bags of their mini-eggs…it’s the middle of May and I still have half a bag left), but for the most part, we are fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean meats girls. This winter was incredibly cold, so we were not nearly as active as we would have liked, but we’re not slugs. We have two dogs that get walked every day. We do yard work. I have a bike (that I should ride more than I do, frankly), and we have a bedroom full of exercise equipment. We’re not lazy. But suddenly one morning, boom! Belly and extra hips.

I cannot seem to lose those 10 pounds no matter what I do.

That makes me angry. I exercise and I count calories and I forego many of the foods I really enjoy because I’d like to slim down a little, and nothing happens. Nothing. Happens. That pisses me off.

Let’s talk about my moods. Girls, those of you over 40 probably know what I’m talking about, yes? (Please say yes.) I’m mostly fine. But every so often, I have one of those days. It’s a day where I know as soon as I wake up that I’m going to burst into tears for no apparent reason at some point during the day. I can feel it building from the moment I open my eyes. I want to lock myself in my room with a movie and have everybody just leave me alone. All day. Everything irritates me. Everybody gets on my nerves. (Except Bonnie. That’s the honest truth. She never bugs me, but everybody else in the world does.)

Sleeping has been fun. And that was sarcasm, because I can’t sleep. I fall asleep just fine. I can’t stay asleep. I’ve given up any cocktailing during the week in an attempt to help (See? Yet another sacrifice.), but I’m not sure if it does. And how about those temperature changes? Yikes! Turtlenecks have always been a favorite style of mine. I used to live in them all winter. I have probably eight or ten of them. This year? I wore one exactly twice, and both times, I thought I might spontaneously combust. I’ve taken to layering because I have to be able to take something off or I freak out. One minute, I’m just fine. The next, I’m roasting like a red pepper. Last night, Bonnie cuddled up behind me (her preferred fall-asleep position for the past umpteen years). I didn’t say, “I love you, honey.” I didn’t say, “Yay, cuddle closer!” I said, “Yeah, that’s not going to last long. I am overheating already.” She rolled away quietly. In the wee hours of my 45th birthday (3:30am to be exact), I was woken out of a dead sleep by a night sweat that I thought might drown me. Happy birthday!

Why don’t men have to deal with any of this shit?

I really think the only thing that will help here is perspective. I know that. After all the venting (and all the crying), after throwing things (it happens) or screaming into a pillow or wondering if I need to go see my doctor, I take a deep breath and try to relax. This is life, and life is good. I am lucky. I keep telling myself that. I am lucky. I have somebody who loves me forever and thinks I’m beautiful, even if there is more of me than I’d like. I am healthy. That’s the key thing. A little irritable. A little chubby. But healthy. I’ve seen a lot of sickness and a lot of death. Young sickness. Young death. Bonnie’s brother and sister-in-law were both under 50 when they died. I have a friend suffering from ALS who’s younger than I am. I’m sure any of the three of them would prefer to be sitting in front of my computer, bitching about their extra belly weight. I know this. I just need to remind myself every so often, to focus on what I have, how lucky I am, and to embrace life.

Embrace life. Life is good.

Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t think the same thing if I were 10 pounds lighter, though…

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bevprescott

You are a beautiful woman on the inside and out. I agree with you on getting some perspective in that healthy is what matters. What that looks like changes as we age. The other night, my spouse rubbed that little pooch on my belly that has taken up residence on my 46 year old body in spite of how healthy I am, and said she loved it because it was one more sign that are plan of growing old together was still on track. You rock, Georgia! And so does Bonnie. 🙂

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Cindy Rizzo

Sounds like peri-menopause. It’s not easy and can last a long while. I’m 57 and I went through it for many years. The good news is that you will come out the other end. In the meantime, there are some herbs and stuff you can experiment with (black cohosh, etc.) to see if they help some of the symptoms. Also dropping some types of foods from your diet to see if there’s any effect on mood or anything else (gluten, carbs, sugar). Also experiment with changing how much you eat at different times of the day–smaller dinners, more food mid-day. And get 8 hours of sleep a night if you can. Because of my age and blood pressure, I’ve been doing Weight Watchers online since January and have lost 35 lbs (I’m a lot shorter and heavier than you, so this really needed to happen and I’m not done yet). But I have noticed a lot of other benefits in terms of my energy level and mood. I don’t think it’s just the weight loss. I think I’m eating less gluten and carbs and more fresh fruit and vegetables and that is helping. One other thing I did many years ago that I think was effective with peri-menopause symptoms was acupuncture. If you can deal with the needles, it’s very good for these kinds of constitutional issues (homeopathy would be as well). Good luck and vent away! But your partner is right. When you consider the alternative getting old isn’t so bad. 🙂

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Georgia Beers

Thanks for the info, Cindy. Bonnie went through peri-menopause, so I’m familiar. I did do a little research a while back and black cohosh, plus some other stuff came up. I got as far as looking for them at the store, but then became lazy. Might be time to renew my research, huh? And good for you on shedding the 35 pounds! Terrific!

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kathy

Now that i have stopped laughing. i loved your story about turning 45 Been there done that girl. no no T-shirt though. and yes it does get better.. granted, i will be 75 next month and i am still waiting for it to get better. Oh wait, you didn’t want to hear that!!! LOL but i know what you mean just the same. and you have my sympathy, for what its worth..Thank goodness for Bonnie being so supportive. So hanf in there, darlin, and keep up the good work

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Denise

Georgia –

I loved your blog today. In many ways I can totally relate. (except I am a mere 5’4′ and the extra 10+ definitely looks worse on me.) Besides, I saw you in Rehoboth and you looked great. (Did I forget to mention that I have 5+ years on you too.) I too am beginning to feel the “heat”, mostly at night. My partner is cold and wants to cuddle, while I am thinking “can’t you just get on your own side of the bed”. (loves and kisses, honey)

I am trying to focus on the positive – I am sure it is in there somewhere. Let’s see, no more “month monster”, which does come with the extra grumpiness (far be it from me to call myself bitchy, I’ll leave that up to the wife!).

Hang in there lady – our older, wiser friends tell us it only gets better with age. I for one am trying to believe them!!
Hugs!!
Denise

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Anne F.

Aging has many issues and acceptance vs. being proactive is part of life’s journey. In midlife we are often called to face the effects of the choices we have made. At 55, short & round most of my life, I have been experiencing the many issues obesity & menopause can cause. However I’m finally learning to be my own true love & devoting time to caring for myself. In reading about other woman’s journeys have learned that many have felt distressed or helpless at times Re: the changes in our bodies. Most notably when I look at pictures or women in the public eye, who often feel the heat of constant scrutiny & have the income and freedom to care well for themselves. For example, if you look at pictures of them over each decade there is a common thread of relentless aging. Think: Tina Turner, Goldie Hawn, Stockard Channing, Madonna, Mary Tyler Moore, Kathleen Turner, Monique ( who is on a kick ass Self help journey right now), etc. Hang in there. I think you are very talented & creative being who has a lot of wonderful discoveries ahead of her & I wish you a long life & good health !

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