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Life After 50: Why 50 Is More Than an Age... It's a Movement

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LIFE AFTER 50
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Last week I posted an article listing the five most annoying lies about women over 50 (there are lots more, but who's counting?).

Just about everyone who commented agreed with me, and many added a few more infuriating fibs to the mix. But the one simple sentence that resonated the most with readers, and generated a multitude of "pick-ups" by other bloggers is this:

Turning 50 is more than an age . . . it's a movement.

According to merriam-webster.com, the definition of movement -- among other things -- is a series of activities undertaken to achieve a goal. Some of the synonyms include motion, shift, stir, migrate, relocate, cause, crusade, drive, and push.

All these words are action-oriented and forward-thinking which is what we need to be and do if we're to bring about a societal sea change about how America looks at -- and talks about -- aging.

But if words are not put into a context, their deeper meaning can be lost. Movement? What does this word signify, really, to those of us who are over 50? March in a protest? Shift to a new political party? Migrate to Florida?

The word movement is rich in significance and relevance, with a very strong attribute: the power to turn thought into action on many different levels.

In addition to being an economic, social, and political powerhouse, post-50 Americans are teeming with justified frustration . . . just waiting to be turned into positive action. All we need to do is band together, declare our intention, and put a name to that which will propel us forward: movement.

Being part of the post-50 group is all about moving forward, or moving out, or moving on. It's about change -- both good and bad, planned and unplanned -- which creates a wealth of new opportunities: children leave home; couples reinvent their relationship or seek new ones; careers are reinvented. If we recognize, early on, that entering our 50s is all about change, we'll be much better prepared to tackle anything that comes our way.

Here are a few thoughts on why "Turning 50 is more than an age . . . it's a movement" could very well be our post-50 mantra:

Move your body
A big concern for post-50 America is the fear of not having enough money to live on as we age. One way to help the cause is to keep healthy for as long as we can. If we don't succumb to disease that is more common as we get older -- such as heart disease, cancers, diabetes -- the better our chances for staying active, productive and employed the older we get. The biggest drain on finances is poor health, which is often caused by obesity. Move your body every day -- walk purposefully for 60 minutes (maybe add a little running into it), and do strength training exercises. Even if you haven't worked out since your 20s, it's not too late to get on the right path.

Move out of your comfort zone
There's something incredibly liberating about turning 50. You no longer feel as though you have to please everyone, or continue to do things you don't want to do, just because you always did. In the smallest sense, you might not want to be on your co-op's board anymore because it's not enjoyable and too time-consuming. Or, you may want to change careers or quit work completely to pursue other interests. Doing something new, especially if it's potentially life-changing, like leaving a relationship or starting a new one, can be daunting because you're moving out of your status quo. But, post-50 life is all about change, and movement, and moving out of your comfort zone is a huge part of the experience. It's time to be fearless, confident, and bold, no matter what you're moving from . . . or to.

Move your mind
Staying mentally engaged and active is a key ingredient to more successful, healthier, happier aging. Keep your mind strong by staying connected to others, adopting a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, and exercising your brain with mental gymnastics like crossword puzzles, reading, or learning a language. Studies show that by keeping your mind moving you'll have a better chance of keeping Alzheimer's Disease at bay.

Move your voice
If you're like most post-50 men and women I meet, you are stronger, tougher, and less patient with injustice, wrongdoing and narrow-mindedness than ever before. Do you feel strongly about something? The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria? Women's rights? Pay inequity? Unemployment? There are so many things going on in the world, including right here in our country, which are probably making you quite mad. That's good because very often anger can lead to action. All you need to do is move your voice, be heard, and help right the wrongs.

Move your vote
The simple act of voting at every election -- which is the right and duty of all citizens -- is powerful. You can be a part of the change that you want by voting for those candidates whom you believe will serve our country best.

Move to the sound of your own song Follow your heart, which by now is filled with a wisdom that didn't exist when we were younger. You know who you are, and most likely, where you want to go. But sometimes other voices will block your path, telling you all the reasons why you shouldn't, or can't. Don't listen. Only you know what your next move should be.

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For more information about living your best life after 50, visit www.bestofeverythingafter50.com. Staying connected is a powerful tool. "Friend" me on Facebook and "Tweet" me on Twitter (BGrufferman).
2011 New York City Marathon Weekly Training Countdown (4 weeks to go!)
I'm running in the NYC Marathon in November to celebrate my 55th birthday and raise money for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Here's an update on my training schedule for this week:

Monday: 8 miles using a run/walk ratio of 3 minutes/30 seconds
Wednesday: 6 miles using a run/walk ratio of 3 minutes/30 seconds
Friday: 28 miles with using a run/walk ratio of 60 seconds/30 seconds
Every other week, I'll be adding another mile or so to the long run (keeping the two short runs the same distance), and I will be adding "speed work" to my training. Stay tuned!