An alert reader has sent Life in the Boomer Lane an article from purpleclover.com titled "17 Surprises Your Body Has in Store for You Post 50." By the time LBL was finished reading the title, she had come up with over 30 items of her own. But she will now address herself to the items in the article. LBL is well aware of how valuable your time is, as well as how many of you are already teetering on the brink of a suicidal depression over aging. For those reasons, she will limit herself to only the following:
1. Food will taste different
Those over 50 may find it necessary to salt their foods even more than they used to, as taste buds have, like facial collagen, withered and disappeared. LBL has noticed this. She now supplements her normal salt intake with weekly movie theater popcorn and is considering taking a guided tour of all national salt licks.
2. Your cravings will change
"Many adults over 50 report being caught off guard by food cravings they'd never experienced. Shifting hormones are the likely culprit, as taste preferences are known to fluctuate with our hormones. Dips in the brain chemical serotonin, for example, are known to up the desire for cookies, chips and other tempting treats."
LBL, spoon firmly planted in the pint of coffee Haagen Dazs, was caught off guard with this item. While she has closely monitored the uptick in her penchant for chocolate and ice cream, she has neglected her desire for chips and cookies. As soon as she finishes writing this post, she will make an emergency trip to Safeway to stock up.
3. Getting out of bed in the morning will be more difficult
"A lifetime of wear and tear really starts to take over from 50 onward. That's because your muscles, ligaments and tendons are simply not as strong as they were 10 or 20 years ago."
Many men over age 50 have solved this problem by falling asleep in front of the TV. If they are in a Barcalounger, they can then catapult themselves to an upright position in just several seconds.
The rest of us can adhere to the "I am Lady Crawley, Mistress of Downton Abbey," system of rising from bed. Have a servant bring you your breakfast tray in bed each morning. You can then bring yourself to a seated position, propped up by several large, very expensive down pillows. You may then leisurely eat and, after consuming your food, be ready to stand. Your servant will then deal with the toast crumbs and smears of butter and jelly that are all over your bed.
4. Opening that jar or stuck window will take more oomph
LBL has now accumulated an entire array of devices to open bottles and jars. She has come to the conclusion that it is easier to change her diet than to wage war each day with food products that are hermetically sealed. Thankfully, snack bags are much easier to open.
5. You'll need to shorten your pants length
The article explains that, because of spinal compression, our legs seem to shorten. While LBL acknowledges that she knows little about human anatomy, aside from a belief that her head looks really bad in hats, this statement confuses her. Under normal circumstances, LBL's pants do not come up to her neck. Wearing pants at her waist means that only a small portion of her spine in involved. She fails to see how compression of that small area results in her having to now wear Capris as long pants.
6. When you've got to go, you've really got to go OR
7. You won't be able to do your business when you need to
LBL will now address items 6 and 7 together. She will start by saying that if you translate #7 to mean you have a computer malfunction at your job, you are under age 50. Go away. Now that only us over-50s are here, LBL will talk turkey to you: Items 6 and 7 are cosmic jokes of nature, perpetrated on an innocent population who never did anything bad to anybody and who was nice to her mother (except for going away to college when her mother wanted her to attend a college in Philly so she could live at home).
8. Mysterious aches will appear and annoy
"Nagging knees, achy feet, throbbing back, inflamed tendons -- people in their 50s seem to collect body aches like badges."
LBL is now losing a lot of sleep because of exactly that. She threatened Now Husband that, if he continues to thrash around in bed, she will sleep in the guest room.
9. Your brain won't work as quickly
According to the article, we now can't recall facts, words, and quickly as quickly as we did before. It is suggested that we learn to write with the opposite hand, as a way to teach our brains to fire in new ways. LBL, herself, hasn't actually used handwriting in about seven years. She tried to write checks with her left hand, but they all bounced, or, on one occasion, her electric bill payment coincided with the entire amount of her SEP IRA. She now pays her bills online and has eliminated all need to write.
10. Your sex life will be different
The article clearly states that "different" doesn't mean "worse." This is essentially what Frankenstein's mom told him on his first day of school. But, because LBL is, on at least two days a year, a glass half full person, she will take this statement optimistically.
"In fact, many men and women in their 50s report enjoying sex more than they ever did as a wild, young thing. Yes, women may need to deal with vaginal dryness and men may discover their erections are less firm and take longer to rise.But experts say this physical need to spend more time becoming fully aroused can bring you and your partner more in sync."
Concentrating on the glass half full thing, couples can now take full advantage of the above. While your male partner readies himself, you have time to cook tonight's dinner. Or, while your female partner readies herself, you may sneak off to watch football with the guys. Just make sure you meet back in the bedroom at the same time.
Masochists who need more abuse may refer to the entire article. But don't say LBL didn't warn you.
An extensive body of research has linked community and strong social support to good health, less stress and increased longevity. Prioritizing time with friends, family, community groups and even pets can go far in increasing well-being during your golden years.
Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve quality of life. A recent UK study found that urban-dwellers reported less mental distress and higher life satisfaction when they were living in greener areas. Try to fit in a daily walk or outdoor recreational activity, and if possible, plan trips to relaxing places of natural beauty.
Mindfulness -- the practice of cultivating a focused awareness on the present moment -- can not only improve the quality of your life, but it can also improve your health. Practicing mindfulness meditation can improve your sleep quality, boost focus, support weight loss goals and reduce stress, among other health advantages. But the best part? It will help you to make the most of your life by making you take note of all that's around you.
Exercising the brain is just as important as exercising the body in aging well and maintaining good health through your golden years. Keep the mind agile and sharp through crossword puzzles, sudoku, and brain-training games. "It’s huge for the brain," said Hall. "Instead of it getting stale and old and not getting the oxygen, water and blood that it needs, these exercises work the brain just like you’d be working out in the gym. "
Whether it's yoga, meditation or jogging, find a stress-relief tactic that works for you, and make it a part of your daily routine. Whatever it is, creating a simple daily stress-reduction routine wil keep your mind calm and help ward off the negative health impacts of chronic stress.
The Buddha once said that the only constant in life is change, and this is never more true than in your post 50 years, when many life-changing events are taking place. At this stage in your life, everything is shifting -- and it can be difficult to keep up with all the transformation and movement. Work on accepting the changes in your daily life by consciously attempting to let go and accept the present moment. Click here for inspiration from wellness experts on the little and big things they've stopped stressing over.
Financial health is a crucial component of a relaxing, stress-free older adulthood and retirement. Plan for the future as early as possible, and develop financial habits with your retirement in mind to minimize money stress later in life when you should be enjoying yourself. Click here for helpful money management information for retirees.
The health benefits of gratitude are many, included increased well-being, improved sleep, stronger relationships and better heart health. Instead of dwelling on health problems, financial woes or family issues, try to focus on what you're grateful for in life. Keep a gratitude journal where you write down a list of things you're thankful for every day, and try to flip around negative situations so that you see their silver lining (for example, if you're missing a loved one, focus on what they've added to your life).
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