July 8, 2023
Marking a new decade of life is a noteworthy accomplishment that should be celebrated. And turning 50 is no different, but when reaching 50, many women experience mixed emotions. In last week’s post, I list all the great things that happen when a woman turns 50. This post is more personal, and I want to give you the break down of turning 50: the good, the bad, and the ugly from my perspective.
My outlook on aging was always positive, and I relished each decade until I turned 50. I fall into the category of women who dreaded it, but I am now seven years in, so it’s a great time to share a little about my experience and hopefully help you through it. So, let’s get started with ugly.
Your body will go through a marked transformation right before your eyes. If you haven’t already, you will start seeing gray hair strands. You will observe your hair becoming thinner. Even though your locks may thin out, you may also observe hair sprouting in locations you would not. But it does.
I started seeing grays in my late forties, so I would get my hair colored every six weeks. As long as no one saw my grays, I was good. But then more started appearing, and hiding them became more difficult. More frequent trips to my stylist were the only answer, and it worked fine for a while.
But I realized that all I was doing was hiding the obvious. Covering your grays in your 50s is like paddling in a boat against an ever-increasing current. I was aging, and coloring my hair may have made me feel good on the outside, but I wasn’t dealing with it. I was wasting my energy.
If I had embraced my gray in my 40s, would I have transitioned better into my 50s? I don’t know, but ultimately, I decided never to return to my stylist for color and instead made peace with my situation—a process that took years.
Let’s move on to our eyes….and the ever-increasing need for reading glasses. This one didn’t bother me as much. I’ve worn glasses most of my life and always treated them like an awesome accessory. If you’re having a hard time, try these great styles.
So, we’re moving on to the worst of the worst – menopause. The approach of menopause can lead to a rapid acceleration in your skin’s aging process. From diminished elasticity to the emergence of wrinkles, it is not uncommon for the skin, even on one’s back, to begin to sag unexpectedly. I think I rolled out of bed on my 50th birthday and immediately noticed the darkness under my eyes. Where did this come from? It unsettled me, for sure.
With menopause, there is a decrease in estrogen and prog levels, so you get drastic irregularity of your menstrual cycle before it fades away. These hormone fluctuations also mean crazy mood swings, brain fog, and sweats that happen at the most inopportune time. I once combusted (that’s how it happens) in sweat during a crowded business cocktail party and dinner. One minute I was enjoying the conversation. The next minute, I was drenched as I dipped in the pool.
My brain fog (gaps) was frightening; you automatically forget (temporarily) things you’ve done all your life. Like names or how to open the gas cap of your car. I once got lost in a parking lot because I couldn’t recall the color of my vehicle.
Here is the absolute shittiest part–we live and work in a man’s world, so there is little you can do about it. Women must resort to supplements that may or may not work and try managing their symptoms while working 40 hours a week. But do still see your doctor if you feel off balance with hormones. I’ve always insisted on female doctors, so talking to another woman about my symptoms was great, even if she didn’t have many tools to help me get through it.
Reaching the milestone of fifty years old can bring many rewards. These can range from financial benefits to emotional ones. Here are the ones I’ve enjoyed once I let go.
I have developed a greater love and acceptance for everything about me, from my head to my toes. I can look at a photo of myself in my thirties and, although good looking, man, I feel that version of myself’s in security. She looks good there because that makes her feel good; she’s insecure.
My responsibilities are less, so I focused on my well-being and what I want to accomplish in life, including building my business. I have the time and the focus and the day; I don’t want to do anything – I don’t.
And this is partly because traveling and wearing good clothing is my self-care. Don’t get me wrong, and I know that for many women, their 50s is the time they can exercise and eat better—take care of their physic. But I’ve been doing that since my 30s. I’ve always had an active gym membership, a yoga instructor, and good eating habits. The financial freedom I’m experiencing now is new and so juicy. So tune into my next post, where I will list my favorite things to buy when you’re over 50.
I’m seven years into this wonderful journey, and I learned to appreciate the true privilege it is. With each passing year, I am reminded of the countless experiences and memories that have shaped me into the person I am today. The wrinkles on my face tell stories of laughter and joy, of hardships overcome and lessons learned. I am grateful for the wisdom that comes with age and the newfound understanding of what truly matters in life. Growing old is not something to be feared but is celebrated as a gift that not everyone gets to experience. Each day reminds me of what I have been fortunate to embark upon.
Here’s one last bit of inspiration for you. Women in their 50’s are having their moment. Here’s Forbes 50 over 50: Women Stepping into Their Power in Life’s Second Half.
Angela Atelier is a New Jersey-based portrait and personal branding photography studio in Perth Amboy, NJ, empowering women everywhere to live their best life. Want to learn more about how we help women discover themselves through portrait photography? Contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation.