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Turning Fifty

Turning Fifty

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I am turning fifty next year.  What the heck??!!  Fifty?  I am not thrilled about that number either.  Stay with me, don’t leave yet.  I have never put much thought or hesitation into becoming older.  I have thought of it as a number, not a state of mind, and I embraced it with dignity and grace.  I always looked at past years as a learning experience with each year becoming more fulfilling and richer as time passes.  This number, fifty, which is lurking it’s evil head around the corner is different.  It is neither smirking, smiling or nudging me by saying “hey it is okay.”  It is a strange feeling actually, and one I am not sure I am comfortable with or am sure what to do with it.  I think I may hate it, and hate is such a strong word that I try not to use.  I am surprised at myself for even pondering these feelings, to be honest, why is Turning Fifty leaving me anxious?

Turning Fifty

My twenties I was a scrawny kid who thought she knew it all.  Small town girl living in a big city with bigger dreams.  Every year was about learning, jumping in with both feet and getting them wet if not flooded up to my knees.  Sink or swim.  Trials and errors, heartaches and lessons learned every day, foreign countries visited and new cultures experienced.  I was like a sponge; I loved it.  I took it all in, and I didn’t care too much.  I was young; it would be okay, life would work out.  I had fun, maybe too much fun at times.  I hurt myself, and most likely heart others.  I picked myself back up, dusted off my knees and kept going.  I was learning about life, I survived and I had fun along the way with really no regrets.

My thirties were about taking those already learned life lessons, and figuring out what I thought I wanted my life to be like forever. I was single, carefree; I knew what I wanted with my career or so I thought. I continued traveling as often as I could, spent time with family and friends and poured myself into the oh so glamorous life of being at a start-up. NOT!

At the end of 34, I hit major burn-out. Long hours at the office and no time to myself left me empty, and I pondered if this was the path I was destined. I wanted to fall in love but had not found it. Did I want “the rest of my life to be like this?”

I quit my job with no plans at all, took a position as a nanny, began changing diapers and playing at the park while rest of my friends poured themselves into 40+ hours a week. Quitting what I thought was to be a life-long career was one of the best decisions I have made.

I had time for me, and I moved into my own place saying good-bye to years of roommates. I enjoyed my time watching a little one grow, and it felt good to know I had some purpose. I still traveled and most importantly I started loving me for me and not for what everyone thought I should be.

Then I found love, a strapping younger guy who made me laugh all the time and made me realize that I was special, quirks and all. Our love blossomed and survived ups and downs.  We traveled, started to build a life and home together, and enjoyed all that life had to offer.

When I turned thirty-eight, I noticed changes with my body. I was gaining weight that was hard to get rid of. I was moody and not feeling like my youthful self. After six months of grueling tests, it was confirmed that I was going through premature menopause. I was blaming all those years of over-indulging on the sudden weight gain and instead it was a life changing confirmation.

(stay with me – there is an end and purpose)

My forties have been exciting and comfortable;  I love it!  I made it through menopause without any problems, besides the weight gain and my boobs getting bigger (thought that would be a joy).  That is something they do not tell you!  Female friends think it is great that I am done with it and glided through it with ease.  The problem with early menopause is that there are a wealth of problems that I am at higher risk for such as heart disease, ovarian and breast cancer, osteoporosis, to name a few.  Blah!  Blah!  Blah!

We travel and camp as often as work allows.  We work even harder with our business as we plan for the future, bought a house and continued to enjoy life as well as each other every day.  Life is good, and I feel lucky.  Now that we are both in our mid-forties we talk about retirement, the next stage and wonder what it will be like.  It is strange as half of our friends have children going to college, while the other half are just having babies.  We are in this limbo stage;  we relate to growing old together, but we do not connect to the baby or child stage.  We often say we should get a dog; maybe we will become more compassionate.

We are losing friends, not because of being tired of each other but instead because of death. It is hard, and we often think “we are too young for this” but the reality is, it happens, and we are not too young, it could happen anytime.  More and more friends are getting sick, and I mean really sick, not a cold. That is what is freaking me out about fifty. None of the other crap bothers me, as in the number, but saying good-bye does. It rips at my heart and makes me want to make a change, to make everything better. Living life through rose-colored glasses; maybe?

I think about this more often than I use too, and I know I am not ready for that stage of my life.  I keep thinking I need to do better, and that I can do better, both health wise and with compassion.  I need not to fret the little things that I have no control over.  I need to stop complaining about things and start doing more.  Lenny and I both talk about this  – especially when we experience anger from those around us.  Why?  Life it short – seize it, learn from it and enjoy it.  Become a better person, age with grace.

(almost done – really)

Recently I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and thought to myself with a bit of disgust, “Woman, you can do better, and you can be better!”  While I am healthy with no problems or concerns,  and I have passed my physicals with flying colors, I know I want to keep it that way moving forward especially being at a higher risk for a lot of crap.   To be a head of the game, I need to make some changes to my lifestyle.  Beginning today, which is exactly six months before fifty knocks on my door, I am vowing to myself to do just that.  To make myself accountable, I am going to share the journey here with each of you.  It is one thing to let myself down but another to let you down.  It may seem small, but my goal is to become even healthier, to lose those twenty pounds I hate so much, and to become more fit before my birthday.  To start fighting all the above-mentioned risks, at an early stage in life instead of later;  I want to be that elegant old lady at 80 who is still boarding planes and traveling the world with my younger guy, Lenny.  It may seem like an easy task, those twenty pounds, but having gone through menopause already, even losing a pound is hard.  I have tried before, and I know this journey will be challenging.  Not to mention my insane travel work schedule that is coming up this fall is going to make it even harder.

What am I going to do? I am not going to diet; I do not believe in it. I am not going to join the gym (I quit in March). Instead, I am going to eat wholesome real food, and I am going to move my body a lot more. Personally, I think this is the best way to lose weight and get fit, so I am challenging myself into proving just that. I plan to keep a journal of what I eat and what I do. Each week, I will post what I ate and how I moved my body, what the challenges were and what successes I had. I am going to call this personal journey and challenge Fit@Fifty.

If you want to join the journey with me, that would be great, and you do not have to be almost fifty.  Maybe you just want to do a little better too.  If not, don’t worry at all, Chez Us is NOT going to become a diet blog, it will still be about easy to make recipes for the home cook;  after all, our recipes are real food.  Thank you for reading, for following along – and for making me accountable.

Entire Journey

Fit at Fifty Week One

Fit at Fifty Week Two

Fit at Fifty Week Three

Fit at Fifty Week Four

Fit at Fifty Week Five

Fit at Fifty Week Six

Fit at Fifty Week Seven

Fit at Fifty Week Eight

Fit at Fifty Week Nine

Fit at Fifty Recap

Fit at Fifty Week Ten

Fit at Fifty Week Eleven

Fit at Fifty Week Twelve

Fit at Fifty Week Thirteen

Fit at Fifty Week Fourteen

Fit at Fifty Recap – Week Fifteen, Sixteen and Seventeen

Fit at Fifty Week Eighteen and Nineteen

Fit at Fifty Week Twenty

Fit at Fifty Week Twenty One

Fit at Fifty Week Twenty Two

Fit at Fifty Week Twenty Three

Fit at Fifty Week Twenty Four

Fit at Fifty Week Twenty Five

Fit at Fifty Week Twenty Six

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Wednesday 5th of October 2016

I turned 65 in August, and I'm looking at life from the same perspective that you are: get on with it, stop worrying about that infinite list of mights and maybes, and just make the most of every day. We may be closer to the exit than the entrance, but that just means we have more experience and (hopefully) wisdom to draw on. Over the past couple years I picked up about 20 pounds that I definitely don't need, and I'm shedding them slowly but surely, just be being active and eating well. I really wish you (and all of us!) the absolute best as we continue this fascinating journey called life. :-)

Denise Woodward

Monday 17th of October 2016

Thanks Ruth for your kind words and for sharing your journey as well! I agree that being active and eating well is the right way to go about it. Fad diets always tend to creep back up around the middle, don't they! I hope you continue to share your journey as well in the comments here - I would love to know how you are doing as well!

Cheryl @ Pook's Pantry

Friday 2nd of September 2016

Denise, this is a wonderful post! I'm 44 and feeling the same way... I need to shed 20 pounds and do a little better. You are a courageous and beautiful soul, friend! xx

Nancie McDermott

Tuesday 23rd of August 2016

What a wonderful, thoughtful, inspiring post. I'm so looking forward to following you on this journey, along with the feast of recipes and knowledge and interestingness y'all already provide.

Denise Woodward

Friday 26th of August 2016

Thank you so much Nancie, for the kind words! First update coming Monday!


Tuesday 23rd of August 2016

I will join you! Let's chat soon. I can relate so much to this!

Denise Woodward

Friday 26th of August 2016

Would love to have you join in - I appreciate the support!!

Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog

Monday 22nd of August 2016

Love this, like all your other posts, Denise. This one especially hit close to home. I too am aspiring to do better, to continue a healthier me journey I started at the end of April (right after the Fresh Coast Retreat actually) ... it's slow and steady vs. some crazy diet, so I loved reading that. I am right here with you and cannot wait to see your journaling of your journey.

Denise Woodward

Friday 26th of August 2016

Thank you Phi! It is a hard journey, isn't it? I wish we could wave a magic-wand! How is your journey coming along?