Our body changes as it ages…and so does our image of it

When I turned 50 I was asked how it felt about being that age? Well first of all I can’t believe how time flies, but overall I told people that I didn’t feel any different than I did 20 years ago…but that wasn’t really true. My body is NOT what it was when I was younger…my hair is a bit thinner and greyer; I am in menopause now, my vision has decreased (now I have to wear readers), sometimes I feel a bit stiff waking up and my waistline isn’t quite the same as it was. My body looks pretty much the same (and even weighs the same), but it has definitely changed, in shape and function.

When you are a young person, you are like a young creek, and you meet many rocks, many obstacles and difficulties on your way. You hurry to get past these obstacles and get to the ocean. But as the creek moves down through the fields, it becomes larger and calmer and it can enjoy the reflection of the sky. It's wonderful. You will arrive at the sea anyway so enjoy the journey. Enjoy the sunshine, the sunset, the moon, the birds, the trees, and the many beauties along the way. Taste every moment of your daily life.

Looking back my body was already undergoing changes, I just never really acknowledged them outloud, until now.  At first glance my introspective self reflected a body that wasn’t quite as sharp and trim and it was carrying weight in places it never did before…how did that happen? I eat really well, workout regularly, get pretty good sleep and work on reducing stress in my life…but my body now FEELS different then it did before.

Initially I looked at my body through the eyes of my younger self, not the person that has now lived half a century. So maybe my waistline isn’t what it used to be, but that’s ok, I still feel strong, mobile and flexible.

If our mind is trained, His Holiness continued, physical suffering that comes with old age won’t disturb us much. He suggested that we should have the determination and motivation to develop love and compassion. We need to be equipped with internal skills, to develop internal resources. Otherwise, if we are used to looking for pleasure in the sensorial world, when we grow old and lose our ability to perceive sights, sounds and smells, it becomes difficult.

Looking at what’s in front of me instead of behind I can begin to see what I am capable of…not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  I think that this can only come with time lived. This is what inspires me to want to be better everyday, connect and share with others and continue to learn and grow.  I have also been inspired by all of the amazing women ahead of me and started a new membership site I call MY FIT OVER 50 My goal is to bring our community together, empowering other women, supporting, sharing, laughing and talking about our journey together.

I will continue to explore the nuances of my body, to challenge it in a safe, efficient and effective way as I continue to age. I am working smartly in a way that provides my body with longevity, by thinking about why and how I can take care of it. I am making a conscious effort to bring my body and mind together, to accept that changes do happen as we age (some of which we have no control over), but if we listen to what our body needs we can adapt to its needs and push it in a healthy way.

My body image has changed and the wiser part of me now sees that I’m now at the starting point of my life, not the end one. I see that aging is more than just a number, it is a complex evolution of the human body.

Kicking it in our 50's!

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About the Author
Picture of Cindy Willems

Cindy Willems

Cindy is the owner/creator of My Fit Over 50. She is a registered acupuncturist, certified Pilates instructor, holistic nutritionist and educator. She takes a holistic approach to achieving whole body health and she believes that it is important to keep challenging the body and mind safely and efficiently as we age. Cindy also has a busy clinic called Women's Health Centre in Toronto, Ontario.