Falling Out Of 50

50 feels great!  50 feels invigorating and exciting, a time of renewal and reinvention!

I can say that now because I am staring at 60 and those days are behind me.  I long for those memories now, along with the ability to get out of a chair without making a noise.

Throughout my life, my most complicated relationship has been the one with my own body.  For decades we have danced around the love/hate thing, never coming together in harmony. Over the years we have not been kind to each other or had each other’s best interests in mind. There were times I cheated on my body, and in turn my body has talked trash about me in public.  We would fight, make-up; I would torture it with exercise, then sneak it snacks, only to have my body display my indiscretions to the world.  It was abusive.

But when I turned 50 it seemed I had finally come to terms with me.  I became more accepting of my own skin, resigned to my imperfections, and forgiving of my struggles. What a relief.

However, I’m facing the Big 6-0, and my relationship with my body is shifting once again.  Where there once was love and a false sense of security, there is now out-and-out mistrust.  Every move I make must be scrutinized.  “If I reach down to pick up that quarter, will I be able to get back up?  That step stool looks high, could I fall off of that?  Those shoes are gorgeous, I’ll probably break my ankle.”  And believe me, these thoughts are not without probable cause.

In the last year alone, I have face-planted in awkward, embarrassing ways at least three times.  A crowded coffee shop watched me blow out a knee as I flailed over an unseen step.  A stranger rolled his eyes from a car window as I hurdled towards the pavement in front of him, breaking a rib. And prior to a recent reunion, I let a pair of flip-flops get the best of me as they flipped me to the ground, jamming my wrist.  All the while I swear I could hear my body tittering and whispering, “Nice move, grace.”

Aging is not for the clumsy.  I no longer trust my knees, hips, or upper body strength to support me in my time of need.  It takes all the physical focus I can muster just to remain upright.  Yet, I cannot accept the idea that I will soon leave my 50’s.  I have not come to terms with getting older.  The mirror still shows me the enthusiastic thirty-year old who dreams of flat abs and a cool boyfriend, and the adventurous thirty-five year old who still wants to backpack Europe (I can barely stand to carry a purse, but hey, it’s a dream). I still see that girl. Sadly, the world does not see her.  The other day at the movies, the pre-teen in the ticket booth gave me the senior discount without asking.  I was devastated.  I wanted to scream, “I’m only in my 50’s, dammit!  I’m not old!!”  It was shattering.  Then it hit me, “hey, I just saved two bucks.”  It’s all good.

Contributed By: Jill Turnbow

Jill Turnbow is writer/comedienne/actress, amongst other slashes.  She has performed her critically acclaimed one-woman show, Between Iraq and a Hard Place in Los Angeles, New York, Montreal, and San Luis Obispo.  She currently resides on the central coast of California.