63 Comments
Aug 13, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

I feel like this is a very important post. I'm really tired of hearing people say things like "60 is the new 40" (usually spoken by a 40-year-old). Unless we suddenly become immortal, our bodies have finite limits. Things wear out. We should acknowledge and respect that.

My new limit is heels. I love beautiful shoes and used to wear heels every day. One day I woke up and my feet refused. As I prepare for a formal wedding as the MOB, I have [grudgingly] come to terms with wearing a very low heel for the ceremony, and switching to flats immediately after. Do I hate it? Yes. Have I accepted it? Not yet. Will I? Eventually.

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Aug 13, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

I ended up barefoot at both my son and daughter's weddings.

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I gave up heels many years ago and never regretted it. Same with dresses and skirts. I only wear pants now. Much more comfortable.

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I haven't worn heels since my early 30s because my feet refused! I can't honestly imagine it. The only benefit to being over 50 is no one else thinks I "should" anymore.

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Aug 13, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

Love this post and I have had very similar experiences. Over 50 I've really learned the value of rest. I no longer sleep poorly and then try to "fix" feeling crappy the next day by having a hard run while exhausted. If I need more sleep or a nap, I take what I can with no guilt. I went to a wonderful workshop a few weeks ago and ended up exhausted some days from heat and humidity in the South, and I took afternoon rests when I needed them. If I missed a reading to have a glass of wine and a snack in my room, or a silent walk in a beautiful natural area, then so be it (and those were good choices for me). Also - comfortable shoes. They may not be beautiful but I will not suffer with any part of myself aching any longer.

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🙌🏼

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Oh I love this too. The "I didn't sleep well but I'll just try to do everything I had planned in my day" hits home.

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I have also come to the “I don’t do that anymore” when it comes to crow pose In yoga. My bonier shins and less muscular upper arms mean it just hurts! And I need a lot more padding under my Irish bum to do boat pose. And I can try or skip these poses without any sense of failure. I also said, without thinking, “It’s not my job to be hot anymore!” That came out of nowhere with wonderful relief. Then my

50-something friend said, “I never thought that was my job.”

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At 71, I can still do the crow pose, but I do it rarely, with lots of pillows in front of me in case I fall over, and there are other poses I can't do. I used to be able to get my hands to meet when I'd raise one arm above my shoulder, bend it and take the other arm from below, bend up, and hold hands. I haven't been able to do that for 5 or 6 years. At certain times, because of bursitis, I can't do a bunch of poses in yoga (or routines in Pilates or Essentrics), any pose requiring a knee bent at about 90 degrees is impossible. I think everyone comes to know their own body.

My father, now 96, was an avid unner who won senior awards at races. He had to stop running at a certain point because of his knees and back. So he would walk miles early in the morning (in Phoenix, very early because of the heat -- like 4 am. Eventually he could only do two miles around the high school track. Then, at about 89 or 90, that became too much. His knees have become worse from bone-on-bone arthritis, and in the past 6 months, he relies more and more and now mostly on a walker, though he can handle small distances, like cooking in the kitchen or putting stuff in or taking out of the refrigerator or stove -- without the walker. On certain good days, he can walk more. He walks from the car to the supermarket but gets the cart in the parking lot because the cart works like a walker. Driving is not a problem.

I have had braces on my legs for years and I have never been a runner.

We all have some disability, and the older you get, the more disabled we get. At my job, I have to lug boxes full of books from one part of our college building to another, but now, if they seem at all heavy, I put the box on one of our library carts.

At a certain point, falling is what old people need to avoid more than anything else.

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Aug 13, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

what you described not being able to do in your 50s is exactly what i discovered i had no tolerance for at 22! 😂 things i used to do but won't anymore: ask my friends to help me move (hiring movers isn't cheap, but it's cheaper than 6 months of physical therapy for a bad back!), hiit workouts (yea, that "edge" = good boundaries), bend over backwards to make a good impression on folks who don't deserve it, suffer fools...

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I wish I had learned younger to stop trying to make a good impression! I'm starting to learn it now in my 50s and paying the price.

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In my mid 50s I started to experience arthritic twinges, as well as lower energy levels. The added years brought with them a lot of unwanted pounds, to the point that I was trending toward morbid obesity. On reaching retirement age, and closing our business, I started doing research, first just to get my weight under control. This led to a 5 year journey, still taking place, into learning what caused the problem. Now at 74 I am far healthier than I was at 24, free of prescriptions, and down 60 pounds from my all-time high. My mind is clearer, I am pain and prescription free, and feeling the best I've ever felt. My wife has experienced the same metamorphosis, while our fellow seniors in the neighborhood continue to grapple with, and frequently die from, the various maladies that we've been taught to expect from getting older. I've become somewhat of an evangelist for nutrition, and my wife, bless her, frequently has to pull me away as I launch into a lecture. So I'll leave it at that, only quoting Dr. Robert Lustig: It's not your food that's the problem, it's what's been done to your food.

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I have very much the same story and I’ve lost 30 pounds since changing my diet and moving out of the city where I can explore the national forest where I live. I did have to give up riding a bike, which broke my heart, but after a few crashes I realized I did not want to break any bones.

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I'm sad that I'm in too much pain to ride my bike to the farmers' market today. But I'm going to learn from this.

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Amazing. Kudos!

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Aug 13, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

I just had a conversation about this today. I don't pick my appearance apart as much any more. Not to say I don't care about how I look, or taking care of myself, I very much still do. But I actually love my middle aged, imperfect body more than I hated my younger more hard worked for one. I see how cruel I was to myself, setting insane standards and never being satisfied. Then I saw my body as an object, currency, or a measure of my attractiveness. That shit doesn't work and isn't of interest to me anymore. Now I see my body as a marvel - walking, digesting, swimming, feeling. I look in the mirror and even with the soft spots and the freckles, the gravity laden boobs, I like what I see. I wish I gave up hating it a lot sooner

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Same, girl. 🙌🏻💝

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Aug 13, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

I just turned seventy and had to acknowledge that due to an arthritic left knee, I can’t ride my old Raleigh anymore. Solution: I got an electric bike. Though one or two friends called it cheating to get a mechanical boost, I listen to my pain and act accordingly. With a boost I can go for almost forty miles and enjoy myself greatly. Nothing like riding to the Rockaways on a summer day…for me the key is not being foolhardy in denying bodily changes but also not succumbing to self pity if there are possible solutions or aides.

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A good philosophy…. It’s been hard to accept slowing down little by little, losing my drive to work out like a maniac, desperate to keep pounds off as I age.. Self-acceptance and being cognizant that my choice of attitude can still be mine to make… thanks for sharing.

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Aug 13, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

I don't stay up past midnight anymore (used to routinely stay up until 2:00, for decades, reading, writing, or watching TV). A few years ago (I'm 62 now), I began to notice how much better I felt mentally and physically when I got more sleep.

I don't wear any kind of shoes now that aren't made specifically for excellent support for weak ankles and problem feet (plantar fasciitis, herl spurs, weak, frequency broken bones from osteopenia). I once had 107 pairs of shoes, heels, flats, flip flops, dressy boots, you name it. Now I have 20 pairs, all bought in last two years since I decided to get serious. (Brands are mostly Vionic, Orthofeet, Therafit, Merrell, if anyone needs to find similar). And I don't walk barefoot ANYWHERE any more, no matter how short the trip.

I don't avoid going to physical therapy, any time, every time it's warranted.

All that may make you think I'm in bad shape, but actually I'm in far better shape than I was three years ago when I stopped (began) doing those things. Lost 70 lbs. Walk 4-5 miles 5 times a week. Lowered cholesterol. Play tennis weekly.

Thanks for the post and thoughtful comments!

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Wow! PS Relatedly, I’m considering selling off my collection of wooden clogs. (I’ve got like 20 pairs.)

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Aug 14, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

How interesting! I loved clogs in my 40s. In the last month I have ordered and returned something like four pair, they no longer seem to fit or feel comfortable. We can outgrow them, apparently..Oh well!

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A long time ago I figured out I felt better going to bed earlier and getting up earlier - then I found a hobby that cemented that. I got rid of all the shoes long ago that aren't easy and comfortable (and yes, I had to wear sneakers to my mom's funeral but I mean SERIOUSLY nobody cared). I'm in far better shape than I was a number of years ago AND I just landed myself in trouble with sciatica, which could have been prevented with things I should have been doing. Sigh. This being human is such a learning thing.

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I don't boogie board anymore. I did a face plant in my 51rst year and it took a few years to get over the pain/disk damage, etc. I could do it again but the thought of not being able to write, of needing my mate to dress me, or not even being able to sit at my desk keeps me from it. I gave away my board last year after years of never using it. Now I'm 66 and I envy my friends who still do it but I love to drift around in the water.

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I am wondering whether I might have done some disk damage this week...oy.

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I sure hope not but it doesn't take much to do it. The good news is how resilient the spine can be even if the pain visits on and off for the rest of life. It's kind of like a perfect biofeedback mechanism. It let s me know when I need to resume yoga, get out if the chair or just take a walk (unburdened). It has helped me set limits without limiting me in any if the important areas of my life. Good luck. I hope you feel better soon.

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Thank you!

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Oh i so hope for you that you haven't! Take very good care of it.

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Aug 13, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

Dating. The final frontier of "no – I don't do that anymore." :) Newly back in the pool, and I've discovered that there are positions, emotional styles, locations, power dynamics, societal sexual "rules" that I finally realized I just don't do anymore. The key was figuring that out and learning how to articulate it to myself and others... a work in progress. But I feel invigorated, empowered!

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I forgot about dating! After my final marriage, a younger man wanted to date me so I thought I would give it a try. No, just no.

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Forgot about marriage, too. That’s another thing I have given up. ;-)

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Aug 13, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

haaaa meeee too lol

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Aug 14, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

About seven years ago I was pursued by a beautiful 31-year-old woman. I was flattered and it felt great, but the reality of that incongruous relationship was glaring. Two years later I met a wonderful woman one year and six days younger than me. My life is more full than I ever imagined it could be!

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Aug 13, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

As a 54 year old equestrian who has had a few hospital trips already, I focus far more on my partnership with my horses than I used to. I spend a lot more time on the ground with them than in the saddle, forming bonds and just hanging out. I still ride, but I don't feel the need to be daring anymore. And I pay lots of attention to my horse's state of mind rather than trying to push him to do things when he's distracted or anxious. But I have been pleasantly surprised at how moving to the country and owning horses has increased my fitness significantly. I can do physical labor that would have been unthinkable for me 10 years ago. I gave up drinking alcohol over 5 years ago, which has been enormously beneficial for my physical and mental well-being.

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Amazing. I stopped drinking 3 or 4 years ago, because it stopped agreeing with me. I think it probably helps me in assorted ways.

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Aug 14, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

My self-awareness and self-care have become priorities. The conversation between my mind and body is an ongoing struggle for reality. My mind says I’m 30, but my body says the reality is I’m 60. I am constantly aware of the men my age who are stooped over and toddling along in their frumpiness that screams, “I’ve let go.” I am constantly looking for the balance between age appropriate clothes and behavior that will keep me appearing younger than I am while not being ridiculous, desperate, or even garish. I work a lot harder to maintain my mobility and agility, taking up yoga (love it), which I used to think was only for young people. I also find that I can’t allow my mind to be slack, so I read a lot more and have recently passed my engineering certification to enhance my career. Overall, as my age unapologetically progresses, I find everything is a challenge and I can no longer take for granted a life that is so precious, delicate, and relatively brief.

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Good perspective, Kim.

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Aug 13, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

I related to your post, Sari, on so many levels. Last Tuesday, the same scorchingly hot day you reference in your post, I helped move my daughter into her 4th floor NYC apt. After two treks up winding narrow steps, I said, "I'm done" and let my daughter, husband and a friend continue on.

(And I just discovered ferry rides for $2.75-- a true reward. We took the one from Brooklyn to midtown!)

For many years I've heard my now 98-year-old father say "I don't do that anymore" referring to his long runs and biking his age each birthday. That ended at age 90 when he started counting kilometers. At 96 he quit biking outdoors. At 62, driving from NYC to Chicago the other day, I used the term for the first time when after 9 hours on the road and many more to go, and the lights of uncoming cars distorting my vision, I said to my husband, "I can't do this anymore" -- driving in the dark on the highway, especially after so many hours. I gave the wheel to him. He's a week away from sixty.

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That Ferry is a joy! And a bargain.

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Aug 13, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

I’m 32, and I used to have an iron stomach. Could eat anything in any quantity without too many negative repercussions. I eat much healthier now than I did even 10 years ago but have noticed that painful bloating is a much more frequent occurrence when I overdo on the onion- or bean-based dishes. That was a sobering “oh god” moment for me. Looking into what high-FODMAP foods I might need to be careful about in the future.

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Aug 14, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

Drinking. I was never a big drinker, but I was a *good* drinker—I liked nice wine and really enjoyed the option of a little wind-down at the end of my day. But I don't metabolize alcohol like I did in my 40s, and it disagrees with my stomach, and god forbid I go out and have a couple of beers and then have to make that hourlong subway trip home on a sloshy bladder.

My husband doesn't drink, so it's not a big lifestyle change. And I still like my edibles, although that's an entirely different kind of timing and takes more planning than that evening glass of wine. I'll have a drink if I go out to dinner or at the odd event, but I give the occasional indulgence much more conscious thought, and always, always stop at two. (Glasses, not a.m.)

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I stopped drinking a few years ago for the same reason. It just doesn't agree with me at all. In fact, it makes me feel as if I've been poisoned. I tried to research and write and article about it, but, surprise surprise, there's been no research on women and decreased alcohol tolerance with age.

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I also stopped drinking. I did so because I reached my lifetime quota. I feel better. I sleep at night and every day feels so much better -- it's a gift.

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I've had the same experience with alcohol; my body just doesn't like it anymore. I can have an occasional glass of wine on a special occasion, but that's it. And half the time, I don't even think to have that anymore. Maybe someone needs to research the why behind this, if it indeed is an age-related thing for women.

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