Saturday, May 25, 2024

Doctor Love: Middle-Aged Crisis


Readers email your question to [email protected]. Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling, and length

Dear Doctor Love,
I have spent the last two years in a quiet panic because I am turning fifty this year. I am so unhappy that I can’t stop the changes that are happening in my body and every time I look in the mirror and see the beginnings of sagging jowls and lines around my eyes I feel like crying.
The one extra pound I gained in my thirties has tuned into twenty in my late forties and while I am not fat, the hourglass figure that I had in my younger years has become more of a pear.
My husband says I am the most beautiful woman in the world, but I can’t stop the feeling of despair that washes over me when I get a pain in my ankles and knees or can’t remember things as well as I used to. I see these things as signs of getting old, and I hate it.
How do I accept that I am no longer the beauty I was in the past? Is it something that just happens one day, or is it something I will have to work at for the rest of my life?
/s/Middle-Aged Crisis

Dear Middle-Aged,
Getting old hurts. It hurts the mind. It hurts the ego. It hurts the body. Your feelings of sadness at the changes taking place in your life are as natural as growing old. This doesn’t mean they have to control your life and make you miserable.
There are so many things that are better as you grow older—the first and most important is friendship. Real friendship that is deep and lasting, full of respect, laughter, and understanding. Revel in those friendships, cultivate them and cherish them. They are women who feel the same pangs of fear that you do but never see the reason you should have those fears. These are pals who will join you in yoga, margaritas at two in the afternoon and a road trip to the nearest spa.
You could forgive yourself those few extra pounds but if you can’t embrace them, tackle them with a light workout a few times a week. Get rid of them while boosting your deflated ego and sense of self-worth.
There are many things to be proud of in your life. You have a half-century of experience and memories, and plenty of time to make more. When you are eighty, you can smile when you hear someone say, “She was a beauty in her youth,” and be happy in the knowledge that there is more to living well than beauty.

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