Privilege Blog

5 Things To Love (Unreservedly) About Your Body Before You Turn 50

Friendly Italian Women from Flickr. Since they can’t speak English, I will tell you what they want to say. You can see by their smiles. They wish you the best. They wish you the joy of your youth. We all do.

What To Love, If You Need A Suggestion Today.

1. Your upper lip.
It’s plump. Smooth. Comparatively hairless. Touch it. Appreciate its resilience. Run your finger across that dandelion fluff you pretend is problem hair. Trust me. It isn’t.

2. Your eyebrows.
Do you have any hairs growing out of your eyebrows that make you look like an old courtroom lawyers? You know, long enough to have at least two degrees of curl? I thought not. Take a moment to cherish your perfect eyebrows. If you think body hair is a theme, you are right.

3. The backs of your hands.
Do they look like a topographical map? Do your veins want to leave you and join their cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Network Cable, in the ceiling? Does the slightest movement cause creases in your skin to ripple with the history of 600 months of life? No? So sit down. Hold your hands out in front of you. Open all your fingers wide. Close them. Turn your hands sideways. Pretend you are a hand model. Admire.

4. Overall health.
And if you aren’t doing right by your body’s enormous capacity right now for health, apologize. Not to me, to your body. In the next 12 hours do something in honor of your youth. Eat a piece of fruit. Or a carrot. Those bags of peeled baby organic carrots from Whole Foods are good. Drink a glass of water. Walk or move at some point when you customarily ride or sit. Thank you. Thank you so much.

5. Your neck.
Any resemblance to sandpaper? Any? Any at all? Case closed.

Image from supermuch’s photostream on Flickr

22 Responses

  1. This is a (yikes!) terrific reminder.

    Although the overall health one is a little bit…flip? I know several women who struggle(d) with health problems, less-than-minor and MAJOR, in their twenties and thirties.

  2. You're right. I tried to scoot around that by referring to capacity for health. I know that I am speaking on average, and as a result will ignore some. Not my intent, just a by-product and a reflection of my personal experience with effortless health as a young woman and more work required now.

  3. Unfortunately, I already have the curly eyebrows. Mine have always been (ahem) aggressive, though. I shudder to think what they'll be in 30-40 years.

  4. I enjoyed Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck. Your post is every bit as funny! Body hair was a theme with her too. At 54, I could add a thing or two: age spots! A sprinkling of freckles across my 23 year old nose became "sun damage" on my cheeks at 50.

  5. Thank you for scaring the shit out of me. I'm still in my forties and my hands already look like they're eighty. I hate it. I want a hand do-over.

  6. Thanks for the reminder. I complain about this and that now… but yes, I might as well appreciate the good bits now before even those get shot.

  7. Ouch. I'm going to bed now; apparently we need all the beauty sleep we can get.
    (Altho I am laughing…a little)

  8. Being well past 50 all I will add is that attitude and a big smile distract attention from all kinds of problem areas. Well, that and High WASP posture.


  9. Southern girl. Wear sunscreen on your face and your hands. Wear a hat. Take the stairs whenever you can — gravity is so cruel to the butt.

  10. I'm never sure which is worse — hearing younger women complaining about their wrinkles or body hair or whatever dire evidence of ageing they see on their bodies (which from my perspective looks like a long-lost Edenic state) OR hearing their confident assertions of how they plan to embrace their grey hair and wrinkles which, they are certain, will make their beauty have more depth. It was all I could do to smile and nod several years ago when my hairdresser said something like this — I really wanted to scream out questions about how disappointed she would be if, instead of those charming "laughlines" around her eyes, she got a wobbly jawline and pubic-looking hairs on her chin. That said, I'm generally accepting of the body I've got right now, and thrilled that I can still run 15K with it — Posts like these help me imagine the 75-year old who wants to smack me down for complaining about the good fortune I currently enjoy! Besides, it's Thanksgiving up here, and I'm practising giving thanks . . .

  11. I just want you to know I did not identify with *any* of this.

    So there.


  12. Have six years to go. Had a good workout today and plan to have an apple for dessert.

  13. I am 53 and never would have imagined the "line in the sand" that 50 would bring in terms of, well, beauty. To your point, my Brooke Shields eyebrows are grey and thinning; my "hand model" hands (remember me – I bleach my nails with lemon juice) are crepy; my upper lip now needs monthly waxing; and as to overall health, I was diagnosed with breast cancer ON my 50th birthday. Fortunately, I don't feel bad about my neck because, as my aunt told me recently, necks age well in our family. So, I think LPC's point is, love your body now before it falls apart.

  14. Thank you for the reminders. My mother says that the saddest thing about growing old is being "invisible." I think most young women find the glances of men they don't know to be bothersome and perfect the skill of being slightly aware of but generally ignoring the unwanted attention. I know I have. Sometimes I have to remind myself that when I am fifty, I will wish to be the recipient of polite but appreciative looks.

  15. Oh I love it!!! You know I remember thinking I had the biggest thighs in high school. Looking back-I weighed 98 lbs! Sheer insanity…I should have been wearing a bikini every day.

  16. Few spoken comments irritate me as much as the insanity (and inanity) of women whining about how their age has messed with their looks. The young ones (as described by materfamilias) sound vacant, the older ones might stop and think about our friends no longer here.

    If I am tempted to grouse I think about the several hours every hear I spend sitting in a breast cancer clinic waiting room (for an extremely low risk issue).

  17. Ugh. Thanks for this slap in the face reminder that I'm all that and more. Ugh……….

  18. I just recently noticed those veins…, have they always been so obvious, I wondered. I guess not. I try to stay focused on feeling good!

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