General Question

syz's avatar

I'm having trouble accepting the physical changes associated with aging. Am I alone?

Asked by syz (35804points) November 3rd, 2022
26 responses
“Great Question” (12points)

I have always been naturally flexible, what my sister called “freakishly strong”, and able to easily pick up sports and other physical activities/skills (hiking the AT, rock climbing, biking, scuba, etc.).

Now menopause has kicked my ass, I’ve blown out both of my knees, I’ve put on weight, I don’t sleep, and everything hurts.

I still have a healthy libido, but I don’t feel attractive and I am old and fat and therefore invisible. My relationship has been a celibate one for years.

How does one reconcile reality and time with a mentality that doesn’t want to accept it?

Topics: , ,
Observing members: 0
Composing members: 0


kritiper's avatar

“Use it or lose it” was what I was told.

chyna's avatar

Hello @syz, so good to see you again.
I agree with you on the aging process. As we women age, we become invisible to others. If I am in a store and a clerk sees me and a younger person, they speak to the younger person first even if I am there first. This has happened many, many times. I have gained weight, body parts have worn out and I’m not the same person I used to be. My hair is thinning, I have crepe skin, and I haven’t been asked out in years. It really doesn’t seem to be the same for men.
I have two older brothers that are married and women still flirt with them.
How do I reconcile to this? I pretty much go to work and then home and don’t go out. I have long given up on ever dating again.

syz's avatar

@chyna It’s so true. The perspective from this side also highlights just how poorly women are perceived and treated in this (and many other) cultures. The only good side is that I don’t give a crap about others’ opinions.

syz (35804points)“Great Answer” (5points)
janbb's avatar

@syz Great to see you here! I’m very sad about aging too lately. I actually was in pretty good shape until fairly recently but now I’m in my early seventies and starting to slow down and have some heart issues, thinning hair, memory not as sharp, etc. It makes me sad. I’m not that concerned about how others perceive me but I am bothered by the physical slowing down and the prospect of the end of life issues.

syz's avatar

@janbb Yeah, there’s still so much that I want to do and see, and I’m realizing that much of it is just not going to happen.

syz (35804points)“Great Answer” (5points)
JLoon's avatar

Age does what it does to all of us (sooner or later) – so no one growing old is ever alone.

But we each get different cards in the game. I’m only 30 and not facing what you are. But my mom is in her mid 60’s, still running marathons, wears a size 4 dress, and is just plain hott.

So I think even more than age, health is a key factor. And health can always be improved, injuries can be repaired, the right clothes & makeup can do magic, and a little self love & confidence is good for the soul.

janbb's avatar

@syz Yes, that is the sad part. And the pandemic really slowed things down and made me more anxious about things like traveling, etc.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

No your not alone. I can’t trust a fart to be dry. I faint and go blind for 15 or so seconds when I get up to go pee at night.

My left hand and right knee are effed up.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Join the club; I started losing my hair in sixth grade, by 8th grade my hairline moved ¾rds of an inch. That was many many MANY years ago !

canidmajor's avatar

Oh, honey. Welcome to the pack. The thing that bothers me most is the stuff that hurts. All the damned time. For a while I was the target of guys in their 70s who wanted, as my friend put it, “a nurse with a purse”. It had nothing to do with how funny or smart or compassionate I am, they just wanted, basically, a wife-servant. I put on more weight, and they left me alone.
I still like living, I like not answering to anyone, and although I am not conventionally attractive, at least my words carry more weight than my boobs do now.

And frankly, my right hand can be a charming night time companion.

The physical failures can be pretty unpleasant, but I still prefer to live. You have a lot of good things to say, you have a lot of insights, find a new tribe, shift your focus, enjoy things differently.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m 59,and one of my dearest friends is a woman who’s 72. She still works and has her health, but I see her invisibility. I see what happens to women in our society.

smudges's avatar

@syz Thank you for saying what I’ve been feeling since age 50 or so – 66 now, and felt ‘over-the-hill at 40; felt like my life was over.

I think the pain is the worst. My back has such severe arthritis that when the spine doc was trying to give me a shot the needle bent. They had to call my insurance company to get approval for another shot done in a different place. He said there just wasn’t enough room for the needle in the first spot. I can’t take NSAIDS due to stomach issues and tylenol is worthless so I hurt after standing for 15–20 minutes. Haven’t been in a big store like Walmart for 6–7 years because just the walk from the parking lot to the door wears me out.

The other thing I miss is male attention. I was a blond, blue-eyed, white-smile woman with a curvy figure who got lots of looks. Now I’m overweight (working on it), smile’s not so white (working on it), whites of my eyes are no longer so white, hair is way more silver than blond, and sometimes I walk with a limp or am out of breath.

I’d love to share some experiences with someone but fear that at this rate I’ll die alone, literally.

I know there are therapists who specialize in geriatrics – hate that word – is that something you’d be interested in or think would help? They can’t change what’s going on with you physically, but they can help the way you think about it. If nothing else, pour your heart out here. There’s lots of support and empathy.

gondwanalon's avatar

I’m 71 and feel your pain. I also use to be a physical beast and have seen the slow decline of physical decline over the years. Understand that physical decline is a natural and inevitable process. Also try to dwell on all the things that you can do. Also we can slow the age related decline by doing daily calisthenics and light weight lifting.

Also seek expert advice. Gyms are a good source. A workout buddy(s) can be very helpful.

My wife is also 71 and last week we completed a north rim to south rim hike of the Grand Canyon in 2½ days with no problems. We spent many months in specific training for that. Last October we paddled in 18 mile canoe races in Hawaii and made it to the awards podium. Last August I represented the USA (70’s age class) in world canoe competition in London (I got eliminated in the semi finals). So much fun.

There’s hope for us elderly folks. Remember to think positive and that it’s better to exercise a little everyday than a lot once in a while.

Good health! Stay strong!

zenvelo's avatar

Just for the record, men also experience being invisible after aging. For me, it began in my late fifties and now, ten years later, it is a regular occurrence. It is not so much age as keeping one’s appearance and fitness.

I thought much of the complaints about aging were really about not caring for oneself until I hit 63, then it seemed like everything went downhill fast. My running deteriorated, my knees began to ache, my ability to keep my weight down. And about the same time my hair began to thin for no reason other than age.

Thinning hair is the most confounding because now my scalp gets sunburned.

chyna's avatar

@zenvelo I’m so glad you weighed in with a man’s point of view. It’s so disheartening that we can’t get our bodies to do what they used to do. I’ve complained to my doctor about weight gain and other things and she just says “yeah, it’s the aging process”. That doesn’t make it any better, but I’m glad I’m still as healthy as I am.

gondwanalon's avatar

I left out a health condition that I’ve been dealing with for 22 years which is atrial fibrillation (a-fib). Dealt with many procedures hospital stays, complications and very strong drugs that did more harm than good. All in an effort to keep my heart beating normally. Thanks to modern medicine my heart has been able to beat normally over 99% of the time. When my heart is in a-fib my world feels like it suddenly is at 30,000 feet elevation and I’m dragging a tire. Also it feels like there’s a tourniquet tied around my heart and I can’t get enough air into my lungs. My cardiologist says my heart is very strong and he encourages me to do as much physical exercise as I can even when my heart is in a-fib. After exercising I’m usually exhausted and spend the afternoon in a stupor (feeling sick and miserable) on the couch.

2 days ago at about 8 am my heart went back into a-fib for no apparent reason (I was just doing some easy leg raises while laying on the floor). Saw my cardiologist yesterday and he confirmed that my heart was in a-fib with an ECG. In 2 weeks he will shock my heart back into normal rhythm (if my heart doesn’t revert back to normal rhythm on its own). In the mean time I suffer but think that there are so many people my age and younger who are far worse off than me and who would love to be in my shoes.

The best of good health to you!

mazingerz88's avatar

Alone? Big nope! I bet there are billions of us globally. It is as if we are transitioning into another dimension when aging.

My first and foremost focus is to preserve and fortify my mental well-being. By being aware not to bring unnecessary harm upon myself.

Worrying had consumed so much of my brain energy for years. And all that worrying amounted to…nothing really. Time to stop all that.

ragingloli's avatar

If you were alone with that, there would not be industries dedicated to hair implants, cosmetic surgery, wigs, hair dyes, or Tom Cruise’s entire film output since he hit 30.

KNOWITALL's avatar

No you certainly aren’t alone. I am about to turn 50 and exercising like a fiend to keep weight off and my muscles strong.
My skin is starting to be crepey which is annoting and unattractive, too.
But I try to practice grace and gratitude, as many are not granted the opportunity to age. The pain is not something I’m looking forward to at all.

smudges's avatar

To all of us brave and lucky souls who face aging:

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ~Sophia Loren

LostInParadise's avatar

I try to look at senior citizenry as a new phase of life. Yeah, there are new aches and pains and physical limitations. On the other hand, I have been retired for over a year and have no regrets about not working. I do some volunteer work and have been catching up on reading and hope to do some traveling.

mazingerz88's avatar

^^Travel and get lost…in paradise? :)

LadyMarissa's avatar

NO…you are NOT alone!!! For me, I had to find a way to “accept” what was happening to my body while, at the same time, NOT “giving in” to the changes!!! Sometimes I had to continue to “push through” whatever was happening & it wasn’t always easy. I was fortunate in that my husband was going through the ED phase at the same time I hit the menopause phase & we found a different way to be intimate without having physical relations!!!

The Pandemic did truly add many challenges to my journey in that I pretty much became a recluse & my physical activity became almost non-existent. I had to remind myself frequently that my beauty came from the “inside” & that the old, fat woman I was seeing in the mirror was the “outside”. Anybody that couldn’t see past that old, fat woman to the kind & loving person on the inside, just didn’t really like ME!!! At first I was insulted that no guys were interested & then I got to thinking about it. Since my husband has passed, I’ve NOT met anyone that I truly want to be intimate with, so that means that I’ve NOT met anyone who excites me & I’m fine with that!!! I still carry the love that my husband & I shared & that is enough to keep me going!!!

Pandora's avatar

Believe it or not, I find we do it to ourselves. What I mean is that I find its not our age that is the primary problem, it’s how we behave. When we were young and ignored it didn’t matter. We were too busy to really care and we didn’t really need anyone. Getting unwanted attention could be just as annoying as being ignored. We were young and full of energy and easily walked around with a smile on our faces and full of confidence that comes with being self-reliant. Then we find we need help as we age. After years of priding ourselves on being self-reliant, we resent needing to ask for help. We aren’t quick to smile because it’s a chore to go out and we expect negative reactions.

I find when I dress well and feel my best and most energetic, I get attention. When I feel like crap, I have no doubt it shows in how I interact and through my body language, and demeanor.

My husband is a very friendly guy. Where ever he goes he’s quick to get help and make friends. When he is in a suit he even gets more attention. How we dress sends a message about how we feel. People who dress up tend to smile more and feel more confident and approachable. People who dress like they don’t care seem less approachable. My mother-in-law has made a ton of friends in her neighborhood in two short years. She’s very friendly to all her neighbors and speaks to all of them. She’s in her 80s and many of her neighbors already call her mom and they look out for her and my father-in-law.

I’m not like her or my husband. I never made friends quickly. I tend to read people’s expressions to well and at the hint that I feel my attention is unwanted I back off completely. My husband never catches the hint and eventually, they grow fond of him.

But my point is that it isn’t all about age. It’s about what we project to the world as we age.
Unless you go to a doctor’s office. They don’t care for women patients and they especially don’t care for older women who are going through changes.

So to answer your question. I try to be kind to myself and figure, dead is worse than getting old. So long as my brain is still functioning and I can wash and feed myself, I’m good. I try to remember to smile more in public.

smudges's avatar

^^ I don’t think you’re really answering the OPs question. She’s talking about the physical changes that come with aging and only briefly mentions how she looks.

I agree that how we present ourselves can contribute to how we feel, but it’s certainly not the only thing that contributes.

I so disagree with your statement about doctors not caring for women patients – not wanting them – and if that’s the kind of docs you’ve had, you might want to change docs. All of my many docs are and have been extremely respectful, gracious, kind and attentive. They want to know what I think and how I feel and don’t dismiss me. I’m an intelligent person who is highly sensitive and picks up cues easily. I would never go back to a doc who wasn’t as described.

Pandora's avatar

@smudges Negative feelings contribute a great deal to how we physically feel. I did point out that it isn’t all about aging.

As for doctors, I wish I could easily switch doctors without having to jump hurdles with my insurance. I did point out that it isn’t all about aging and you are lucky if you find a good doctor. I have had friends recommend good doctors but those are usually the ones not taking new patients in or if you are sick they are so full that you may have to wait days to get an appointment.
As for the aches and pains of aging, there is nothing one can do but endure and try to be healthy. There is no secret to help someone reconcile with aging. Time doesn’t wait for you to accept it. It keeps marching. We keep decaying. I’ve had my ups and downs with aging and not wanting to accept it but its as useless as fighting with a storm. You won’t win. And I don’t bother to fight something that is a lost cause. I accept and move on.

But maybe its because of two things. I try to always be sensible about expectations and I know we all started decaying after 30 and I count my blessings for having lived as long as I have already. So people never get to feel the aches and pains of aging. They just die young.
Leaving behind an unfulfilled life.
It is exhausting some days, but I try to remember it’s better than no life which I’m hoping ends in a quick manner and not long years bedridden and wishing for death.

Answer this question




to answer.

Mobile | Desktop

Send Feedback