Text by Elaine Walters, Copyright 2019
Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019
Fear and Age at 50
I feared the idea of turning 50. That number just began to hover over me around the age of 45. I sailed through my 30’s and early 40’s as if I was still a 20 year old. Those ages didn’t slow me down in the least. I felt like I had my entire life ahead of me and I had so many ideas about who I wanted to become. I lived passionately, pretty carelessly, and a bit on the wild side. I was a slave to my heart and quite impulsive because of that. But I had time, so much time make it all happen.
Then, before I knew it, I was looking in the mirror, seeing the changes. The person staring back didn’t quite look like me anymore. Then came the realization that nothing in this life is forever. I think we know that, but it’s different when the time actually comes. It’s definitely a stop and pause moment. It’s scary, the impermanence of everything, health, family, friends, careers, and the seemingly simple gift of movement. To quote a friend, “the correlation between age and loss is not unfounded.” It has definitely been a turning point in my life. A lot of reflection and “what will my legacy be, what have I done that’s important, and what happens now?”
So, here we are ~ midlife. I’m still scared, but you know what? I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone a TON in this last year. I joined CrossFit after debilitating back pain when everyone told me not to, I started a business (at fucking 50!), and last week I got in front of the camera for this photoshoot.
The photoshoot was a big one. For as long as I can remember, maybe as far back as 9 or 10, I have been hyper focused on my body’s every flaw. Every dimple, every roll. Where I’m too flat and where I’m too full. I got into bodybuilding because that’s where I was going to reshape everything that was wrong with me. I worked hard, as I always do when I want something, but the harder I worked, the harder I was on myself and my shape. The closer I got to being on stage, the more my imperfections were magnified. Then, came a moment where I thought, this isn’t what this is supposed to be about. I do this because I want to be strong, I want to feel powerful, but mostly, I want to love who I’ve come to be.
This is when my original no, I’m not comfortable enough with my body to be photographed changed to, yes, I love who I’ve become, I want to do this. I couldn’t have been more comfortable being photographed on this lovely farm. The horses, the sun, the beautiful barns. These are things that have always brought me peace, a deep connection to my soul, and all that is important to me. All of the curves that I cursed were no longer even a thought. I was at home. Maybe this is what midlife brings, realizing the things that truly matter in life, finding where beauty and strength truly exist.
In retrospect, I think I’ve lived chasing my future so intently (where will I be tomorrow), that I’ve never actually been present. I’ve never loved the moment. I’ve never loved ME in the moment ~ this moment. And the deeper truth is, I’m not sure it was my future I was chasing at all. I was chasing a better version of me. So maybe my 50’s needs to be less about fear and more about what is now, who I am now, and just loving her, in this very moment.
About The Author: Elaine Walters lives and works in Wilmington, Delaware. Outside of the office, all of her time is spent riding horses and running her nutrition and fitness business where she coaches clients that are fed up with the diet industry. This is Elaine’s first contribution to Tony Ward Studio.
She can be found on Instagram @elainecoale