In separate conversations with some friends this week, the subject of our bodies came up. We’re all between 49 and 55. At one time this would have been incessant breathless chatter about the latest gimmick in cardio or some infantilizing language about how “good” or “bad” we were at lunch.

This week’s dialogue produced some laughs and some basic sharing, but what I loved was the insight I had when my friend brought up the concept of the flat stomach being a thing of the past. Apparently common wisdom dictates that’s pretty much the reality “at our age.”

By Mary Ann Farley

By Mary Ann Farley

Suddenly it hit me that, finally, there is an advantage to never having had a flat stomach my entire life — I don’t miss it!

Not to sound like I’m resigned to couch potato status or anything. I feel better than ever before. I lift weights, punch a bag, do yoga and walk almost everywhere because I live an urban life. I eat a lot of salads and fruit, but I don’t pass up rice pudding if I’m really craving it and I’m an Italian woman who adores her pasta. Today I slathered peanut butter and jelly on some whole wheat toast (two slices) and devoured it like someone was going to take it away.

I’ve let go of the lamenting when I see a primo body on another woman. She looks great, but so do I. This is me. It’s who I’m supposed to be. It’s how I’m supposed to look. Thinking any other way is not honoring the Creator. This body is alive and pumping, it feels pleasure and pain and is unquestionably a miracle in its functioning and capacity.

I don’t have a flat gut. I have a very healthy appetite. When I was younger and heavier I would have hesitated to admit either. And I would have stared longingly at some other woman’s tight butt or toned abs and measured myself against it.

Now I’m 50. My body is precious. You’ve gotta love it and have faith it will love you back.