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AARP The Magazine

Photo Gallery: What 50 Looks Like

These people in their 50s tell you why they're happy in their own skin

Lisa Washington, 51

Washington, D.C.
Speech Pathologist

"Turning 50 was quite a shock for me. I come from a family that believes in seeking the fountain of youth, and I'm not old yet! So I tried a little Botox around the forehead and a little Restylane around the smile zone. When I looked in the mirror, I thought, 'Okay, I've got a few more years of being 49.' It's something I'd do again. I want to carry a comfortable presence about myself, and if that means a little embellishment, it's fine."

Ben Baker

Bonnie Salvo, 53

Chicago, Illinois
School Social Worker

"My philosophy is that beauty comes from within. In my field, I've worked with a lot of people who are gorgeous on the outside but their self-image is so poor. I have a good self-image — I'm a good person and respected in my field, so all that makes me feel good. I'm feeling okay about turning 53. I don't know if I'd ever get [plastic] surgery. Maybe 10 years from now. I'm not against it, but right now it's not a priority."

Ben Baker

Danny Yamamoto, 55

Los Angeles, California
Drummer

"The only thing that scares me a little about aging is general physical decline. To that end, I work out. I'm an avid runner. I started in my mid-20s, and it stuck. I love to run outside in the sun, and maybe in a few years I'm going to get really wrinkled — but that's not going to keep me from running. I think my ego boost comes from knowing that there aren't too many people my age who can run 10 miles and not die the next day! But I don't get off being the center of attention unless I'm doing a drum solo. Making music, that's my passion."

Ben Baker

Morgan Wells, 51

Annapolis, Maryland
Yacht-insurance Agent

"I should have been dead, like, 10 times. When I was 16, I was in a car that flipped. And I was struck by lightning in 1997 — I was on the bridge of a yacht. I saw a flash, and I was gone. Then there was the sound of static and my stepson, Ian, yelling, 'Daddy's dead!' I came flying back to the present. My eyes and ears were hemorrhaging. I have to have my ears rebuilt. Now, when I look at my face and my body, all these wrinkles and scars tell stories. I've never been into doing anything to make myself look better. I know who I am. I've made it this far, and that's pretty great."

Ben Baker

Darliene Howell, 57

Las Vegas, Nevada
Small-business Owner

"People think that if you're big, you don't have discipline. I definitely have discipline. I once went on a medically supervised liquid fast for a whole year. I'm a size 24. My family has always been this way; I can't change it unless I have surgery. I've become something of a fat activist. I eat a healthy diet and move and don't let things hold me up because I may appear to someone else an unacceptable. I believe I'm a beautiful person."

Ben Baker

Bryan Merson, 56

Los Angeles, California
Psychologist

"I feel at peace with my looks. Doing the work I do has helped me get comfortable with how I am. Also, as a gay man who grew up in the era of AIDS, I'm glad to have reached the age I have, and look forward to growing older. I saw so many friends and acquaintances cut down in their prime. My sister just turned 63, and she was regretful about it, but for me it's like, 'C'mon, I'm glad you're alive — you should be glad you are alive, too.'"

Ben Baker

Stella Moreno, 50

Anthony, New Mexico
Speech Pathologist

"Two weeks after I had my son, I turned 41. Two years later, we adopted our daughter from China, and I stopped coloring my hair. The first time I saw the gray, I thought, 'Oh, this is really different.' But my husband encouraged me every step of the way. I would get stopped with my little ones, and people would say, 'Are those your grandkids?' But simplicity has become very important to me. I just want to be healthy for my kids and set a good example. I don't want to be fixated on outside appearance."

Ben Baker

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