11 ways to make your life after 50 a great one

As a friend once said to me: If you’re going to live, you’re going to get older. It kind of comes down to that, right? Time marches on, as they say.

Getting older means all kinds of things, some good and some, well, not so good. If you are over 50 and living with HIV, this time of life can present opportunities for growth but also some unique challenges, not only physically but also emotionally.

Here’s what my clients (let’s call them Lisa, Alan, and Tom) told me about their experiences:

Lisa, age 53, has been living with HIV for over 20 years. She’s feeling great, happy in her career and her relationship. “I look at myself in the mirror and I ask myself, ‘How did I survive this long?’” she says. “I feel lucky. And I can’t help but think about the people I knew who weren’t so lucky. I feel like I owe them in some way. All these years I got that they didn’t get? Have I used them well?”

Alan just turned 60. He found out he was HIV-positive a couple of years ago. At the time of his diagnosis he was eligible for full retirement and his company was starting to push him towards the door. He decided to take them up on their offer soon after his diagnosis. “My diagnosis was a real shock to me, in a lot of ways,” Alan recalls. “It was a wake-up call to get more serious about my life, to do something more meaningful. I’m still trying to figure that out. I feel wise some days, and pretty inexperienced on others. Where do I fit?”

Read Dr. McClain’s op-ed on HIV Plus Magazine.

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