How one local woman ensures 50 really is fabulous

By The Health News Team | December 7, 2023
Nancy Halladay of San Diego

Nancy embraced turning 50 with a social media challenge that put a highlight on health.

Nancy Halladay gets things done. She’s what you’d call a “doer.”

She likes to make plans — and follows through with them. She’s big on trying new things, learning new things, going to new places and meeting new people. And she does it all with a big, beautiful smile.

But as she approached her 49th birthday, Nancy found herself lacking her usual zest. “To be honest, I was not excited. Fifty just sounded … old.”

So, Nancy decided to cope with her pending birthday by doing a social media countdown. Each day, she thought, she will post something about the transition from her 40s to her 50s and tag it with the hashtag #fortiesfinaleyear.

“I have done different types of counting posts on Facebook before, like the days of a vacation,” Nancy says. “Then I thought, why not do it for a whole year? I’ll have a kind of small memoir that I can look back on and see all the things that I'm thankful for and all the things I’m doing to help myself build the life I want going into 50.”

Finding support — and balance

Nancy says she most wanted to balance her body, mind and spirit as she approached her 50s. She hoped to be physically healthy, but recognized she hadn’t exercised much throughout her 40s. She wanted to better understand her faith and the vital role it played in her life. And she wanted to figure out why she was feeling what she calls “deeply blue.”

“I was noticing perimenopause symptoms,” Nancy says. “I've always been a glass half-full person and worked hard to overcome adversity in my life. I didn't want to be jaded, and I really wanted to stay positive and be an example of forgiveness and tolerance to my kids.”

This is when Nancy turned to her Sharp Rees-Stealy physicians. Nancy has been a Sharp patient for decades. Her two grown daughters, Elly and Mia, have been Sharp patients since birth. In fact, Nancy so loved their Sharp Rees-Stealy pediatrician that she drove her girls to Chula Vista for appointments after moving to Carlsbad — and she did this for 15 years.

“I’ve found my doctors at Sharp to be my partners,” Nancy says. “They’re not just prescribing things and doing screenings.”

As part of a wellness check, Dr. Amity Clow, Nancy’s family medicine doctor at Sharp Rees-Stealy Rancho Bernardo, ordered blood work. Nancy was shocked when Dr. Clow informed her she has high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

“A year ago today, I would not be conscious of what I was eating — I was just kind of eating whatever I wanted — and I wasn’t exercising regularly. Now, I get up, take my supplements and cholesterol medicine, and then go to a park near my house and walk 30 minutes while I listen to a podcast by a trainer who also talks about faith. I only take Sundays off.”

Nancy says she is also cooking a lot. She calls it her “coming out of retirement” after having stopped cooking most weekday nights once her daughters left for college. “To help my high cholesterol and blood pressure, my husband, Mike, and I now cook at home three to four nights a week again,” she says.

And to address some of the perimenopause symptoms, including moodiness and fatigue, Nancy consulted with both Dr. Clow and Dr. Shadi Omidi, a Sharp Rees-Stealy OBGYN Nancy has been seeing for more than 20 years. Together, they worked to determine what might help, including medication and supplements.

“My doctors are just wonderful about getting me,” Nancy says. “Not just my physical stuff — they give me peace of mind too. That’s what you need in a doctor, and I can't imagine going to anyone else.”

Intentional about her next decade

Along with working to improve her physical health, Nancy began to make changes in her 49th year that related to her heart and mind. “I am more joyful because I'm more intentional about what I'm doing each day,” she says.

Nancy says she is striving to be more curious — curious about people, cultures, places, careers, art, spirituality, fitness, nutrition, health — the list goes on and on. She regularly journals to inventory how she’s feeling, what might be lacking, where negative feelings may be coming from, and how she can make changes to improve things. She also takes time to simply play.

“I have come to embrace playing,” Nancy says. “When was the last time, as adults, we just played? Sometimes, I go outside in the afternoon to just throw the ball to our dogs. I don't care that I spend 30 minutes and have ‘nothing to show for it’ — it fills me.

Another big change Nancy recently made came after receiving a small inheritance from her grandfather. “I call him my inspiration, and I wanted to use the money in way that would honor him,” she says.

Nancy decided to go back to school to study interior design. She also received her professional organizer certification and California real estate license.

“I now know I can redefine my life,” Nancy says. “I can take the reins and really carve out the space for the things I want.”

And it is these things Nancy focuses on when she does her daily #fortiesfinaleyear post. She shares a highlight of each day — and occasionally, a low point. In doing so, Nancy hopes to offer inspiration and motivation as she goes through this transition and sets herself up for success — which includes physical, mental and emotional health — in the second half of her life.

“Most importantly, I hope the posts show I'm ready for 50,” Nancy says. “Bring it on.”

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