In one week, I’ll be forty-six years old. Young by many standards, old by others. I guess it’s middle-aged – if I live to be over ninety. I’m generally blasé about getting older as I acknowledge it is a privilege denied to many. I appreciate the wisdom that comes with each new spin around the sun and really don’t care about my wrinkling skin and drooping body parts. What my body looks like is irrelevant compared to what it can do. But that’s where getting older is affecting me. My body simply can’t do what it used to.
In the past six months I’ve realised I can’t handle fatty foods anymore, as I get very bloated and nauseous. I’ve developed lactose intolerance (I’ll spare you the description of what too much milk now does to me!) More than two alcoholic drinks makes gives me an instant headache. My left knee, which has always been a bit dodgy, now takes a week to recover from overexertion. Ten minutes in the sun and I’m red raw burnt. And I just ordered new glasses because my right eye is deteriorating rapidly. I feel very fucking old! I’m aware that many of these problems are a result of not looking after my body enough, rather than a symptom of aging. I guess it is the fact that I’m at an age where I feel the effects of poor choices more than before.
I’m usually a glass half-full kind of person, able to find positives in most circumstances. Then other days, fear can hit me out of nowhere and I feel a whoosh through my stomach like when you bottom out on a roller coaster. I had that today. Oddly brought on by a cup of coffee. My husband bought me a Grande latte from Zarraffa’s, something I’ve always loved. However, it was too much milk for the lactose intolerance I refuse to accept and I ended up in bed with severe stomach cramps. Laying there, feeling angry at myself for yet again ignoring the advice to stop drinking milk, I quickly turned maudlin. I thought about how both my Mum and paternal Grandma died at 59 from cancer. Melodramatically, I decided that meant, as of next week, I have just 13 years left. I did the maths and worked out how old that would make my kids so I could gauge whether they’d be old enough to cope without me. I determined Mick would be young enough to remarry. I wondered whether I would meet my Grandchildren. I cried at the prospect of not being around to meet them. Yep, I went right down the rabbit hole!
Now I sit here writing, struggling with a bloated stomach because I went on to eat hot chips for lunch. Seriously – when will I learn? I did at least buy lactose-free milk for tomorrow’s coffee. I feel a little sheepish about how far I let my self-pity go this morning. I acknowledge that I am exceptionally blessed to have a fully able body, great health considering my history of poor choices and live a lifestyle that many people will never be fortunate enough to get a chance at. The issues I am now having are minor inconveniences that I can minimise and control. Perhaps I just needed to write this out to force a little perspective. So, I am off to get my glass half full mindset back, probably with a glass completely full of wine. It is Friday after all – and I really never do learn!
By the way, my 60th birthday party is going to be AMAZING!
Photo – two dinosaurs? 🙂