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? 🙂
2 Comments Add yours
Such an honest piece of writing. I heard on the radio from the guy whose job it is to critic the societal changes around ageing. As we are living longer, working longer, and being more active and healthier for longer, middle age is now from mid 50’s, so you still have 9 more years to be under the middle age title. Old age is now mid 70’s around 73 onwards.
As for only reaching 59 like your Mum & Grandma, genetics is only a part of this. Epigenetics shows that we can switch our bad genes off and our good genes on. So you can sleep well knowing this may not be your story. I have lived 7 years longer that my Mum, 30 years longer than my Maternal Grandma (who I never met, as she died when my Mum was 4). I feel so blessed that I have had the benefit of relatively good health most of my life, and aim for that to continue well into my 80’s when I will really be in the old age category by then.
It’s trying at times to let go of foods we have loved for much of our lives, and kid ourselves that we still can have them, even when we have an adverse reaction to them. Our minds are amazingly powerful in telling us ‘it will soon pass’ and then we try one more time to test if that is the case, knowing that ‘YES’ it will be.
I love those jelly type lollies, have done since I was young. BUT they don’t like me ever so much, I feel glugged up by them now, and even seeing a video on what goes into making them didn’t stop me from eating them until I did some tapping on, ‘not eating them’. This was really really effective for about 4-5 years, until one day I ate one, and like a jelly baby addict I was hooked again, and my body reacted big time, as it hadn’t had these little glug babies for all those years. So I am going to tap on this issue again and let the jelly lollies sit back on the shelf and not in my stomach this year onwards.
Tell myself I can have many other choices that will make me feel way more energetic than any jelly lolly can, and when I feel the temptation to try, TAP TAP TAP on the issue and change the thought.
It is so easy to slip down the rabbit hole (LOVE this visual), so I’m with you in setting boundaries for what’s possible and choosing what’s more in keeping with healthier choices.
No more beating up yourself, myself, anyone else either, about our inability to not slip down the rabbit hole. Instead I’m going to notice that the rabbit holes are still there, I just have to navigate them and not slip in. This will be my test.
Thanks for this response Denise. What I’ve loved most about starting my blog is the affirmation I get from so many other people saying – ‘I do that too!’ – it is comforting for us all to know we are not alone. I’m so passionate now about sharing the darker stuff that we’ve all been too self conscious to speak out about. It is liberating!
Thank you also for sharing your story. I’ve really beaten myself up for making the same mistakes over and over, even though I know it is human nature.
And yes, I believe I can improve my genetic path – we will be having a big ‘Beat the odds’ party for my 60th birthday! 🙂 ❤