No matter how much I heard my Nana and her cousins complain and laugh about all the stages of aging, I never really thought it would happen to me.
I mean, I knew I’d get older, but I thought I was smart enough and strong enough to avoid all the issues they had. Not that my Nana was dumb. It’s just that women of that time weren’t necessarily privy to all the information we have now. I know more about food and exercise than they did and, for the most part, I employ that knowledge. My Nana led a very sedentary lifestyle. She wasn’t a super active person. Sometimes, I’d catch her doing some floor exercises. It was always for some upcoming special occasion. It wasn’t her daily routine. Not even her weekly routine. But then, I didn’t meet her until she was well into her 50’s. Her generation sort of gave in to aging at fifty.
My mother’s generation had Jane Fonda and aerobics and JackLaLanne and smoothies. My mom went back and forth, but mostly, she remained active and slim. Then she hit her fifties, and weird shit started happening. The woman who had always been a size 4 was suddenly getting a tummy. Can I be honest? I was sort of glad that she was finally filling out. She and my sister (who inherited her skinny genes) always made me feel so… fat. Looking back at my pictures, I wasn’t fat. But when your mom is a Size 4 and your sister is a Size 0, you feel like a bit of a lard ass.
My mom started to get all those aches and pains that Nana had complained about and it wasn’t that easy to get out on the tennis court anymore. In fact, after one particular set, she ended up with a ballooned up knee and had to walk with a cane for several weeks! You know what I said? She wore the wrong shoes. I won’t wear the wrong shoes, I arrogantly thought to myself.
But now I’m closing in on the big five-oh-no and things are shifting here, too. I’m feeling a lot of those aches and pains and I’m paying for my arrogance. I was feeling really good last summer, so I got back to jogging. I wore the right shoes. I even had inserts in them… very expensive inserts! My plantar fasciitis was starting to bother me more than usual, but I just dropped a dress size and I was loving that, so I ran through the pain. One day, I got out of bed and couldn’t even walk to the bathroom, the pain in my foot was so bad. So now I’m in physical therapy because I haven’t been able to walk without pain for the last four or five months. It’s even hard for me to do yoga without straining the ligaments! I have an MRI and a trip to the orthopedist scheduled.
Orthopedist… lordy, that sounds so old.
There are so many more tests and scans and blood tests you have to do at this age. Less food you can stomach. More aches and pains. Fewer exercise options. I can’t even see without readers anymore! I have my contacts in to correct my overall vision, but to see the phone or the book in my hand, I need +200 readers. Do you know how hard it is to find cute readers? Really fucking hard! Every pair out there makes you look… OLD!
Thankfully, I did finally found some cute ones that I love. They even came in a cute little box with some inspiring thoughts. Here’s what the outside of the box says:
“This is for the people who are not in the long process of giving up. It has everything to do with age, but nothing to do with your job, your gender, or whether you live in Orange County or Hazard County. It has to do with being who you are and owning it.”
I’m trying to own that I’m aging. I know… I know… we all get older. It’s true. But there’s a difference now… a certain shift that actually starts to hurt. I suppose at this point, you either give up or you manage the inevitable. I’ve been doing so much research and reading to do my best at managing the next phase… to make it as good as it possibly can be. I’ll still break some rules that I’ll probably regret (my physical therapist gave me crap for wearing heels, but lord help me, I feel weird if I don’t elongate my short little legs) and I’ll probably give up and give in to certain rites of passage (gray hairs), but so help me…
I’m not giving up just yet.