Sunday, May 2, 2010

Getting Old?

It has been amusing for me to hear people, in my generation, say things like, "Oh, I'm getting so old!" I would border between annoyance and disgust at the sound of that, ringing in my ears. "Old, really? Let's see, you're like 25, right?" At the time, I would wrongly assume that the person saying so didn't have much life purpose or had maybe wasted their youth, when really they were just making fun of themselves. I guess I'm used to hearing a person of interest, in my life, who is close to 90yrs. 'young', having little to complain about in that regard.

No matter how old you are, there is always purpose in life, despite how we might feel at the moment. But now, I understand a little more about getting older, physically speaking. I'm in my 30's and have discovered some unpleasant aches and pains in the last few years. I find myself, trying to tip-toe down the stairs at night, ever so softly, after opening up my kid's doors: and all the while, every joint in my body is popping and clicking about, as though I were no longer a well-oiled machine! What is up with that? It's kind of funny, but not really.

My son wants to spin 'round and 'round the room in circles to our favorite music. He says, "I'm gettin' dizzy!" And don't I know it, as I fall face-first into the bean bag, feeling like gravity is glueing me to the floor. I'm literally 'fallen and I can't get up!' This is the kid--me--who used to love the thrill rides at the amusement parks. I wonder how I would do if I tried some of those rides now? I've heard that if you don't exercise that part in your brain, for adrenaline or whatever it is, that you lose the ability to do crazy stuff without feeling sick. Time for me to keep on exercising--not only my 'spinning' but in general, too!

And then there is all the lifting of children, up and down, into the carseats and out. The van doors sometimes open automatically, and much of the time, they do not. They are awkward and not easy to pull, manually. But I can manage, right? My daughter comes down in the morning, too early for me, and wants to snuggle. I grab her with my strong, right arm and pull her next to me. No sweat, I can do this. The kids keep getting bigger and heavier, but my arms have become strong in the last 4 years from all of this wonderful 'exercise'. Well, guess what? It does catch up to you.

In the few years, since having my daughter, I've had ribs come out of place more times than I can count. My chiropractor does a great job readjusting them, every 3 or 4 months when it happens. But this winter, I've been feeling more out of breath than normal. And this is noticeable when I'm at rest: sitting here typing or maybe I'm driving somewhere. My chest feels tight and kind of like I can't get enough air in my lungs. I don't feel sick or really tired, just sort of compressed, if you will.

My last visit for an adjustment left me feeling quite sore. I had more ribs out than usual, this time closer to my collarbone and sternum area. As of now, the muscles across the pectoral area are on fire--especially on the right-hand side. If it doesn't subside in a week, I'll be going in to see the medical doctor. What is happening to me? Am I really 'getting old' as they say? I will not accept it. I cannot. But, however you want to look at it, our bodies are fragile and will continue to age as time goes on. There is little we can do about that. I know I can exercise better, reduce my stress, take care of myself. But I can't stop the age-old process that's been set in motion: someday, I will be old... and someday I'll leave this earth.

I think that God has put in some kind of activation system in our bodies. You know, like when something gets too close to the danger zone--a fail safe mechanism. For me, I read it as a *warning light* telling me to slow down a bit. I'm one of those go,go,go type personalities. My mind is always thinking ahead, to the next thing. I have a difficult time relaxing or taking time for myself. Must be the mom/multi-tasker in me at work. I heard a message this morning about taking time to listen. And not only to physically 'sit down' and be quiet; but to be still on the inside, as well. That takes more discipline than the outward appearance of stillness.

So when my body hurts or I feel run down, maybe I need to change something. Or, it may be just 'old age' as so many of my peers have pointed out. But I still can't accept it: I don't want to be old! What I do want to be is young at heart, always. I love it when an 89yrs. 'young' relative tells me that they don't feel much different, on the inside, than they did when they were in their 20's. That's inspiring to me! If I could still have that twinkle in my eye, that sense of purpose in my golden years--despite my physical condition--than I think it would be worth it to live out a full life.