“Can’t pretend that growing older never hurts.” — Pete Townsend; Split Skirts
Otherwise Known as a Case of TMI
I tend to treat most things in life as some sort of experiment. Add x to y and see what pops up. Sometimes it’s what you expect, other times, not so much. In fact, I’ve often used motherhood (mine and others) to figure out what’s happening in my classroom. I usually know at least one of my “parents” in real life and can figure out quickly who is sincere, who is there blowing smoke up my rump, and who won’t show up in the first place.
As such, I treat my own aging as a fact-finding mission. It’s all one great experiment to figure out what’s going on and what to expect. While I admit that there’s a certain amount of pain involved in the process (not physical, per se, but a lot of ego crushing events), it’s not so bad that I generally can’t find humor in it.
When I describe my eyesight, which is changing in ways I could not have imagined, it’s generally in the same terms women use to describe clothing sizes. When I’m reading a magazine, I look at the text. I know, I KNOW, it’s 12-point type, but it looks like a 10 or an 8. When did that happen? But there is NO WAY I’m moving to a 14-point type. (laughing and sighing). It’s all so sad that I can no longer easily read like I could before. Sure there is technology, but I’m addicted to the feel of paper — the shiny, glossy, crumply, drag it all over the house paper. I suspect, however, as I age, this will change. Thank you Kindle for being the next step!
Not only do I have to deal with font sizes not being as they appear, I also have the beautiful effect of two different sight issues. I am on the cusp of being BOTH far and near-sighted. That, my dears, is just wrong. Intelligent design my a–! If there were intelligent design, far-sighted would just reverse near-sighted so you’d end up normal sighted — not in need of TWO lenses in the same glasses. Sure, my eyesight is getting better. Now, however, to see anything close, I have to take off my glasses. Yep, to read the stamp inside my rings, the glasses have to come off. Words cannot describe how weird I find this.
Just writing it tells the story, no? While I never had a beautiful body with extreme firmness, I had some. Not anymore. Add to that the effects of gravity and anything loose starts being pulled right to the ground. Doing push-ups is so humbling because all the jiggly parts just start drifting towards the floor. I’m alternately fascinated and repulsed by it, especially the tear-drop shaped ball of fat that gathers about my waist. I guess I should just be happy I’m willing to do a push-up, huh?
I hate doing toning and strength exercises, which is stupid because I can tell those are the ones I should be doing the most. Two years ago, true story, I could do 20 full-body (regular) push-ups. Thirty pounds on later and no such thing. I can barely eek out one. Of course, I stopped doing them at some point so I guess what needs to be sorted out is whether I stopped doing them because gaining weight made them harder or if I stopped doing them and then gained weight. Either way, it’s taking A LOT OF WORK to retrain my body to be willing to do them at all.
The same with stuff I drag around. It used to be I could easily grab 50 pounds and move it. Not anymore. I can see where I am losing strength. Obviously there is a fix, but you have to want to do it. I used to think that older women just had NEVER had strength. I can now see that if you don’t use it, you will lose it. Damn.
First, it really has become so much easier for me to gain weight. I mean, I put it on pretty fast regardless because I tend to eat some pretty unhealthy stuff in large amounts. However, now I can gain it without any kind of binge behavior. OY! That thing about your body not needing as many calories has to be true. Furthermore, I was never a big dieter so when I would bother, my body responded fairly well. Not as much now. In order to lose weight now I have to stay away from refined and processed food. I really do have to stick with fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. That’s hard for me because I like white foods. Still, it’s interesting to me to watch the process and realize that it can be under my control if I want it too.
Problem is, with so many other things to focus on in life, why bother with this one? Sigh.
When did my memory go? I’ll assign punishments and forget, or just not want to follow through. I can’t spell anymore. Thank goodness for spell-check. I’ll leave the office at school with a task and forget it by the time I’ve reached my room. It’s like my brain is a full sponge — nothing else is going in. However, I haven’t done any kind of data dump to free up some space. There are events in my life that seemed so AMAZING, people I would NEVER forget, that I’ve forgotten. As time has gone on, these memories have slipped to the bottom of my “to remember” pile, so I don’t. I used to make fun of those people, now I am one. Oh my.
So Is It All Bad?
One would assume with an ugly, saggy body, no memory, and terrible eyesight, that life gets worse. The weird thing is I think it gets easier and better. I’m actually less judgmental (if you can believe that), tend to find the beauty in most people and situations, and generally don’t worry about anything that won’t matter in 10 years. For those things, I find a renewed spirit in fighting injustice and ignorance. After all, I’m old, what are you going to do to me that hasn’t already happened?
Growing older, if you do it right, gives you a fighting spirit. That’s good, ’cause you won’t remember why you’re fighting or even be able to see who you’re fighting. 😛