The pitfalls of getting older
I have decided that getting older is a real pain in the neck. I know I am not that old and before you chastise me, I am referring to being older than I was previously. I know am not ‘old’ but I am not in my youthful twenties anymore and although I still have a long way to go, and with people seemingly living longer and longer, I would think that (should nothing go awry) I probably have another good sixty years to go. Nevertheless, as someone who is no longer in that carefree, young phase of life anymore, I think I can make this post (without too many complaints!)
Now I have figured out that there are two main pitfalls to growing older.
First is the seeming reduction in brain activity and mental stability. When I was in my twenties, I remembered simple things like turning of the heating when leaving the house, knowing where I put things and keeping appointments.
This year (and yes I know its only a few days into the new year, but this is just to prove my point and I am including the end of December in this… because I can) I took my daughter to school in the car and, on arriving back home, I quickly realised that my house keys were not in my pocket, in any of my pockets, and I had locked myself out. In a panick, I phoned my husband, who had to get the spare keys and come let me in. Inside I still could not find the keys. I thought that was strange but soon forgot about the whole incident. Later that day, I went out in the car and LO AND BEHOLD: there were my house keys!!
Even worse, I went to Church on Sunday, took out my purse to get money out after church, then gathered my stuff together and went home. Twenty minutes after arriving home I discovered, to my horror, that I no longer had my purse. We raced back to the church to look for it but it was too late – the doors were already locked. I would have to wait until monday. Once home I went to use my mobile phone. I looked in my bag and the phone was not there. For about a millisecond my heart stopped. I couldn’t believe that I had also managed to lose my phone at church – then my slow brain made its slow connections. I looked to the foot of my bed and there it was: my OTHER bag, the one I had taken to church. And all my things were in there, including the purse.
Still on the brain side but also affecting the physical body is the absolute rejection of anything remotely squeamish. Now this is quite a weird one. I can watch (and love to watch) the CSI series but if I see a single drop of blood in reality, I literally want to pass out, and get sick to my stomach at the same time and that in itself is bizarre as I once had my toenail ripped off by the dog (it was an accident – my fault actually) and had to have 9 (I think) injections in said toe then walk around for months without a toenail and very sensitive exposed nerve endings in the big toe – and everyone knows that an injured toe is just crying out to all bed corners, chair feet and heavy shoes to stub, squash and jump on it! And yet, I was actually fine. I think if that happened to me today, I would curl up and die…actually I did stub my baby toe the other day and thought I had broken it, couldn’t move it for about two days! Even worse than blood and gore, though, is scary horror stories. As a teenager my friends and I used to get together for a sleepover, rent out a load of horror videos (remember those? The jumping lines running across the tv screen added to frights of the movie!), snuggle up under piles of pillows and blankets and spend the entire night freaking ourselves out. And a group of girls together are very good at doing that. Actually, when I think about that now, I feel really sorry for my folks, although my dad probably slept through the whole thing – I can imagine how my mum must have felt and can only hope my daughter doesn’t do that to me, but she probably will 🙂 Nowadays I am useless at watching anything scarier than the Grinch (ooh scary). I avoid horror completely and, though I tell myself it is because horror movies are rubbish (come on, they are) it probably has more to do with my lack of sleep after watching such a movie. As an example, I watched a Tarantino movie last night. Now anyone who knows Tarantino knows that his movies are filled with violence and over-the-top blood baths. As unrealistic as the movie was – and it was actually a black comedy and quite funny, not in the least bit scary – I spent the entire night dreaming about it and they were not good dreams. Now, can you imagine my reaction should I watch anything worse than that? It’s nightmares and sleepless nights for weeks!
Now, just as bad as the reduced sparks within the brain matter is what I would consider to be the other great pitfall of getting older. And that would be my body that now fights against me instead of supporting me. Now there are many subsections in this particular area but I will focus on the ones that have really been bothering me lately.
First of all is my ridiculous immune system. My body seems to think it is alright to fight me when there is nothing wrong with me and then leave me to my own devices when I actually do get invaded by some virus. the result: I eat some lovely preserved cherries and wake up in the morning with a red, puffy face. I put some fresh flowers in the house and spend the entire day (or days) suffering from severe hayfever. I get the flu and my body collapses into a pile of useless muck! This did now happen to me when I was younger. OK I admit I have always had hayfever problems. But these allergies?! At least once a month now my body decides it is allergic so something else, it’s ridiculous!
Then there are those creaky joints. And yes, I know, I am only in my thirties. I still have creaky joints. Well, I have ALWAYS had creaky joints. I think it’s a result of all the impact-type sports I did but it’s definitely getting worse (which could possibly be because I do not do any sports at all now 🙂 ).
And now to add to that, I have developed vertigo. VERTIGO – as someone who has never ever had problems with heights, had rescued a friend from a slide as a child and rescued my cat from a variety of trees, rooftops, etc (as a younger adult) I really cannot understand why my body has decided I need to have this limitation. I first realised I had a problem when I went to Arundel castle a couple of years ago. I was fine until I walked up to the old section. On returning from that section, and walking down the quite steep, rather long flight os stairs, my knees began to buckle. I got about halfway and my legs actually went stiff. It was the weirdest feeling. I had not control over those silly legs. It actually felt like when you pull a muscle, only the muscles that were pulling happened to be located at the back of my knees and as a result, I could no longer bend my knees. It took me probably 10 minutes to walk down the rest of the stairs. By the time I got to the bottom, i was shaking uncontrollably and, yes, there were tears in my eyes. And I had not say in it whatsoever. I couldn’t understand at the time and my husband thought I was losing it (you know – my mind) and it was only when we got home and I googled (Thank goodness for technology!) the symptoms that I realised it was a result of vertigo. And it has become so ridiculous now that I had to sit down for a while when we went to Hamleys some time ago. And, yesterday, I got the stiff legs and even broke out in a sweat (the type of sweat you get before you faint – yes, that one) when I went to, of all places, the upstairs of Primark. I know what causes it now anyway. It’s a non-solid floor under my feet. So that would be the top part of the old section of Arundel castle, the top floor of Hamleys and upstairs in my Primark. And I think it’s getting worse. I have to wonder why my body feels it has to do that to me. I mean, come on, what use is vertigo? It’s not like I am going to go bungee jumping off some bridge or climbing the highest mountain – I’m not that brave and reckless anyway so my body really does not need to protect me from doing such things!
Ah, well, I am certain that getting older also has its benefits: like being more careful, learning from past mistakes, etc, etc, and maybe I will even write about the flip-side to this post…that is if I actually remember to do it!
Copyright © 070113 by Karen Payze