I nicked the prompt for yesterday as I didn’t fancy the lying one- it was too multifarious in its implications! Also, CynicalGirl has just posted about getting older on her blog and that’s what happens before you die!
She seems to find the physical changes the most noticeable, involving loss of function and pain, but I don’t notice this aspect at all! I was a sickly child and teenager- eczema, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, ambulances, hospitalisations, migraines from the age of ten, hand dermatitis. Dreadful time- and I rarely felt happy and child-like. I loved to run about, ride my bike, swim in the ocean, build cubby houses, balance on the fence, swing for hours in a homemade swing, play hide and seek in the semi-jungle near our house, do gymnastics at school..all sorts of fun physical things. But only when I was well enough- and if I did any of these things too hard, the asthma would get me- they didn’t have puffers or anything then- I just had to sit and gasp for an hour to recover.
So I certainly find my current age a lot healthier- and at the moment, happier than my childhood. The asthma has made a resurgence this year- something to do with the weather and multiple pollens, which are tickling up all the hayfever sufferers as well. I haven’t got any severe physical limitations and my muscles all work well, my joints have had a few minor injuries but are quite flexible, I have had a lot of tendinitis in my feet in the past, but that is fixed by not walking on hard surfaces wearing shoes with no heel-backing. I can walk, run, swim, bend and I even still like to climb trees!
Generally, my physical health and abilities have improved with age and I enjoy that! I’ve always had a crooked spine since getting “schoolbag scoliosis” in my early teens- we had to walk across town a few miles every lunch tiime to get to the old classrooms at our primary school, because the highschool was only half built! We walked all summer, carrying schoolcases full of books (10 lbs or more) from one arm or the other (no backpacks). I only weighed about 28kgs when I first went to highschool, so 5 or 6 kilos of books on one side was quite a load for a growing spine. I’ve had sciatic pain at various times and to varying degrees since my late teens as a legacy. But I have a routine of strengthening exercises that I get back into if it hurts now. Then I’m fixed in a few weeks. I can also walk for hours, uphill and all, without ever getting asthma- in fact I’ve taken walking holidays where we covered 10 to 20 kilometers a day over quite mountainous terrain, eg. Corsica, the Appennines, the Pyrenees both French and Spanish sides) and the Cevennes. I can’t think of any activity I’d rather do on holidays- if I had enough cash to take any these days!
I’ve never worried much about weight gain most of my life, although since it was pointed out to me I was underweight in 1986, I consciously tried to eat more as I thought it might help stay healthy in later life to have more padding in reserve. However, once I got used to eating more, I just kept eating like that even when I wasn’t exercising much, so I’m just at the upper limit for my height now and should lose it according to my doctor. I told her I’m only good at gaining, not losing!
My skin problems- eczema and a horrible blistering hand dermatitis, disappeared before the age of 18 and I don’t really get much of any skin problems any more- a few little blistery bits on the palms if I get too much water and detergent on them. My migraines left me dramatically at the age of 34 and immediately, I started to become very depressed (or the depression emerged from behind the migraine)- who knows- they both involve serotonin imbalances! It’s better to be rid of the migraines- so unpredictable and temporarily disabling- ghastly condition- wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy! I don’t even have many ordinary headaches any more- fingers crossed!
My appearance is not something I’ve ever liked- although photos of me as a child and young adult don’t look too bad now! Although my hair has hardly greyed yet, it’s not the golden blonde colour it was in my twenties any more. My skin, being very fair hasn’t done very well in the hot Australian sunshine and I have suffered the ominous heap of severe sunburns that predispose towards skin cancer. However, I seem OK so far- my skin is just thinner and more wrinkled than it should be. It damages easily on my arms and hands- a slight bump and it bleeds- but I clot quickly, so I don’t really care.
My face has gone rather pouchy and puffy in places with age, which I don’t like, but at least I can still smile and laugh with all parts moving- better than the botox junkies! I’ve never worn makeup since my early twenties, so I can’t cover or enhance my features as I’m allergic to most cosmetics, especially around my eyes. SO I try to forget what I look like- there are far more things in the world!
I certainly don’t feel very old and can still identify with many teens who are going through various stresses in life- I can be more objective about the problems, but still empathise with how it makes them miserable. Maybe I feel between 25 and thirty at heart- difficult to say from this perspective. But I don’t feel like a stodgy old middle-aged woman as the stereotype would have it! I don’t dress like one either- which can be a problem in some company, but mostly I cope OK and find myself being a little scathing when friends act and speak like real 60-year-olds are supposed to! Maybe I feel less appropriate as a 58 year old because I haven’t got the trappings of most- I’ve never had kids, so there are none to produce grandchildren for me to dote on. This is starting to happen with lots of people I know, some of whom have been grandparents for 20 years now! Yikes! Do kids make people age more by making parents “separate” from them culturally?
So now I am more than halfway towards death- I estimate I’ll live to around 90 unless struck down by accident, a heart attack, stroke or cancer. I’d like to live to over 100 as I have so many things left to do- I need to get a whole new career so I can earn money for retiremen and travel because I sure haven’t got that now.
I think that when I die I will just fade from consciousness- maybe if I’m not already in a coma, I’ll know I am dying. I think it will be like inking into a general anaesthetic, but more slowly. I believe that after death I will be an inanimate pile of flesh and bones, suitable only for composting, if that’s allowed then. Parts of my body might be of interest to science, so I’ll offer that soon, but mostly these days, bodies are not required for medical teaching or research and most bodies are rejected.
So if I’m buried, I will slowly rot away, people will forget me and my molecules will appear again as stardust, millions of light years from now.
I don’t believe in a soul or spirit- just a brief maintenance of memories of me by other people- if I still have enough surviving friends at the time!