Monday, May 7, 2012

The Challenges of Aging Gracefully

You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair. Douglas MacArthur.
It has been awhile since I wrote a blog entry and I guess that means that I am out living my life. Not at all a bad thing but being busy is not what it used to be folks! I find myself absolutely shattered every night and every joint in my body feels about as if it were 85 years old. I am realizing each day that I still have limitations and I can’t just jump back into things the way I used to. A difficult reality to swallow when you are a young woman like me. My idea for this blog entry was inspired by my first swim in well over a year yesterday. Being a serious swimmer for a good 14 years, swimming was my life and I of course wanted my daughter to be exposed to it as well. If anything just to be comfortable and confident in the water – no crazy parent/stage mom activity here. So I planned for the three of us to hit the pool yesterday and it was a hit. My daugh
ter, despite a constant shivering lip and purple hue to her body, was relentless and wanted to keep swimming. It warmed my heart seeing her love being in the water and growing more confident by the minute. These are the moments I bank in my mind and cherish. I also had brought along the old goggles and jumped into the lane swimming area to give it a whirl. Off I went and it was nice but not without its difficulties. My body was different, my muscles weak, and my joints tight. I lasted 5 laps before the burning in my lungs and the heaviness in my arms forced me to retire. How did I feel? To be honest a bit sad. For someone who used to swim hundreds of laps a day it was a weak effort. I was forced to face the reality of what had happened to my body and how much it had lost in the process. It is amazing how much one can lose in a year and it made me feel old. Now I know I can work at all of this and slowly build my body and mind back up again was but when you are young, you never imagine having to do this and I know I will never get back to what I was. Before I got sick I took my body and health for granted. I didn’t always wear sunscreen, I binge drank (a lot), I even smoked. I always thought my body would bounce back and never show any signs of wear. That is the beauty of youth. It is true that we think we are immortal at times when we are innocent and not faced with some of the colder, darker realities of life. My husband and I often look at photos of ourselves taken a few years ago and can see the difference. Maybe others would disagree and think there was little change or even that we look better now. But to me I see it. The lens doesn’t lie. Little differences, subtle changes – the look of innocence is what I see. It is definitely in the eyes –there isn’t a heaviness in them and I just think I look lighter. The girl I see in the photo is hopeful for the future, not afraid of what she could lose and just wants to take a big bite out of life. I am not saying that I am still not her but I am altered by my experiences. This alteration has definitely brought about some great changes but also some more difficult ones. Fear and worry inevitably make one feel old. So that is just a little bit of what is on my mind this week. I hope I can learn to accept my body`s new limitations, be more patient with myself and also see the signs of aging that are more apparent to me as proof of my growth as a person and a deepening of my character. And a few extra wrinkles and gray hears thrown in for good measure! A quick update on Captain AC: She is doing brilliantly post-surgery and totally rocked that operation out of the park! I think she is amazed at how manageable it all is which a wonderful surprise is. She is one tough lady – my mother. Thank you for supporting her and sending all your love and well wishes. And I included a Before the Big C pic of me as I thought it was fitting given the subject matter. Oh I miss my long hair sometimes. OBB

No comments:

Post a Comment