I turn 45 this year, and for the first time in my life, I am feeling the effects of age creeping up on me. Feeling, actually may not be the correct word. I’ve probably been feeling some of these items on the slow rise for years now.
“Noticing” may be a better way to put it.
I believe that from about your mid-20’s, we are all on a very, very slow decline with our bodies and minds. Some people mask it better than others, but we’re all on the same boat, and it’s doing down, very, very slowly.
I noticed my first grey hair when I was about 20. Wrinkles, and crows feet around the eyes were subtly apparent by my 30’s. Eyesight started getting a little blurry in my 40’s to where I finally needed glasses for reading and computer work.
It wasn’t until this year that I had a flash of reality hit me in a very aggressive, all-of-a-sudden fashion. I realized that I simply can’t do things with my body that I used to be able to. This is pretty new. I’ve always been pretty healthy, mostly very fit (I am a runner, and did a marathon this year). Even at 38 or 39, there wasn’t much of a slowdown, and no chronic pain, or joint issues to speak of. I could still do a 3 mile run at just over 8 minute miles – not bad for an almost 40-something.
Lately though, the shift, wherever it happened, is apparent. Here’s what’s changed in just the last year or so, in my early mid 40’s:
– I am a slower runner. Or, if I am as fast, it takes more effort
– I have pretty chronic neck stiffness and more limited flexibility especially with my neck and back.
– I take longer to recover from any strenuous activity
– I am much more stiff and slightly sore all over in the morning when I wake up, regardless of what I did the day before
– Sleep is much more fleeting and choppy during the night
– I eat less than I used to (which is probably good)
None of this is major, and I can still function well with everything I want to do, but things are certainly not like they used to be.
I do know people who apparently defy age, up to a point. I have running friends that are approaching their 50’s and seem to get faster every year, still, and they look great. What I have noticed, in many cases about these never-agers is that they usually don’t have kids.
My belief is that kids, wonderful as they are, provide a much higher level of constant worry, stress and interruption of a consistent program of working out and eating right (as much as we try).
I would venture that the same holds true for caregivers who are constantly at the Beck and call of mom and/or dad’s every need. Aging seems to happen much more quickly for some, and it’s probably in large part situational.
So I am very curious and would love to know –
At what point in your life did you realize, profoundly, that you ‘aren’t a kid anymore’?
Was it a gradual thing, or did it suddenly hit you like a truck, like it did for me?
Hopefully, maybe this is all temporary for me in some ways. I have been through a lot of stress lately. We just moved, school is starting, work is growing and expanding (a good thing) and there has been little time to breathe.
I feel like I am at a point where things will start to be more manageable in life. Some of the big stressors as of late have mellowed out, and I am curious to see how my body and mind might respond.
Maybe in a few months, I’ll feel a little bit more like the young 38 year old I was not too long ago.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/takomabibelot/