“Being an adult is mostly being exhausted, wishing you hadn’t made plans, and wondering how you hurt your back.”
It is not lost on me that I’ve been feeling pretty good for my age and mileage, in the words of a wise friend. However, it is also not lost on me that it now takes a strict diet and a team of a doctor, massage therapist, and yoga instructor to keep me feeling about half as good as I did when I was 20.
Years ago I lived on roughly four hours of sleep per night on average and most of my fruit vegetable intake was in the form of wild berry wine coolers. Still didn’t slow me down.
There was a time — lasting decades — that I ran everywhere barefoot or in 3-inch heels. There was no in-between. Yesterday, I accidentally wore the wrong orthopedic footwear for the afternoon and now risk being crippled for a week.
Bend and stretch
Hoping to get a bit more limber and relaxed, I embarked on learning yoga. Me liking fitness of any kind has always been a literal — and figurative — stretch. In this case, however, I am now seriously hooked.
I have never felt better than after an hour-long basic yoga class and that feeling lasts for days. Until, as mentioned above, I wear the wrong footwear or run around barefoot for too long. Then I’m back to grimacing moans as I mince around the house.
Speaking of flexibility, I used to be able to sleep anywhere short of standing up. I would flop down on the sofa (or floor) of a friend’s place and snooze the night away with maybe a balled-up jacket as a pillow. I would spring to life the next day with my makeup a bit worse for wear, but nothing else gone awry.
Now if I have to be away from my perfect memory foam mattress and an assortment of pillows arranged “just so,” I’m liable to shuffle around like the Hunchback of Notre Dame for a solid week.
It should be noted that in my newly minted Princess and the Pea existence, I also like a fan running and two small dogs cuddled in. I have needs.
Honestly, sometimes it is all I can do to make it to my monthly massage where a licensed professional moves all my parts back into place.
I have “cheater” glasses stashed everywhere like a squirrel hides nuts, and a pill keeper that puts vitamins in order by days of the week is starting to look like a pretty handy thing to have.
I didn’t mean to become so high maintenance. It just sort of happened with time — and age.
On the bright side, if physically I’m falling apart, mentally, I have never felt better. I aim to mostly do things I mostly like and not do too many things I don’t. I make plans with friends and join book clubs where we drink wine and chatter about life as much as we talk about books.
I let people know they are important to me. I cook simple meals, make time for myself and my adorable husband, let go of petty grudges (the benefit of a failing memory being who can keep track of all that).
When I walk the dogs, I choose a pace best described as “slothlike.” The better to stop and smell, well, everything really.
I allow our now young adult children to grow up. I’m starting hobbies just for me. A friend is really into knitting and it looks delightful. Another has alerted me to the wonder of bead art. I’m excited to try both.
I don’t care if people find that funny. I feel like if you reach a certain age and you wake up feeling like there has to be more to life — there probably is.
Accordingly, I stopped saying “no” and said “yes” when Mr. Wonderful started a new path and hobby that began to take off right in the middle of “middle age” (may we be so blessed).
I strongly suggest everyone do more of what makes you happy. Whether you want to spend more time at home, be more social, or travel within your means — don’t forget to live your dreams today.
That may mean doing nothing after a lifetime of being busy, or focusing on yourself after spending years focusing on the kids. Let’s get out there and make our days and years count!
Whether you are embracing yoga or “you go!,” one should always stretch their body, mind, and limits at any age. Remember the time you enjoy wasting is never wasted time.
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