I feel sick all the time. Not in the way that prevents you from leaping out of bed when you realize you’ve overslept — but rather like a nagging companion that you can’t shut up for peace and quiet.
Turning forty felt fine — but as the years pile up — you quickly realize that you probably have signed up for more than you can handle.
Whatever happened to feeling good?
To being able to make it through the day without aches and pains and the visible signs of wear and tear that match the fading memory and inarticulate moments that become more frequent — as if terrorizing you will prevent the inevitable.
There doesn’t seem to be a lesson plan for aging well. There’s tons of “Dos” and “Don’ts” and a good amount of blogs that testify to whatever queries you entered in your search tab — but once you begin to settle into your new normal — it becomes quite clear that you’re basically on your own.
This lonely quest to re-discover yourself is a task that requires a lot more than you want to expend — but life has a funny way of nudging you into submission especially when the alternative is not particularly appetizing. In order to stay alive — you have to surrender to being ill until your days are over.
You must juggle the malfunction of hormones with a new body that isn’t responding to the beat of ellipticals or the various diets that are meant to defeat the bulging stomach that you thought was just a myth. You have to accept that your eyesight will continue to smudge the words on paper and screen —until your birthday stops appearing.
You have to give in to mood swings and the irritability that’s so uncontrollable that it stuns you into silence and creates the distance you don’t want from the people you know — who eventually oblige your unspoken request.
You are not the person you were when your knees didn’t yell with each trip up the stairs — when your allergy attacks were still laying-in-wait — when your relationship with sex and desire left nothing to be desired — except more time to over-indulge — and when you knew who the heck was staring back at you — in mirrors that never hide the truth.
Aging has to be the incurable illness that can’t be cured because the results are for more dire than the realization that your present challenges are only going to worsen beyond belief.
Instead we try to calm ourselves with expensive needlework or odorless potions that boast about how you can beat the clock by sporting the face of a twenty-five-year-old — even though you still feel like the fifty-seven-year-old with ongoing symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
Nobody can solve the riddle of expertly managing the abruptness of change — that leaves you wondering how the fuck you once slept the through the night without issue — or how your perfectly-formed ass carried the secret of betrayal without divulging a thing — until now.
Even the monthly bleeding sessions that made your boobs ache and heightened your orgasmic tendencies — without any exertion have suddenly become something to fight for in the name of maintaining some semblance of womanhood.
I feel sick all the time.
It’s not in my head. It’s all over — from head to toe — inside and out — above and beyond. There are days of euphoric recognition that end with anti-climatic showers of present day struggles — that match the vulnerability of knowing that the best of you is fading — which means that the forward planning is meant to keep you from literally falling to pieces.
We have to adapt to the consequences of living long enough to experience why we weren’t supposed to live forever.
But we don’t want to end up somewhere that has no return ticket — so the only option is to get older — and STFU about it.
But goddamn— it hurts!