Aging Gracefully

In our new “age-less” culture, it’s almost taboo to complain about our aging bodies, especially before the age of 80.

But, the body is going to let you know that it’s slowing down a bit, even if you are trying to convince the world that you are on the short side of 35.

My body is beginning to betray its true age, despite my best efforts to deny it. It’s not the few extra pounds around the middle, or the crow’s-feet around my eyes that bother me. It’s the creaking parts, and all the noises that I emit in my sleep that disturbs me.

I am relatively healthy individual. Allergies and mild asthma have been my only complaints. Then, I turned 50 and everything changed.

Here’s a typical scenario:

I go to bed and spend the first 30 minutes finding a comfortable position in which to fall asleep, assuming my limbs are not going to start the phantom itching that causes me to scratch until I am wide awake.

I fall into a deep, deep sleep only to be awakened within 15 minutes by something- the cat scratching to get in, the wind rattling the door, a car stereo blasting down the street. Then my eyes pop open, and the brain switches on. I try meditating, thinking of white spaces, or telling myself to shut up. Eventually I fall back asleep after tossing and turning in a repeat of the earlier quest for the perfect sleep position.

Now I sleep deeply for a few hours, and wake up sweating. No matter that the bedroom is a cool 50 degrees, I’m kicking off the covers, and flipping the pillow to the cool side. Repeat the above measures, and fall back to sleep.

Third cycle of sleep is interrupted by strange noises coming from the bed. I briefly swim to the surface of consciousness, register the silence, and fall back to sleep. The noise returns, until I realize it’s coming from me. My nose is whistling, or I am emitting a very unladylike snore.

When I finally give up and decide to get up and stumble out for some coffee, I find my hands are curled into claws. The curse of my ancestors has begun to take residence inside my joints. I’m too young for arthritis my mind screams, but my fingers are puffy, stiff and painful.

I leap out of bed- ha!

I gently emerge from the covers and stand up cautiously. Ankles pop and knees buckle. Shoulders are sore and neck muscles tight. Did I sleep or sumo wrestle all night?

I stumble into the bathroom avoiding the mirror until after the first cup of coffee.

Growing old is not for sissies!

© annettealaine-2012
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