In ageing I am not triumphant. Soon I will have ‘accomplished’ my coup of 38 years on the planet. Although, being honest, it doesn’t feel to me, to be much of an accomplishment.
I have, throughout the years, of course, achieved much. I can walk and talk. I have friends. I’ve passed exams. I have four children and a husband. I own a mortgage (jointly, admittedly). I have learned to drive. I’ve held various jobs. I have travelled.
But nowadays, I have the feeling, I have not only reached my peak, but I have surpassed it.
It’s a combination of little things. But they add up. For example, I wake up in the mornings and the first question of the day should be, “Where hurts today, darling?” The answer would vary. A multiple choice approach could even be applied:
Question: Which body part is noticeably painful this morning, is it…
a. your head?
b. your knee?
c. your back?
d. your foot?
e. your stomach?
f. your ear?
g. a combination of a and b?
h. a combination of c, d, and e?
i. None of the above?
j. All of the above?
k. Something not mentioned above?
l. All of the above mentioned and a new source?
m. Should I just put you out of your misery and shoot you?
The truth of the matter is that I will soon be 38, which in my mind, at least, is not so old, but as my forties approach, I just notice I am speedily degrading…
Last year both my eyes and ears deteriorated. Meaning not only without my lenses can I not see you properly, but I also have no clue what you’re saying to me.
My ankle clicks. My knee clicks. And most of me cracks or creaks. A walk downstairs and I sound like I’ve started my very own band. I am for the first time in my life, musical.
A necessary requirement is always to be close to a loo. No matter where I go, I need to find out where the nearest toilet is located.
I used to have a liking for hair dye. Now I have a requirement for the stuff.
I have started drinking peppermint tea.
Memory = zilch. I have no knowledge of my children’s names. Or even my husbands name. I have to write lists. Then, I forget that I wrote a list, or, I loose it. Sometimes, I cannot even read my writing on the list. Or I have no idea why I wrote the damn list in the first place: What is this list for? Am I going on holiday? Or shopping? List, you make no sense to me at all!
I prefer to ‘do it’ in the comfort of my own bed. With no pressure applied to afore mentioned knee, stomach, ear or foot areas. Limiting the possibilities… Though, truthfully, mostly I fall asleep on the sofa, and awake, dribble dried onto my face and next to an uncomplaining, uncomplicated, though somewhat soggy husband.
It would be true to say that in general, I look forward to my future. To my opportunities ahead. To my children finding their way. To my growing family. To more time for myself and for my husband and I, on our own. To holidays and shopping trips and parties and all the celebrations that the future holds.
But there are some things that fill me with dread:
The trips to the dentist. The loss of my teeth. The pulling of my wisdom teeth.
Losing people I love. Death.
Looking in the mirror and seeing an old woman staring back at me.
I guess this is true for every one of us. Accepting the ageing process is no easy task. Sometimes, I so want to hit the brakes. Life is both wonderful and exciting, yet it is also tragic and unbearable.
I have decided my best way forward comprises the following rules:
Take one day at a time and see what each day brings.
Write the lists anyway.
Take all of the drugs offered by the doctor.
Drink alcohol whenever necessary.
Take lots of photos.
Enjoy the moment.
Dye my hair, again and again and again. And buy a wig if it does actually all fall out.
Not completely rule out botox.
Eat what I like. Especially chocolate.
Brush my teeth and pretend to the dentist that the gums just don’t bleed anymore.
Avoid the dentist.
Forget the word ‘dentist’.
Enjoy my new found musical abilities by adding the odd song.
Cry and shout whenever I want to.
Appreciate my family and friends.
Not completely rule out replacement body parts.
And finally, party wildly for as long as I can!