Saturday, January 18, 2014

On Aging

I am notorious for ignoring my aches and pains (even when I shouldn’t).  I power through discomfort because I usually can and because that’s what needs to be done.  For years this habit served me quite well.  But I am a middle aged woman these days and I am starting to realize that very fact.

Last winter I developed a sore hip but it was sore in a weird way.  At first it ached only when I was sitting or laying down.  The hip was fine when I was standing or walking.  At the time, I felt like this was just my kind of pain and I cheerfully sped off to the gym where I worked up my usual sweat on the elliptical.    The aching continued and so did my daily gym trips.  Then, about a week into this arrangement, I could barely get out of bed, let alone walk downstairs.  Walking, sitting, and lying down became unpleasant.  I was in pain and actually frightened by this development.  So I headed off to the doctor who diagnosed bursitis, prescribed me some serious anti-inflammatory meds, pointed out that I am aging, ordered me to stay away from the gym for two weeks and reminded me that I may need to start taking it easy on occasion.  This was unwelcome news.

However, the pain was sufficiently frightening that I did actually take the ordered break from the gym.  Since that incident, I have been forced to recognize that I am human and that sometimes powering through is just not a good idea.  

If this is the wisdom that comes with age, I’m not always convinced that it’s worth the exchange.  I am fine acknowledging my age, letting my hair go gray, and living with my wrinkles.  I’ve been a fan of sensible shoes for years.  But it is the idea that my physical durability is finite that scares the hell out of me.  Since I’m prone to over-doing it, it may be that dialing things back and simply working out and living within an appropriate range for my age and moody joints is an adjustment that will solve this problem.  In fact, I suspect that this is exactly what I can and should do.  I’m realizing that anew because I’ve had a wonky knee for the past two weeks.  I know that taking it easy is the right approach.  But it is an adjustment that I find exceedingly difficult.

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