Monday, September 19, 2011

Age, Aging, Growing Old

I've had another birthday, and for that I am grateful...but man oh man, how did I get so old? I'm not kidding, I've never thought of myself as an old person. My parents were aunts and uncles and grandparents. I am still the rebellious 20something who never did the ordinary thing. The underachieving, late blooming daughter, sister, wife, mother. When I turned 30 I was depressed for days. The good news is I have never looked my age, I've always looked younger, as did my's in the genes. The bad news is depression can still make you feel old even when you barely qualify.

When I met hubby, he was 15 years younger than I. He still is. I was in my mid 50s, and was feeling it, largely because of my unhappiness. Physically, I felt great. I had spent 25 years in a very unhappy marriage, a lonely marriage with a man who didn't encourage socializing. lol What an odd way to put it. Anyway, according to my children, I ran off to a new life to feel better about myself.

When I arrived in my new life, different part of the country, plural marriage and so forth, things changed. On the rare occasion hubby and I did something alone, perhaps a Jimmy Buffett concert, I felt happy and young. But we were rarely doing anything alone. And the first year was very, very hard. Just as everything was starting to click, I got sick..pretty damned sick. For the first time in my life I really felt my age, and looked it too. Chemotherapy will do that to you. What I'm trying to say also is that my age was an issue in my new family.. how different they are than my blood family.

Joking about my age, my oldness became a nightly sport around the dinner table. Then there was my role as grandma in chief, as far as babysitting duties were concerned. The climate where we live is not good for old people skin! Suddenly I had wrinkles and lines in my face. The diet put weight on me. I let my hair go (long story). During treatment I was bald anyway. I fell and re-injured a knee during that first now I limped. Ugh, let's just cut to the chase..I had become old. I was not aging gracefully.

I was no longer attractive to my hubby...a man who didn't deal with illness well to begin with. The man who took me out of my cocoon and made me feel young and happy, contributed to my feeling old and decrepit. How did this all happen? I want to roll back the clock to my mid 50s and have a do-over.

Hubby said he missed spending my birthday with me...we used to go on vacation for my birthday and laugh, dance, horseback ride, eat, drink, and just always had a blast. For the 3 years and 4 and a half months I lived inside my plural marriage, we never took a vacation. It was lucky if we got out to dinner once a year without another wife or the whole bunch. We really were barely ever alone. And, I aged.


Anonymous said...

You deserve so much more. I will pray for you to find your strength, connect with your own grandchildren, and have the courage to permanently leave your marriage and find joy in your new life. It is heartbreaking to leave your step grandchildren, and I am so sorry for your loss. You have to believe that if you focus on taking care of yourself and finding happiness, you can regain some of your youth and live a vital, meaningful life - even better than before.

new#3 said...

Thank you for your kind words Anonymous.

Older and Weiser said...

Gosh, can I relate! I haven't even hit 50 yet and I am moaning and groaning getting out of bed every morning. I creak like an old wooden rocking chair!

I am with anonymous--it is time to do for YOU. Find your own happiness. Is there something you have always secretly wanted to accomplish, but are holding back on?

Do you find yourself making excuses for not persuing that secret something? Make a list of those things. Read it every day. And push yourself to accomplish them, one by one. Some may come easy. Some, not so much. But you will spark your own inner happiness.

Changes can be hard. It is usually fear of the unknown and fear of failure that keeps us in those blasted ruts that make us so unhappy. Take that leap and be happy! I know that you have had your share of hurdles, especially with your health.

If there is one thing you could do right now that would make you feel better, both physically and mentally/emotionally, what would that be?

I used to be so upbeat and positive. Some where along my path, I became cynical. I am searching for my positivity. It is much easier for me to be that encouraging, empathetic listening ear for others than to do the same for myself. What is it about we women that causes us to focus on everyone's happiness but our own???

Keep writing and processing. It really does help me get things out. Hang in there!

new#3 said...

That is so true about women! I am doing my best to think positive every day..but as you know easier said than done! I need to get back to my web writing and my a more aggressive manner, those things always make me feel good about myself. Good news though, my almost 30 son told me I could pass for a woman in her 40s the other day...I think he probably needs glasses and is too vain to wear them :) But it was sweet of him and even if what he meant was 50s it still made me smile.

Drew Harrison said...

Life is a journey that is best taken one day at a time. Whenever I feel down, thinking of something to be thankful for always lifts my spirits. If web writing and painting are things that give you a morale boost, then by all means indulge yourself. Happiness is a choice we make every day.

new#3 said...

Very good advice Drew, thank you for reminding me.