I have to admit that sometimes I get a little discouraged about just how much my body has changed now that I am middle aged. I’m not nearly as strong as I used to be, and since I walk big, rowdy shelter dogs three times a week, that’s not something I can ignore. I can’t read normal print without reading glasses, and no matter how carefully I style my hair and put on my make up before an evening out, my double chin is joining me for dinner.
But what I need to remember is that these changes are nothing new, and that my body has actually been changing for my entire life. Obviously, growing from an infant to an adult involved lots of changes, but it’s not as if I went from having the body of a twenty-year old to the body of a middle-age woman over night. The process has been slow and gradual, even when I was too busy to pay attention.
I remember the time I got the bright idea to show my young daughter how to do a backward roll, since she had just started taking gymnastic classes at the YMCA. I squatted down, put my hands palms-up on my shoulders, ducked my head and rolled backwards. Seconds later, as I was laying flat on my back and wondering if I would ever walk again, I realized that I was past the stage in my life when I could do a backward roll. I was in my mid-thirties at the time. My eyesight began to fade in my mid-forties, and the late forties/early fifties brought the joy of menopause. By my mid fifties, I could no longer lift really heavy things, and eating rich food late at night could lead to very unpleasant consequences.
So although I sometimes may feel a bit ambushed by all the physical changes I have to deal with in my middle age, the truth is that my body has been changing for years, and usually not for the better. And while I still don’t like all the changes, it does help to realize that coping with with them is nothing new, and that I’ve been doing it successfully for quite awhile now. I own six sets of reading glasses, spread strategically throughout the house and in my purse. I’ve bought the discs that let me slide furniture across the floor rather than have to lift it, and I’m discovering that there are all kinds of exercise classes out there for the, shall we say, “maturing” woman. Because the truth is that this changing body stuff really isn’t anything new, and it’s nothing I can’t handle. I just need to remember that…..