Be Careful What You Wish For

It’s only three days into “official” summer, but already I’m beginning to wonder exactly why I was looking forward to it so much.  Don’t get me wrong:  I’m enjoying the fresh produce, the way it stays light outside until well past 8:00, and the more relaxed pace that summer brings.  What I’m not enjoying is the intense heat and humidity that has arrived and seems to be intent on sticking around, just like an uninvited and obnoxious house guest.  Maybe it’s my age, but I’m not handling the heat nearly as well as I usually do, which means that when I’m finished walking shelter dogs or doing a couple hours of yard work, I’m both cranky and exhausted.  I tend to park myself in front of the nearest air conditioning vent, thinking of all the things I’m supposed to be accomplishing with the rest of my day, and basically deciding that each and every one of them is too much trouble bother with.

Lea and Ann in poolAfter a couple hours of sitting in the cool inside air and wallowing in intense self-pity, I manage to get up and get on with the duties of the day, but even then, everything seems to require much more effort than it normally does.  I think back in wonder to the days of my childhood, when central air-conditioning was a rare thing, and I somehow not only survived the summer, but actually enjoyed it, living in a house that was cooled only by fans and, eventually, a single window AC unit installed in our dining room.  Was I more resilient back then?  Or simply too busy playing with my friends to notice the wilting heat? Those afternoons spent splashing in the little plastic wading pool were rather nice.

I know that eventually, I’ll get used to the heat and humidity….probably the day just before the heatwave breaks.  Until then, I’ll do my best to soldier on.  The shelter dogs need me (and all the other volunteers) to go down to the shelter to make sure the dogs get their share of potty breaks, walks, training, and socialization while they wait for their turn to be adopted.  The flowers and shrubs in our yard need care and watering to make it through the summer , and the weeds are actually thriving in this heat, so putting off yard work until September is simply not an option.

I also have to accept that this might be my “new normal” physically, and that I have reached the age where I no longer adjust to extreme temperatures as well as I used to.  (I have heard there are advantages to aging, but sometimes find that one hard to believe.)  If that’s the case, then I’ll simply adapt, the same way I have adapted to my fading eyesight,  my wrinkled and sagging neckline, and the ache I am beginning to feel in my hips whenever I exert myself a bit too much.  No one ever said growing older was going to be easy, and we all know it’s so much better than the alternative.

37 thoughts on “Be Careful What You Wish For

  1. No one ever seemed happy with the climate: too cold, too hot! Ha ha. Here the weather is SO hot, but I don’t even use the air conditioning. It is awful I think to go out in the unbearable heat, into the artificial cold. I use fans. I’ve cut down the lengths of my walks and go early on the weekends. The dog just won’t go in the heat either. I don’t know how the folks out west are dealing….I think we must all get used to this climate change….

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    • You are right, it is so hard on our bodies to go back and forth between the extreme heat and the air conditioned inside! Still, I’m not sure I could give up the AC at this point, as I’ve gotten so used to it. Especially at night when I’m trying to sleep! I think all we can do is adapt as best we can.

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  2. I feel your pain! Here summer starts much earlier in the year and we have 90/90 days with heat above 90 degrees and morning humidity starting at 90 percent. I am also adapting and wondering why I took up gardening as a hobby! I think we earned taking life a little easier.

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  3. We have very sudden bursts of summer heat here in the UK, and so because the days and weeks before they happen have usually been cold, when they hit we all rush outside like mad things and are overcome by varying degrees of heatsroke! I think this is a typically British thing, regardless of age but I know what you mean. In the last few years it takes me much longer to acclimatize.

    There are some advantages to getting older, Ann, but it’s mostly the growing attitude of “don’t care” what other people think of us. And that takes time to arrive, too. I cared a lot still, in my early fifties, now a decade later, I’ve arrived at that stage.

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    • Yes, I think that attitude is the biggest advantage of aging! I’m developing it, but still backslide sometimes. I just wish there were more physical advantages to aging, but sadly, I don’t think there are. So I suppose we all need to work harder on enjoying the emotional and intellectual advantages, and that will help us cope with the physical disadvantages! Stay cool….

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  4. Oh Ann, I’m so hearing you on all counts. Isn’t it amazing how when we don’t have something we miss it. For you it’s respite from the heat, for me it’s warmth from the cold blast we’ve been thrown into. And I do think we were more resilient as kids, the weather didn’t seem to matter so much. We just got on with life.
    I so admire you for the work you do at the dog shelter. Such a worthwhile cause. Good for you. Take care and try and stay cool. ♧♧

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    • Oh, thank you! There are many volunteers there, and I honestly couldn’t do it without their support…and the support of so some of the long time staff, who are also wonderful.
      It’s odd how long it took me to figure out that my inability to deal with weather extremes might be related to aging.. Somehow, I thought that didn’t happen until much later in life!
      Hope you manage to stay warm for now!

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  5. Summer is a tricky thing. Of course for me, the appeal is having the time off work but I do also love the warm weather. I do find that the heat gets to me more quickly than it used to. When I was a kid, I don’t remember ever being worn out by the heat so I guess we are slaves to our middle years in that respect. I also don’t think I could get used to sleeping in the heat now like I used to as a child. My Hubby is not a warm weather fan so he keeps the AC on from the moment the thermometer approaches 70! Good for you for soldiering on and not letting yourself get beat the heat!

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    • Thanks, Nancy! And I think you are right in that, although AC gives us a break from the heat, it also gets in the way of our bodies adjusting to the heat. Going from the very hot outside into the very cool inside is a bit of a shock, to say the least. Before the days of central air, that wasn’t really an issue.

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  6. I hear you, Ann. The heat is tough – especially for us “menopausal” ones, but try to focus on the freedom the heat provides in allowing us walk through our lawns in bare feet and feel the earth and grass, the smell of summer – the flowers, the air, the heat and humidity, the bright lightness, the freedom Summer affords – the birds and wildlife that flourish, the icy cold treats and drinks that refresh us. There are so many wonderful things about summer – even for us 50 pluses 🙂

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    • Oh, Jodi, you are so right! As hot as it was today, tonight it cooled off enough that my husband and I sat outside and enjoyed a drink and dessert. I do love so much about summer…the smells, the food, the light, the casual clothing….it’s just been a tough few days down at the shelter, with not enough walkers, that has meant I’ve been working a bit too hard in the heat. Thanks for reminding me that the good far outweighs the bad! And honestly, between a hot summer or a cold winter, I’ll take the summer any day!

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  7. I can relate to that! It´s awfully hot right now here in Berlin and being in the city there really is no relieve from it except by swimming in a lake – which I´ve been doing yesterday 😉 Sadly I somehow sunburned my eyes (again!) and thus feel like the sun is not my friend this summer 😦 Your last sentence however reminded me very much of that quote by Betty Davis: “Old age is not for sissies.” 😉 Wish you nevertheless a wonderful weekend! x

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    • I’m so sorry you’re dealing the a heatwave in Berlin, and that you sunburned your eyes! I’ve never done that, but it does sound painful. Sometimes, the sun is definitely not our friend!
      Hope you have a wonderful weekend, too!

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    • I remember when some public places actually gave out those little paper fans for people to use in hot weather! At our house, we had big window fans, and I once tried hanging a bag of ice cubes in front of one, to see if it felt more like air conditioning. It did not. But I still didn’t mind the heat too much….

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  8. You are not alone, Ann. I don’t handle the heat and humidity very well, either. I feel blessed to have central air conditioning. I remember, as a kid, my mother would keep windows closed and shades pulled down in our non-air-conditioned house on very hot days. It actually felt cool in there! How times have changed.

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    • My grandmother did that in every room except the kitchen, which faced due east. She liked the morning sun, despite the heat. My parents opened the curtains, but kept the blinds almost closed…just enough to let in a little light, but not enough to heat the room. Isn’t it interesting to remember how we used to cope with the heat? But now that I’m older, I’m like you: feeling very blessed that I have central AC!!

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  9. We had a weekend here recently where temps approached 100 degrees, not normal for this area. It was sweltering. Those days I’m fairly miserable and we use fans, no AC. I have to keep certain doors closed, and hang blankets over the windows. It does help.

    One thing quite interesting from my Aging Studies classes was about skin and its function. It thins as we age and therefore works less well. Harder to manage in the heat and cold (and makes this one crabby!)

    When I think back on summer heat as a kid, I think we were oblivious. We had a pool much like yours where we and the neighbor kids congregated most days.

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    • That is interesting about the skin not working as well to help us adjust our temperatures! And that would explain a lot as well. Plus, as you said, when we were young, we were oblivious, and we did have those backyard pools and sprinklers!

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  10. Summer is always an adjustment to me–especially this week, as we had two waterproofing jobs to do. Outside. In the sun. I always feel pathetic in the beginning, and that’s no fun at all.

    But we’ll adjust and get back into the swing of things. And be of good cheer. Summer is followed by autumn, which is always perfect weather. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have my sympathies, having to work outside in the sun all day! Just being out there for my usual three hours or so does me in! But you are right, our bodies will adjust, and sooner or later, things will cool off a bit. Thanks for the comment!

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  11. I think it just takes us a little longer to get used to the extreme temperatures than it did a few years ago. Or maybe the extremes have become too extreme for our aging bodies. Or maybe we just get cranky quicker than we used to. I just remember being a kid and nothing bothered me. I would go out and play in all kinds of weather and never once came back inside because it was too cold or hot. I wonder when that all changed..:)

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