I read a plaque recently that said “If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself.” I think I could have done a better job.
First, I would have worked harder to control my weight. I was really slim as a teenager but marriage and motherhood put those pounds on. I worked full time and didn’t have time or energy for exercise. They say it’s never too late but it’s so much tougher to get those pounds off though I do try.
Then there is my hair color. I was a brunette all my life. My hair was a rich dark brown with a lot of shine to it. When I started turning grey in my forties I maintained my hair color with the help of dye. Twenty years later in my mid-sixties I decided to remove the dye and see what nature dealt me….beautiful silver hair. I really loved it but it made me look older so after a few years I started coloring my hair brown again. I have to admit that I do look younger but is that reason enough? Why didn’t I settle for the real deal? It would have been easier and probably healthier.
Then there are my teeth. I was not the best brusher or flosser. I inherited teeth that chipped easily, stained readily and got cavities at the drop of a hat. My dental bills were always worse than my auto expenses. If I were not a total chicken I might have tried implants to replace some of my decayed teeth. I gave up on root canals and crowns and tried to maintain a healthy mouth without them. To help me do this I have a wonderful dentist who is really gentle and understands my position – less is better. But even he won’t be able to stop the aging process going on in my mouth. One of these days I will end up with false teeth…. if I live long enough. I guess I have to hope for the false teeth.
Then there is my arthritis. No matter how well you take care of your body it seems that there are always aches and pains. Arthritis seems to be the cause. A little in the knees. A little in the fingers. A little in a shoulder. I ice the spots that hurt the most and occasionally sit in a friend’s Jacuzzi. By keeping mobile I am keep the arthritis at bay and I go to a chiropractor who works on my body with great skill. He can always make me feel better.
Oh yes, I almost forgot my eyes. In the last year I have had one wicked infection necessitating a trip to the emergency room, dry eyes that run but need drops to lubricate them (go figure that one out – the doctor says they make more lubrication to compensate for being dry – so doesn’t that mean they are moist?) and cataracts clouding my vision. I treated the infection very vigorously, the dry eyes mildly and the cataracts not at all. Technology will figure out how to remove cataracts with laser surgery and I will not have to have them cut my corneas – a scary thought. What if they miss? I will tough it out until I cannot pass a driving test. So far I can.
And last but not least – sleeping. A couple of years again my body decided that it was going to wake up every night around 3:00 a.m. and not go back to sleep. Sometimes I couldn’t fall asleep and lay there for hours. Lying awake for hours when the world was asleep was awful. I tried reading but that didn’t seem to help nor did warm milk. Soon I was a zombie who was not getting enough rest. As the problem grew worse I worried about my mental health. I was tired all the time and couldn’t remember things. Thanks to my doctor who prescribed some sleeping pills to break this cycle, I was once more sleeping on a normal pattern. When the problem comes back (which it did from time to time), I had the pills to fix it which was a big relief. I don’t know how a tiny white pill can gently put me to sleep and let me wake up totally rested several hours later but it does and I am grateful.
Will all of these issues, I still consider myself reasonably healthy and lucky that I don’t have more serious problems. Each day that I can function and do what I want to do I’m a happy camper. Old age is not what I expected but I am learning to live with it one day at a time.