No one really likes getting older, except during your teen years when you want to be old enough so your parents can’t tell you what to do! Now that I have had years of making decisions for myself, I kind of feel nostalgic about the days I didn’t have to think so hard. Having the freedom to do what you want is excellent until you realize the responsibility that comes with it. I love to make my own decisions, but sometimes I don’t make the best ones. Even so, I am head strong and don’t take advice well. I may listen, look like I am paying attention, but most likely I am planning a different strategy in my head, while I am nodding and smiling at you. Now that I am older, the phrase ‘stubborn old lady’ could apply. But, please don’t put me in that category! August is my birthday month and I am feeling older then dirt. I don’t like that.
I am sixty-three years old. There! I’ve admitted it. I don’t lie about my age although this month I have thought about it at length. I’ve looked in the mirror and am not happy with what I see looking back at me. My new plan is to tell people I am several years older and sit back to accept the compliments about how great I look for my age. Then I worry if I tempt fate and someone actually thinks I am that age, I’ll wither on the vine.
The decisions I have made this year on my own, while making me happy, have added so much stress to my life, I am now seeing how my health and looks have responded. Not a pretty picture.
I am very proud of all the work I’ve accomplished this year. I have pushed hard on my goals. I did not listen to anyone’s advice that might have made things easier for me, nor did I think about my health as I dashed head first into my projects. Would I look or feel better if I had? I can’t answer that question. What I do know is that I should have asked myself the question on how my health was holding up during all those late nights without sleep. Or perhaps questioned the unhealthy habit of eating fast food, stuffing burgers and shakes in my mouth, as I drove all over town trying to find treasures for my shop.
Like the White Rabbit I can be found chanting, “I’m late, I’m late.” Usually I am late for everything. Then I tell myself there is no time for anything but fast food. Running in all directions makes for poor planning. I never planned on eating so badly, nor did I plan on gaining twenty-five pounds, and having blood pressure high enough to put me on pills.
Those were the presents I gave myself this birthday after eight months of putting everything else before my health.
I don’t feel sexy this year either. I wonder why?
I stay up late writing on the computer. My sleep habits are a total disaster. Most nights I only have four hours of rest to get me through the next day. I brag to my friends, “I can do more on four hours of sleep then eight.”
I actually do. But the four hours of sleep at night are not doing anything for me.
If this were a story of drugs, booze, and rock n’ roll, the tired, dragged out face staring back at me in the photo would have an exciting story behind it. But my story has nothing exciting behind it, except that I have worked hard and have not taken care of myself.
The phrase sounds so easy, “taking care of myself”. It is not. While I fling myself into everything I try, I can’t seem to get excited about developing a healthy routine. I look after others and give my advice on their well-being, yet I don’t recognize my well-being is not its best.
I know I am older and I accept that graciously. I don’t want to be skinny, for then my face would sag. I do want to look like I’ve slept well and am living the good life I have created for myself. Right now I look like I need a nap. A very long nap.
Somehow in the last few years on my own as a widow, working hard to find myself again, I have lost myself. I am not far off base, but I have missed the ball. I have thrown myself into my life with gusto, but not with common sense of keeping my life balanced.
A photo taken on my birthday this month was a gift I had not anticipated. I looked haggard, tired and, for the first time, realized the weight I’d gained. While not a photo I want to show anyone, it is one I needed to see. It is time for a change.
Will I listen to anyone’s advice? Most likely the answer is no. While older in years, I have the mindset of a teenager who doesn’t want to be told what is best. I hope I have the wisdom gained through years of growing older, to know I need to work on putting my health in first place.
Sixty-four? That’s the next stop on my age train. I love birthdays. I love to celebrate all month long. I do plan for my photo next year to reflect the healthy life style I am starting now. Look for me to post it on Face Book.
‘Reflection’ is defined in the dictionary as ‘careful or long consideration or thought’. I think we all need to take time to reflect on how we lead our lives. Take a look at your own health habits and see if you need to make a change. Don’t wait until your birthday when someone snaps a photo of you that snaps you into reality. Keep those birthdays coming and meet them head on with your most radiant healthy self.
Barbara Barth, CEO of Life