When we come into this world, there should be a handbook rolled up in our little palm so that we have an idea of what to expect. Every milestone has been somewhat of a shock. I shall explain from the female's perspective, since I can't speak with authority for the other gender:
As a young girl, you wake up one day, get dressed, and discover that you have embarrassing bumps in your t-shirt. What fit perfectly snug against you one day, now looks like someone has glued peas to your chest. When you're cold, it's even worse. It really doesn't matter what you wear, the evidence of blooming is ever present. You try to ignore the boy's snickers.
As a teenager, you've gone from a t-shirt to at least a training bra, but now you face having a period every month. If your mother didn't tell you the facts of life, you go to the bathroom, discover blood, and think you're dying. If she did explain mother nature's calling, then you just FEEL like you're dying.
As an adult, you most likely give birth to a child. No one can describe the pain associated with that. The best I heard was a joke that said, "Take your bottom lip and try and pull it over your head." I think it's more like trying to get a school bus out of the garage using the doggie door, but that's just me.
As a middle age woman you notice lines and wrinkles beginning to appear. It happens overnight just like the t-shirt bumps. One day you have smooth skin, the next you don't.
Then it really becomes tense. Your breasts, once perky and upright, have developed magnets that seem to be attracted to the toes of your shoes. Whatever held up the skin on your neck has disappeared and someone fan-pleated your lips. Mother Nature thinks your hair needs a frost job, and the color isn't at all attractive. As a protective device, your body begins building a shelf to catch the boobs that are headed south. As if that isn't enough, your legs have more blue lines than a road map.
At fifty-five, you become eligible for a senior meal at Denny's. You order it and pray someone will card you. They don't.
Of course, this is just a 'thumbnail' of the horrors of aging, but wouldn't it have been nice to have a warning? Now I'm facing sixty-seven (gasp). The years went by so fast, I didn't even get to say I was sixty. It's scary.
I went to the doctor recently because my legs and feet had been swelling. Of course, I've put on a few pounds because I sit at the computer most of the day instead of exercising. I get up everyday and say, "Hmmm, jogging or checking my email... sit ups or writing another chapter?" Well you can imagine which I choose. So, the doc tells me I need to walk more and gives me an RX for a very strong water pill. Great, now I can't walk around the house without wanting to pee, but that day, I was so depressed over being weighed that I resolved to start walking.
There's a little park not far from his office. I pulled in and got out of the car and decided to walk the one mile track there. Let me just say... you should not try to walk a mile on your first attempt if the most exercise you've had recently is moving your fingers over the keyboard. Halfway around I thought I was going to die. Literally. My legs turned leaden, sweat was pouring from my forehead, and every step was torture. At the half mile turn, I spied my car. I focused on it, and forced one foot in front of the other until I got there. I collapsed in the seat and had to rest a minute before driving, but once I got off my swollen feet I felt pretty satisfied that I'd actually done a half mile. I decided to go to Walmart and do some shopping, and I'm pretty sure I did another half mile there. I barely noticed the pain from the swelling and I got some pretty good bargains.
So....at 2:00 A.M. I woke up with leg cramps that rivaled childbirth. I have never had my big toe lift off of the floor and point at me. Try walking like that, or attempt climbing the stairs to the kitchen to get some orange juice to restore the lost potassium with Charlie horses in both legs and your big toe standing at attention. I can't actually say I walked, rather crawled to the refrigerator, but the pain passed. I'll settle for the swelling because no one told me the water pills come with a surprise.
I had my orange juice, but then I was afraid to go back to sleep. What if it happened again? Or what if something else that holds up the few things remaining upright on my body decide to go south? Growing old isn't for the faint of heart. I need a muscle relaxer. :) Wow...maybe relaxing anything isn't a good idea. Actually, I need a good stiff drink, but of course, I can't imbibe with my new medication so I guess I'll check out the Guinness Book of World Records and see who holds the the honor of staring at the ceiling for the longest time. In 'calendar speak,' my birthday isn't for a few months yet, but I'm pretty sure it'll be here tomorrow as fast as time is blazing by. At least I can admit to having shared my real age with someone this year.
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