Ageing – not so gracefully
WHEN I WAS approaching my 55th birthday last year, I was really depressed about it. Why?
Growing old gracefully is something people talk about a lot, but if we are honest with ourselves, most of us don’t do anything serious to achieve it.
Think about it. How many of us actually do some form of physical activity like walking, jogging, doing aerobic exercises, lifting weights, dancing, or something else that would give us a good sweat at least once a week?
Sex does not come into this as most of us don’t enjoy heart-pounding sweat sessions anymore like when we were in our teens or early 20s, because our ageing partners aren’t able to do that (though they would never admit it). Besides that, there is always the consideration of privacy with children and/or grandchildren around.
When I was in my late teens to early 30s and I heard older relatives, and, later on, colleagues and friends voicing their concern about how their bodies were feeling, I thought many of them were being melodramatic.
But after I passed 37 and my career took off, my family life became an intense juggling proposition. That’s when my curves gradually filled out, my breasts dipped, and my hair began to whiten.
Since then it has all been downhill. Not rapidly, thank God, but a downward trend nevertheless.
Though I have had quite a full and enjoyable life so far, and have a happy marriage with three children who continue to make me proud, I couldn’t believe I was getting so old. My friends, on the other hand, made jokes about my predicament.
It amazed me how none of them realized how concerned I was, and how unfulfilled I was because I felt there was so much more that I could do, and needed to do.
What compounded my despair was that though on the inside I felt as young and enthusiastic to do more with my life as I did in my 20s, my body couldn’t take the rigours of doing even a quarter of the things I had in mind. So I would start something and never complete it because I was too tired.
My body image was of particular concern. Sometimes when I looked at my face and body and saw how I aged, I became so depressed that I cried. I sought help and spoke with my pastor at church and he told me that I seemed to be having a midlife crisis of sorts.
He said both men and women go through this period of apprehension, but it is how they handle it that matters to their future happiness and longevity. He advised me to get some exercise as the time taken to do it would give me a chance to relax.
I took that chat to heart and started walking and eating better. The result is that I dropped 28 pounds in seven months, along with reducing four inches off my waist. I am still somewhat overweight but I feel like a new woman.
I have more energy and I can get into slacks I had ten years ago.Not only does my body feel better but my face has a glow too. That’s because my husband joined me, dropped a few pounds as well, and now we are more intimate than ever. We also talk more and are planning to do more things together which should enrich both of our lives.
Most importantly, I no longer feel depressed at adding on the years. Actually, nothing would make me happier than if I could comfortably retire right now. But I can’t just yet, though I am working on it.
I just thought I would share my story with older people so that those who are as depressed as I used to be can do something about their lives and get happy.