Tuesday, September 12, 2017

50 for 50 day six: oh, my aching back

Oh, the arrogance of youth! I remember when I was younger not really getting what it was like for people with aches and pains. Sure, my knees hurt sometimes and I got migraines, but nothing like what grown ups had to contend with. I tried to be sympathetic, but I didn't really get it.

Now I do.

My back hurts today (I'm writing this at an improvised standing desk). I still get migraines though not as often. I have arthritis in my feet, occasional stomach issues and did I mention the asthma? I'm sure there are more complaints I could mention, but really, who wants to read a shopping list of aches and pains? I'm annoyed and bored writing this, it must be worse for you.

All of this leads me to two thoughts that I hope are more interesting and certainly more useful than my whining.
  1. Your pain is real and so is mine. What is painful to one person may not be painful to another, so I can't tell you that your aching back doesn't really hurt, just as you can't tell me that my back isn't as bad as yours. My younger self would sometimes question the validity of another's experience. I'm sure I still do this. I wish I didn't. All I can do is try to remember that yes, my back does hurt even if I look fine. Yours might, too. This can, of course, be extended to other experiences. Subjective experience is valid.
  2. I am grateful for the body I have. There are a lot of things I can (and maybe will) say about my body and my relationship with it as I blog to 50, but for the purposes of this post what I want to remember is that my body is doing the best it can. It will respond appropriately to how I treat it. If I do things to encourage healing, it will try to heal. If I ignore it by (for example) forgetting to stretch when undertaking a three-day drive across country, it will let me know that it needs attention. 
As I age, as most of us age, we will encounter more aches and pains. We won't heal as readily and will eventually have to contend with the breakdowns that accompany a longer a life. That's perhaps what I'm really grateful for. I have lived long enough now that I need to care for my body differently. I am old enough that I can no longer take good health for granted. This realization is a huge gift as I walk towards 50. Achey and with care, but still walking. Being here that long is a gift.

This is what 50 looks like. A bit sore but still upright. And 50 smells like Icy Hot patches apparently.

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