Saturday, April 14, 2012
Oh my Goodness! I just realized something. I’m old! It was hard enough to realize that I was middle aged about twenty years ago. It took me almost half of that twenty years to come to terms with it.
But today, while skimming through my dictionary under the “M”s, I came across the definition of Middle Age.
Harper-Webster’s Dictionary describes middle age as “the period in your life when you are between the ages of about 40 and 60.” I’m almost out of middle age and about to enter the limbo stage between middle age and senior citizen status. How did this happen?
Some days I do feel like a senior citizen. Especially when I realize my grandchildren will start graduating from high school next year. And when my health problems flare up: the diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and now my most recent diagnosis of osteoarthritis in my hips. My current episode of pneumonia has aged me about ten years I think. And somehow, when I recover from a disease bout, I don’t feel any younger. It just levels off at the current age stage until the next round of antibiotics begin.
I would love to be able to go for walks with my daughter and granddaughters, walk the dogs, ride my bicycle, and play in the softball and whiffle ball games my family loves. But after only a few moments, I begin having intense pain in my lower back and hips. By the time I reach my destination, I am in agony. So walks are very limited in scope these days.
Work schedules are difficult now too. I remember back in the 90s, I could work the twelve hour shifts, attend nursing classes, and keep up with four teenagers at home. Where did all that energy go? Now, I can only work about three eight hour shifts in a row. If I work four, I invariably end up with bronchitis or some other ailment. I have graduated from ibuprofen to tramadol to Lortabs for the pain I suffer while standing doing my work.
My cognitive function varies as well. When I’m writing, while sitting at my computer, I can write and put two words together that actually make sense. But after working an eight hour shift, my nursing charting sometimes makes no sense at all.
There have been some advantages to middle age, however. I have learned tolerance. I no longer become as angry when I see children being disrespectful, or when my dogs misbehave. I am more tolerant of alternative lifestyles, even though I have no desire to live them myself.
My faith has become much stronger, and I am more assertive. Probably not as assertive as I should be yet, but my distaste for conflict has taken a back seat to the strong desire to convert others to my political views.
A Libra myself, I have always tried to see both sides of every situation. This has made it much easier to deal with conflicts, as I can understand the opponent’s side of the story.
So, what do I do now? Do I change anything about my lifestyle? Do I change careers? I see my nursing career waning at this point due to my debilitating diseases, but is it too late to begin a new venture? I have no desire to go back to school to learn a new trade.
Rather, I am drawn to the prospect of either buying the local newspaper, or opening an art/craft store and offering art classes. How much capital either of these would take is unknown to me. I have been afraid to check into those details. My husband is afraid to see me leave my good paying job to take on a risky business venture. But I have five years at least before I can collect Medicare, even if it still exists by that time. I need to make some plans. I want to explore my options.
Middle age is almost at an end. What will senior citizenhood bring? Time will tell.