Ever since I was a little girl I’ve wanted to be an old lady. I’ve always carried an image of myself as wrinkled with a wispy gray bun sitting in a rocking chair. Children will come sit on my lap and revel in my kind council. I imagined myself emanating wisdom.
I turn fifty in five weeks and, while I’m nowhere near my image of being an old lady, I am on my way. My hair is already gray and I’ve gathered a bit of wisdom on my journey.
What I didn’t factor into the equation was the toll life takes on my body. Regardless of my amputation, but in many respects because of it, my body is showing the signs of good old wear and tear. I need to get bifocals; my bones creak when I stand from a sitting position; I get heartburn. How did this happen?
Ever since my accident aches and pains are a normal part of life for me, which was unusual for my age. My peer group didn’t grumble about tendinitis, bursitis, or swollen ankles. I know that, in many respects, my body is older than my chronological age. It made me feel a little freakish and lonely. And I dealt with the pain by ignoring it, getting angry with it, and hiding it.
But now that my friends are getting older I finally get to commiserate with them. They too know how hard it is to stand after sitting for an hour. I empathize when I hear them complain about sore muscles or a bad back. Their bodies are starting the wear and tear process, too. While I don’t wish this on anyone, I feel like I have company!
Not that I like to spend a lot of time whining about my body. What I didn’t expect about aging is how young I would feel on the inside. That old lady with a bun sitting in the rocker? When I was a girl I thought of her as quiet, soft and gentle. I didn’t realize that I would grow up and, instead of sitting in a rocker, I’d want to be listening to rock music.
Just so long as I stay young at heart, I’m not too concerned about my body.