Slow Down and Live

 In Aging, SHIFT

Why do we not hear truth until it is too late? As I have alternately crawled, walked, and stumbled through the last half century, there has been good advice flashing past me. It usually sounded interesting, sometimes even struck a chord, but rarely changed my path. Even when what I heard or observed smacked me in the face, I could blink, not missing a beat then move on, intent on my course.

There is always that good advice about how to stay on top of our health. I have seen those burned out, flabby, baggy paunched out folks ambling along the way. I have always known they were there. They were always someone’s grandmother or aunt, but later friend or sister. Now it is me, or should I say I. It is I who have become that creature!

When did it happen? I cannot say when it began, but I see where it is going. It is much easier now to believe that my body and mind could fall apart in the near future, a consequence I never dreamed of even 20 years ago.


I remember wishing I could take off that extra five pounds. When did it become 50 pounds? I remember wanting to firm up my tummy. When did it start to sag over my extremities? I have always wanted to be consistent about developing that bulge in my muscles. Now I want to know how to keep that extra flesh from sagging on the bottom of my arms. The anti-muscles?

I guess the worst of it is what I see happening to my mind. I never thought there were bad thinking habits that could cause flab, paunch or sag in the mind, but now I know there are. I have always known that I should stop trying to do 10 million things at once. Yes, I am one of those compulsive, obsessive types who never knows when to quit, or when to let others quit. I have driven myself, and everyone in my field of vision, all my life. I never saw any harm in that.

I sometimes would bang a knee or knock an elbow as my mind catapulted me beyond the reaction ability of my limbs. I expected a few cuts and bruises. I never suspected that I could overload my mind. What have the years of adrenaline rush done to my blood vessels? How much have I caused my head and mind to race beyond their capacities?

I know it has happened. I get irritable and downright cranky when I find myself having to back track to recapture a fleeting thought or to remember a task undone. I have always balanced so many thoughts at once, never realizing that I could lose that ability. I know it is from overload.

Today it is “in” to call it stress. Just stress. Stress is the enemy. The manufacturer never intended His creation to carry the level of stress most of us put our minds, heads and bodies through. We mere mortals get upset when a product we buy will not function in the specific way advertised or for as long as we think it should. We set out to get satisfaction from the person who made the faulty product only to find that we are the ones who pushed the product past its intended use. When that happens, we sometimes convince them to fix it or sometimes even to give us a replacement. It must be obvious that we cannot do that for our overworked selves.

We can begin late to take care of our bodies and recapture some health. Slowing down my mental processes now, however, does not seem to give me back any of my powers or mental strength. I will continue to force myself to change the lifetime pattern of mental self-abuse. I even hope it will do some good. I am trying to juggle fewer tasks. I am endeavoring to take a task to completion without interruption, partly out of necessity as I might not remember to go back to finish the job. I even sat down and wrote this as it came instead of stockpiling the idea in my “to finish” folder.

The real issue is that I wish I could have somehow noticed that I too would fall prey to the “ravages of time.” I should have known I would fight the bulging, sagging and lagging of age. I never thought it would happen to me so I pushed my way through life with a false sense of security that I was different. It was deeper than thinking I was “beating the odds.” I just thought none of the dangers of aging applied to me.

Now as I share this with you, as I bare my flab, I can imagine that you will hear before it is too late for you. It is much more likely that you are one of the lucky ones. You realize that I am just somebody’s grandmother whining about getting old. Or am I your sister?

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