When I was younger, I didn't think too much about pain or illness.
Before I became a nurse I worked in landscaping, did plant nursery work or Landscape maintenance. My body was strong. I had mastery over my Physical state. I could lift like Hercules in cutoffs, work all day in the hot Florida sun, and make things grow.
I was not concerned with how I slept at night, or how I would feel when I woke in the morning to painful joints.
I wasn't concerned about making concessions to low energy, or accepting limitations of my physical state.
As the arch of my Life spreads itself across my Sky, I have conceded that I am aging.
I think about this with some anxiety and also with some ignorance about what this will look like.
My Father was gone at 44. My Mom at 64.
They didn't leave much of a model for navigating older age.
(I just wrote "Old age" and changed it to older age...HA!)
I am not sure how to navigate this particular passage of my life.
I want to write that I do not like it, but that is not really true.
Let me explain what I mean.
Some years ago, I think maybe 5 or 6 now, Maybe longer because my memory is obviously on a slippery slope...I went to my little nurse Practitioner about some symptoms I was having: Night sweats, low energy, irritability, lack of mental clarity and pain.
"You are in Menopause."
I asked her how long it would last. Like it was an unpleasant part of a journey that got ruined by bad weather.
She is young and pretty and perky.
She smiled at me and said..."Those symptoms don't ever go away, you just adjust to them."
I couldn't have been more shocked if she had Tazed me.
I think I might have said something like "SHIT."
Well, even though I work in Mental health and understand about COPING SKILLS that are healthy,
I reached for the first one at hand: Denial. This really would pass.
I would get my energy back. Surely. These pesky hot Flashes would fade away, and I would sleep again.
My joint pain....temporary. Estrogen ...who needs it? Ha!
I laugh in the face of FEAR....
I am 58. I do not like being in pain, having joint discomfort, Not sleeping, being irritable or having skin that looks like it needs a good starching and ironing.
No body likes that.
One of the younger techs that I work with asked me what years of my life I liked best, or when I was happiest.
I said, "I am Happiest now."
He looked at my grey hair...because I do not dye it, Looked at my lined face because I do not iron it, and said "Really?"
I said affirming "YES, NOW."
Even with the pain and the fatigue, and all that shriveling estrogen, dried up and blown away,
I am happiest now.
"Why? " he was obviously dubious.
"Because Now I know how to Be HAPPY," I said. "I choose IT, I CHOOSE IT."
This year I pray that you will choose Happiness. That your Journey will help you find it. That you will seek it. That you will have it even in Pain and Not sleeping. Make your accomodations. Accept. Accept. Find your way of coping, and in that
I pray that you are free From Suffering.
and That I am Too.