Saturday, December 22, 2012


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.
She said.
"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."
Surely not.
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.
Merry Christmas


Createology said...

Thank you for writing this post from your heart. I do choose to be happy even though I am aging and getting older with all the symptoms that accompany this journey. I used to never want to be a crone and now I find I am intrigued by being a crone and all that it encompasses. I have earned my older status and I am HAPPY with me at this stage of my life. I am 64 and very thankful. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that wisdom. I agree that accepting it is better but it is so difficult to do. Also, might I suggest you cut sugar from your diet to help your joint pain- it works for me!

Art From The heart said...

dtsdticu835Ah yes.that darn age thing !
menopause almost did me in,thought I was soooo tough !Estrogen did help,I survived.
Sleepless nights,aches and pains. The arthritis and all that crap sucks! But at half way to 68 I like me. I am unique as is my art.Life is good But next time around I'll be taller,thin and rich. I just know I will .

Barb said...

Hi Robin,
This you speak of....aging. I lost the battle and have decided to be happy. Me, doing the "Mentalpause" and my sixteen year old getting started in life! What a pair we are!
But no better time then now! Happy to be moving, alive, with a great husband, two great kids(who will go up and down the stairs for me), so many blessings to count.
Thank you for such a wonderful post.
Merry Christmas to you!

Gollywobbles said...

Robin, you are not alone, and pretty much nailed the same feelings and anxieties I feel. When I'm feeling low, I try to remember something an older gent said to me once "it's a good day when I wake up in the morning, and I can stand on my two feet". I'm learning to embrace this age thing...maybe not see keenly some days, but I am blessed for another day, pain and all. Merry Christmas friend! ~Sam

The Feathered Nest said...

Oh Robin...this. post. is WONDERFUL!!! Because it speaks to all of us dear friend. We are all about the same age and all certainly notice the changes in our bodies. What we have depended on for so long is now, well, not so dependable! Lately I've had congestive heart failure and scary high blood pressure and then was blessed with the knowledge that I have diverticulosis...after a horribly painful bout with diverticulitis in the hospital ER!! Just like they say, gettin' old ain't for sissies!!!!! But the funny thing is, now we know so much more...what to cherish...what to appreciate...and that we don't give two hoots what others think, but just that our loved ones are safe and good. We don't sweat the small stuff...but cherish even the simple gifts ~ and we know we are blessed. Sending you big ol' hugs and wonderful Christmas wishes, Dawn

Debra said...

Oh dearest Baggs-What a lovely lovely post-You have captured so much of what I have been thinking this past year...I am lucky to have some friends who are quite a bit older than I-you should see them-one cleans houses for a living-she's in her late seventies-I'd say almost 80 years old!!! The rest of them are hip, pretty, older ladies that have their heartaches and pains, and yet have what you were talking about-they Choose to be happy-to love Now.

After reading your comments here, I want to visit your friends-I love them already.

I love you so much Baggs-you have been so much of an encourager to me. I delight in your art too-it is that playful, curious and genius YOU that will never age or have pains.
Merry Christmas dear one. I will be sending something after the holidays.

Erika said...

Dear Robin, let me say thank you for your wonderful words. They touched my heart and I could see many things which happend in my life too. I could see, much other woman in our age, I am 53, are in the same situation in her life.
So many experiences in this life time and I am thinking often the same like you ... why ... But it is ok and I choose the same like you and all the other ladies here. It is good, to share such things and meanings. I am happy to read, I am not alone and we could choose, like you wrote.
Yes, time is changing and we are getting older. And so much symptoms are with us, which are bewildering. And some things are getting a real disease. I know this and I live this.

A merry Christmas, dear Robin and the best wishes for health, happiness and peace for now and in the New Year. Wishing you this special joy that only Christmas days brings. May joy and blessing be yours in this Christmas Days! Erika

Jamie said...

So happy to find your blog - this is a fantastic post! I adore your wonderful little figures and will own one soon. I just need to decide which one! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Jamie V in MT (who sees real life moose in the wild every summer in Yellowstone Park...I live only 90 miles north of there!) Come visit anytime!

Romeo said...

Meowllo! I have just found your blog through Dorthe....and I am loving every moment here! What many talents you have - writing and perspective and creating those little fabric souls!

This post on getting older and menopause really hit home with me. And despite it not being so funny, your perspective has allowed me to laugh at it all despite the ugly reality. Thank you!

Romeo and I will return - we are smitten for sure!

"Her" and Romeo

Cathy Mckean said...

Just found your blog and I am really inspired! Thank-you for sharing this story. I'm dealing with the same thing! Your poetry is beautiful and your creations are lovely.