Things and people fall apart...
I don’t know how much of a lesson this is today as it is a cautionary tale. One of the lessons of the year that I am learning this week is that things (and people) fall apart. In fact – right now I feel as if I am falling apart! One thing that I have found as I have approached this ripe middle age is that I have been plagued with numerous health and structural issues. I am not necessarily blaming it on age, it is far more likely to be the result of a decade and a half of busyness, stress, poor eating choices, yo-yo diets, intermittent exercise (ranging from super stressful weight training and half marathon running to serious couch-sitting for Barbados), putting everyone else before myself, and of course having stress relief activities that ranges from cake-baking to wine-drinking.
But I suppose the difference is that I used to be able to shake this stuff off so much more easily. In my student days and post student days, I was a relentless insomniac burning the candles at both ends (and in the middle) and I used that time that I should have been sleeping in scarily efficient fashion! And unfortunately, this was the standard by which I set the rest of my life. Now that I am moving towards the next decade, I am constantly disappointed with my lack of fitness (and sleeping 6 hours a night seems like a real inconvenience) and still attempting to pack things into an already moderately packed schedule.
One of the first (and biggest) health issues that I faced was being diagnosed with an underactive thyroid. I remember reading a book about this a couple of years ago (some years after the diagnosis) and the writer said that thyroid disorder is a blessing in disguise, as it is nature and your body’s way of getting you to slow down and take stock. And since I did not appreciate it for what it was, I have since then been diagnosed with a number of other disorders – hormonal, gynecological and structural, the most recent of which was in the past 48 hours. I really do feel as if I am falling apart!!! Perhaps my body thought it was whispering too softly and is now beginning to shout!
As I mentioned in a previous lesson, I am trying to take this all in my stride, and am making a ginormous effort to see what lesson I could learn from these things (aside from the obvious SLOW DOWN which I am finding very difficult to do at the moment). I recently read an article about burnout (will try to post the link at the end of this) where they spoke about burnout being “the loss of capacity to relax (and) just do nothing”. And if I had to find a way to describe how I was feeling – that would be it word for word. I am reliably informed that balance and having some down time and rest is a huge component of health. In fact I have done many courses, webinars, guided meditations, and listened to numerous podcasts about restoring your health through diet, exercise, stress relief, specific supplements, and the list goes on, and I will admit that I have never stuck to any one of these things for longer than a few weeks at a time over the past decade. I find healthy living to be intrinsically stressful, and it is hard not to get stressed out about being stressed out!!! Unwinding does not come that easily for me, and in addition, it seems that my attention span is contracting and nothing tastes as good as a large bowl of cereal on the couch.
So….. enough moaning and groaning. What is my lesson for this post? Things fall apart. As a cautionary tale for the younger readers (if I have any) – develop good health habits before you get to the age when it becomes harder to do, and the responsibilities of life (and grownuphood) get in the way. And for the older persons who are still fit and healthy – I envy you!! I want to be you when I grow up. Make an effort to continue to prioritize your health and treasure it like a rare jewel. For anyone else who is in my age range and feels old and creaky like me – I should tell you that my one personality trait that has lasted my entire life is that of PURE stubborn-ness – so I am pretty sure that at some point I will figure this out, and so perhaps if you check back this blog in about a year or so, let us hope that I have a different story to tell, that I will be vibrant and energetic, and that I will be able to give you the secret to healthy living at the ripe old age of 39 and counting.
Big love from a small island!
Here is the article I referred to.
ps - another photo from my lovely Tanzanian Safari is above. That lion in the tree is how I feel most days...