Once He Was

Time is a funny thing.  I posted before about how when we are young it seems to draw by and yet as we get older it slips through our fingers.  But time is funny in other ways too and today I was reminded about one of the other funny sides of time.

No matter how it moves, as we get older, it fools us.  Once you reach a certain age, you still feel like you can do everything you could when you were younger.  Such as climbing trees, running fast or lifting heavy objects.  And at that certain age, when you do these things, that feel like it should be the same as before, you are reminded that you are not as flexible, lithe or strong as you once were.

Sure you can carry out those tasks.  Once though, where as once upon a time those very tasks were easy to do, repeatedly even if it’s required.

There was a time, back when Beloved was in his prime (before I knew him) where he could sling heavy bags without a second thought.  Today when he moved a heavy suitcase for me, he did it. And then told me if I wanted it moved again, I would have to wait until he was up to as he settled into a comfortable chair for a wee rest.  If you were to ask Beloved, he would tell you that when he went to moved my suitcase, he had thought nothing of it. As he was moving it, he was reminded that there are many things that one acquires with age, however it comes with one having to give up other things, for him it was realizing that while he could move the heavy bags once, he wasn’t as good at it as he once was!

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The Trade-Off

It is inevitable, this aging process.  Just when we have a handle on what we want and where we are going, not to mention how we are doing things, it seems as though the rug starts to get pulled out from under us.  Eye sight wanes in dim light.  Racing the dog isn’t exactly fair anymore as you lose half a step on the dog.  And when did the chairs start to sink down once you get settled in?

I knew I would get old, well it was either that or die young.  The problem with dying young is that you leave so many things left undone.  Sure I know getting old isn’t a picnic.  I can see it because Beloved is going down the path of aging more quickly than I am.  Or rather I should say he has a bit of a head-start on this path compared to myself!

What I wouldn’t give for a bit of that strength, that flexibility and quickness with my maturity.  But of course that can’t be, there has to be a compromise.  In order to gain maturity and dare I say a bit of wisdom we must part with the recklessness of youth.  Perhaps it is that parting with our younger, more flexible, stronger selves that gives us wisdom.

I mean me at twenty would never have bothered to find creative ways to get things off the floor and I doubt Beloved would have been any different either.  But now, now he has the wisdom to use the four-footed one to pick things up (if only she’d bring them back when she was supposed to).  Of course he has also found the wisdom in really stretching out  your toes to use them.  He claims it’s all part of using more of his brain power to find new ways to do things.

I wonder what I will acquire as I get older, what wisdom would come my way or will I still be too immature to be granted any of that type of wisdom?

Getting Old-erishly

I remember when getting older was a good thing.  It meant staying up later, going places without my parents, the freedom of a car and such.  I looked forward to getting older when all those things were ahead of me.

Naturally as those moments or milestones passed me by I didn’t look back at all, after all there were other moorland things to grab ahold of in the getting older category such as college and my own place not to mention maybe meeting Prince Charming.

At some point in our lives though, getting older stops being a good thing or fun marked by reaching certain milestones.  At some point for a good number of us getting older isn’t fun.  Instead it is filled with loneliness or endless medical appointments.  Perhaps it’s is filled with pain and empty hours.  For some it is seeking a friendly face or someone just to talk to, even if that someone is a stranger.

Others of us will become strangers, to our selves and our loved ones.  And if we have been blessed in earlier times to have lots of friends and loved ones in our lives we must accept that we may have now lots of losses,

Getting older means having all you once had slowly taken away or letting it slip away.  Getting older with a chronic disease such as lupus, at times seems daunting.  Granted just general aging seems daunting at times, but this feels more so.  Perhaps because now I see differently milestones, ones that mark where medications no longer work or the recovery time from flares stretching out longer than it already does.

People tell me that despite al the struggles that come with aging, there is something to be found every day that makes it special or enjoyable.  I just need to shift my focus a little more because of lupus they say as they assure me I’m not at the stage of getting older in that sense yet.

Learning To Appreciate The Slow Dance

A friend was venting her frustration at having to slow down as she is getting older because things change. She missed being up all night and still being fresh and on her game for an early morning meeting. She was quick to point out that she could still pull off the early morning meetings after being up all night, but she would be doing so at a cost of being more drained later on in the day.

I completely understand, for I too have had to come to adjustments and realizations that how I used to do things can no longer be replicated exactly. However unlike my friend, I had to come to those realizations much earlier in life thanks to lupus providing me with a huge reality check. Sometimes you just have to find another way to get things done. And if you can’t find that other way, you find out the cost benefit of doing certain things and weigh out your options more closely.

My father once described me as a human version of the Tasmanian Devil because I was always into something on going somewhere, typically with my hair on fire as I raced towards whatever held my attention. My mother referred to me as a butterfly, flitting one place to the next, resting for short periods of time before throwing myself into activity once again.

Lupus made itself known, although not by name, through a series of events which resulted in my forced slowing down. Or rather I slowed down because I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me, but once we knew what it was the doctors would surely cure it and get me back to my usual self. Only once we knew we were dealing with lupus I was sure we’d be on the path to fixing it.

Except lupus, like other chronic illnesses cannot be fixed. It can be managed, the symptoms can be masked and controlled, but once you have it, you will always have it. It’s like the side-kick or constant companion you didn’t ask for or necessarily want, but you have now. And lupus, like other chronic illnesses, does not sit in the shadows or the corners just because the symptoms are being controlled. Lupus must flex muscle now and then and remind you that your life is now a life lived with a constant companion.

Being a bit stubborn, I was pretty confident in my early days of getting to know lupus, that I would be able to carry on as normal, keep up my pace of things and lupus would just sort of fit in with everything else. Lupus laughed at me; the kind of laugh that makes your abs hurt from how hard you are laughing as you wipe tears from your eyes. Lupus taught me that I’m far more creative than I thought I would be; I can budget like a pro. Lupus also taught me that you can’t always get ahead of change, you won’t always like the changes you must deal with, but if you can and will find a way to get done what is most important. You will just do things differently at times, and that is perfectly acceptable.

We Are Getting….Older?

Time marches on, you just don’t realize it when you are young.  I think the first time I realized that time waits for no one was when I was dealing with a tragedy.  It felt as if my life stood still and time for me was like swimming through thick pudding.  But the outside world carried on in normal time.  For the record, I’ve never gone swimming in any type of pudding.

The strange thing about time marching on is that at some point time has you father forward than you thought you’d be.  Beloved and one of his friends were out the other night and towards the end of their evening they encountered a few people in their early twenties.  At some point one of the younger people made a comment that it was cool to see old guys hanging out and enjoying the place.

Beloved and his friend both automatically started to look for the old guys while their younger companions asked them what had brought them to the club in the  first place.  Beloved said that was when it hit him…he had become the old guy.

No warning, no training or easing into this new position in life.  Hours earlier Beloved had no clue of what soon awaited him.  He said he after he realized he was the old guy he felt like someone should have provided him with a hat, a smoking pipe and other such items.  Just to ensure everyone recognizes that he is now an old guy.

How had time marched him to this point in his life without preparing him?  Father Time, Beloved has decided, has a sick sense of humour.  And it isn’t even funny.  Just ask the old guy! 😉

I Heard It

I knew I was getting older. And I expected certain things to happen as I got a little more mature, shall we say. You know, things like vision issues, mobility issues. That kind of thing. I Am actually prepared for that. What I  wasn’t expecting was my hearing. It seems that I’m more sensitive to noises now then when I was younger. The lovely Doctor indicated that this can happen as we get older, but it rarely happens. The volume I used to listen to the television at now is painful to my ears.  So super hearing is surely on the way. More likely the nice man told me it is that I have more frequently headaches due to light  and noise sensitivity. Pity. I was looking forward to having an awesome super power. Not that the hearing would be my issue. But I’d take what I get.

But then I got to thinking will there come a point where every little thing is just too much or just too loud, too bright?  As I thought about I shared my thoughts with a friend who suggested that I just need a break from all the noise around me.  She said that today we are exposed to so much noise all the time it could just be that my ears are rebelling.  It’s a nice thought, one that fits with today, but I do wonder if maybe before one’s hearing goes down it gets more sensitive.

But I am going to take a rest from all the noise around.  I shall curl up with a lovely book for a while and listen to nothing loud than the turning of pages!

Holding It All

It’s funny how you never notice someone aging when you live with them most of the time. Its like suddenly one day, they have aged and you have no clue how that happened. It struck me today watching Beloved’s hand grasp the steering wheel. These are older hands, hands of a man who has experienced a great deal more distress and trauma than when I first met him.

Perhaps his hands also represent lessons learned through experiences and friendships. And they surely represent the journeys he has been on in that time.

He has a small scar, barely noticeable now, on his left thumb courtesy of a stubborn window that wouldn’t close, but gave way under pressure. I wonder, when people look at his thumb, do they notice the scar? Do they wonder how he got it or does it even matter to them.

His are hands of a man who hasn’t worked manual labor, which I’m sure some people notice when they look at his hands. He has been blessed and able to choose to make his work of the intellectual variety rather than manual. And his hand tell that tale in their softness and immaculate manicure.

It’s hard to believe that those were than hands that so tightly gripped mine when we heard the words “sorry, you have cancer”. Those hands were the ones that balled up into fists as he endured radiation and chemo. And those were the hands that slapped the desk with glee when he was told he was cancer-free now.

Those are the same hands, strong and sure, that can also be so gentle and unsure when it comes to dealing with my follies and health. Those are the hands that aren’t sure if they should touch me when I’m in pain, or try to soothe me when I rage at whatever it is that has my attention for the given moment.

Those hands have patted students on the back, clapped in celebration as students graduated and shook the hands of newly made PhDs. They’ve also held new born babies, and clasped the hands of the dying. They have held many a book and dropped many a tool.

And now, suddenly today, as I watched him drive the car, I realized that like the rest of him, his hands have grown a little older. A little different. Not that you would notice easily if you live with him all the time…but changed nonetheless.

Changed and yet the same. The hands that still reach for mine, as mine reach for his. The hands that hold me and are there for me are a little older, a little more experienced like the man they are attached to. Just as I’m sure mine have changed and altered over time and experience. Still we shall hold it and each other together with this changing hands of ours, hope and trust, faith and love that no matter what else comes our way we will somehow find a way to handle it.