WTF! This is aging? Do you think older folks discussed aging and decided not to tell the next generation what would really happen? Because there’s a lot going on that no one told me in advance.
I turned 50 last year and all I seem to say is WTF? This is aging? Why didn’t someone tell me about this? Grey hair in places that should never be grey. Hair appearing in places it never grew or hair no longer growing in places it’s always grown. Bulges and bumps squeezing my clothes in bold new ways. Loss of libido due to sahara conditions in the formerly fertile plains, if you will. WTF? Yup, aging.
To add insult to injury, it is true: sphincter muscles are directly connected to the mouth. I know this because too many of my friends are now complaining that they involuntarily fart when they sneeze or worse, dribble when they laugh or sneeze. An unfortunate few have “backyard leakage” when they sneeze or laugh. WTF? Oh yeah, aging.
Really? Is this old age? The wrinkled skin and age spots wasn’t enough? The middle-age spread? The irregular periods of menopause? The hot flashes or night sweats? When I was young, I looked forward to the day I’d never buy another tampon maxipad. Each month I’d say, “I can’t wait until this is over!” What’s the expression? Be careful what you wish for.
Because you see, there may be months where there’s no bleeding. At first you think “oh, am I pregnant?” (knowing THAT’s not a possibility) and then it’s a joyous “maybe this is it!” And there’s no bleeding for 2, 3, maybe 4 months. But you realize you still have PMS! The irritability (how kind!), the bloating, the moodiness and tears, the headaches, the insomnia. It’s the kind of PMS where you want someone to put you in a padded cell because you are a danger to yourself and society. Slowly, ever so slowly, you realize the limbo you’re in. There is no set date of Aunt Flo’s arrival. There’s an endless cycle in which you want chocolate, sex with a 25 year old, a hot water bottle, a gun, your favorite teddy bear and a box of tissue. Sometimes 1 at a time and sometimes all at once. WTF?
Finally when your friends have almost tossed your friendship in the garbage( because really how long can PMS/menopausal women hang out without killing each other?) – the red tide arrives! Tide being the appropriate word. No one tells you that in middle age you should buy stock in Kotex or Tampax. The red tide is may come in with hurricane force cramps, leaving you exhausted in the fetal position , thinking “God kill me now” or it may arrive stealth bomber style – a mere drop of crimson on toilet paper—convincing you that this pseudo-period is a hiccup. That is until the flood gates open (usually around 2a and just when you’ve changed your sheets) and you are up every 45-60 minutes, changing said tampon (of which you hopefully own stock!). How many of us have had to 1) shower in the middle of the night, 2) change sheets or 3) do laundry? WTF?
It is one thing to look in the mirror and no longer see the face of a 35 year old. It is quite another to realize how unprepared I was (am) for my body’s betrayal. Nothing is constant, every day/cycle is a new normal. When a period arrives, I stare at the toilet paper (or panties) in disbelief before wondering how long and how bad.
This post wasn’t supposed to be about periods but I suppose periods are closely related to peeing. Rather, the loss of bladder control that aging brings. The type of loss of control where, at times, I no longer know I’ve lost control! For example, I meet a new contractor to discuss work in a rental property. As we’re talking, I sense I’ll need to pee soon. Suddenly, I’m crossing my legs, grabbing my crotch and squealing “omg! I have to pee!” as I suddenly feel wet rolling down my leg. WTF!
Instead of being horrified, mortified at my body’s public betrayal, I’m sanguine as I shrug and say, “sorry. Aging sucks.” He should be grateful he didn’t have to change my diaper! One comfort: in old age comes more of an acceptance of what is and a letting go of “what could be or should be.”
What do you wish you had been told about aging? Is there something that makes you think “WTF? Are you kidding me! “?