Dear Past/Future Me
Contemplating the full length mirror, I slip my nightgown up over my head. Not as easy to do now that I have a touch of bursitis in my shoulder from throwing bales of hay up over my head in my youth. Thankfully, I've replaced most of my night clothes with button less tops. The arthritis in my hands and fingers makes those nearly impossible first thing in the morning. Buttons become easier to maneuver later in the day. I’m not ready to meet the Velcro and elastic waist pants me, but I know she’s just around the corner.
Running my hands over my stomach, I remember the days as a UPS delivery driver, at the gym I could pump out 100 men’s style push up then hop over and do just as many chin ups. Belly sagging somewhat, I look at the bags of clothing I have ready to go to Goodwill. I’m no longer comfortable wearing that size or style. Muffin top may be a “thing”, but not my “thing”. I’ll buy the next size larger and determine to walk more often.
In the past two years, I have become more sedentary in my lifestyle and it shows on my body. I quit smoking and filled my hands and mouth with food. In two years my bra size has gone from an A to a C cup. It’s rather uncomfortable having larger breasts. They are a bit saggy, they get in the way, they make my arms swing a different way when I walk, and they bump things. I have cleavage and I am really not used to that!
My fingertips run over my top lip, which is now lined with cigarette lines, whistle lines, and ooh lines. My favorite are the ooh lines. I have some jowls started and my cheeks have begun the “old person” sink. I look in the mirror and see my mother, wondering how in the world she got there. She gives me a glimpse of how I will appear to others when I reach her age.
I have read that clumsiness is a big part of menopause. I don’t think I’m as much clumsy as I don’t have a clue what my size is. I hit corners of walls or the back side of chairs as I walk past them. Bruised and battered is definitely a part of menopause!
Along with losing my past body, I am beginning to lose my past friends. I am very sad about this. Some of my past friends have been blood relatives, others are not. The change in my life style makes me think of the song by Seals & Crofts “We May Never Pass This Way Again”. I won’t have those friends to go on vacation with, spend a Friday night at the burger bar, spend a weekend get away at a cottage, share our wins and losses at the casino, or share the accomplishments of our children or grandchildren. New friends may be on the horizon, but for today, I relish in the past shenanigans of my youthful friends and try to clasp tightly to the ones I currently have.
My past has shaped me for what I will become tomorrow, as it does everyone. I only hope I can live up to the expectations I had in my youth. My husband has a friend whose mother just won a 5K race, she is 90 years young. She began walking on her treadmill when she was in her 70’s. I think this is the future I would like for me, so to begin, I either walk or ride our stationary bike every day. I may not become as svelte as quickly as I would like. But, I think I have some time.
Planning to live past 92 and reach for 100. I know I have to take care of this body, I have to keep my mind as sharp as I can, I have to love as many people as I run into since joy and love are best when reciprocated. I am preparing for this longer life by going back to those basics I developed long ago; exercise, laughing, eating healthier (I am gathering canning supplies to begin that path again as well), laughing, sharing my life with everyone around me, laughing, telling my friends how much they mean to me, and of course laughing. Come join me on my journey!