My Body, My Health: Observations in Aging

January 21, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Posted in Life and Living | Leave a comment
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When I was 22 years old, I found myself sitting at my desk, new to the working world, scratching my legs furiously.  My skin had gotten so dry, no amount of lotion seemed to offer any relief.  It was at this point when my colleague, then 29, told me about the 7 year theory — every 7 years your body goes through a series of changes as part of the evolution of aging. This was probably the turning point for me in terms of being aware of my health.

Since then I’ve been keenly aware of some changes and that is just one of several lessons I’ve learned about my body and my health. Here are a few other things I have learned.

1. Your body will begin to reject food you once loved.  That stomachache you got from eating 3 slices of pizza was your body telling you that you went too far.  And sure, McDonalds sounds like a good idea now, but you will regret it an hour later.

2. Face makeup does have a purpose.  I was never one to wear foundation, powder or moisturizer or any of that stuff, which probably was a good thing because I never had a problem with acne, but I get it know.  For starters, it’s not just the cover up.  Face moisturizer more than anything is a necessity in keeping skin healthy and elastic.  The truth is, skin doesn’t stay elastic or bright.  With age comes exhaustion, permanent circles under the eyes, the infant stages of wrinkles awaiting in the shadows.  Some beauty products can help if you don’t overdo it.

3. You will recognize sickness more readily.  That tickle in your throat will strike the worry chord and before you know it, you will be at the store stocking up on Mucinex and NyQuil.  You will allow the sickness to run its course because ignoring it will only make matters worse. Related to this…

4. You will medicate your symptoms.  I was never one to pop pills at the first sign of discomfort.  If I had a headache, I’d drink water and take a nap.  Nowadays I find headache, stomach and allergy medicine in every purpose I carry. This one I say with some caution.  There are certain instances where I am still very reserved about medication — mainly in relation to sleepless nights.

5. Drinking alcohol will become harder and you will stop fighting it.  Just a few years ago I blogged about how I still party the way I did as a young 20 something.  I have watched that change over recent years.  I still enjoy a nice glass of wine and drink some liquor on occasion, but the end goal has changed.  Once I get the buzz, I usually stop while I’m ahead.

6. The numbers on the scale go up, even if physical changes seem undetectable.  It’s an evil little trick, but somehow those 5 pounds snuck up on you and things will never be the same, because…

7. Losing weight only gets harder.  Sure you’ve cut out soda and junk food, but that’s not enough.  Even working out every day may not be enough to make those pounds go away, but you need to do it anyways because it’s more than a story of weight — it’s a story of health. And lastly and most importantly,

8.  Becoming in tune with your body and its needs grows increasingly important.  Like most things in life, it’s not about some expert’s advice on how you should live your life, save your money, parent this way, etc, etc.  Assuming you are healthy for the most part and don’t have any addictive vices that would change things, your body will tell you what it needs. Your body will tell you when it’s time to stop something.  When I was younger, I didn’t listen to my body several times and got very sick because of it.  Just like a dog, your body has ways of communicating that are non-verbal.  Take the non-verbal queues and tune in.

Getting older is not always a beautiful thing, but much of it is mind over matter.  Listen to your body. Don’t be afraid to strengthen it and don’t give up on it.  It’s the only one you’ve got.

Money Honey: Lessons for my Younger Self

January 8, 2014 at 10:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When I was younger, I never worried about money.  My family wasn’t well off, but we were in pretty good standing.  I didn’t have to work as a teen.  I was to focus on school.  At one point, I got a job simply because I felt like it and promptly quit when it started interfering with my social life.  Once I got a car (purchased by my parents), I worked so I could have money to go out and pay for gas. The jobs I had were easy and profitable.  I babysat, worked at the gym, worked at the tanning salon.  I had cash, free tanning and a free gym membership.  To top it off, I still got an allowance from my parents.  I was rolling in the dough.

My parents taught me some methods for saving money, but like most parents, I got the message to save money for specific things.  If I wanted something expensive, I would have to say for it.  You want tints on your car? Save money.  A piece of jewelry? Save money. A night out clubbing? Save money.  But that really isn’t saving money.  I got to college and was so broke, I went from shopping weekly at Mandee’s to shopping occasionally at the Salvation Army. Of course, having such generous parents didn’t help. My parents felt the need to go over the top in terms of providing for their kids.

And now, as an adult, I have learned a lot about money.  I have a lot more to learn, but there are some things I wish I knew when I was younger.

1. Money matters – It doesn’t matter if you are loaded, but it matters that you have enough to get by and that you have enough in case something happens (you lose your job, crash your car, get sick, etc).

2. Don’t totally base your career on money – Be realistic. It’s unlikely that you will be a famous artist.  You might not be able to make money doing what you love, but don’t go the other extreme and just get into engineering for the money.  Figure out what you are good at, what you enjoy, and go with it. Do not limit yourself.  You never know when the economy will change and your opportunities will change. Be flexible.

3. Save money for the long haul.  This is a big one. Putting a little away from each babysitting day will pay off. But save for real things, like experiences, travel, cars (eventually mommy and daddy won’t buy them for you anymore), student loans.  You will likely have more debt than you could have ever anticipated, because life is really, really expensive.

4.  Your tax return will make you feel like you’ve won the lottery.  Free money! Ok, not really. Use this money wisely! Pay off some bills.

5. You will worry about money.  Unless you come from money or marry wealthy, at some point you will worry about money, some more than others.  There is no avoiding this.

6. Try not to worry too much.  Having a balance on your credit cards is healthy, as long as you are making consistent payments.  I used to pay them off completely every month.  Life has gotten too expensive to do that, but I still pay more than my monthly and have a very high credit score.  So don’t be afraid to spend, just be smart about it.  Try to really get bang for your buck.  How important are those tints? That class ring, or that spring break trip might yield better memories.

7. You will not make the same money as your friends.  General rule of thumb, I try not to talk salary with most of my friends.  You are friends for reasons that go way beyond dollar signs.  Your cash flow does not determine your worth as a friend or even as a professional in reality.  Some people make more, some people make less.  That’s how it works.

These are the things I know now, but there’s still so much I don’t know.  I don’t totally understand my 401K but I have one, I have no idea how stocks work no matter how many times it is explained to me. But what I do know is that you can’t rely on anything or anyone when it comes to money.  You can lose it all in an instant.  It is not owed to you. It is something you earn, and as an adult, you need to be responsible in what you do with it to make it go the distance.

Frozen

December 30, 2013 at 11:40 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When I first started this blog, I had a new job, my own apartment, was just a few years into my relationship with my then-boyfriend, and had a clear vision and goals for what I wanted to do by the time I reached 30.  There was so much hope and potential, and starting the blog helped me re-engage in a part of myself that I had ignored for far too long.  That is why every time I think of my lack of blogging as of late, I get upset.

The last time I stopped writing was many years ago, in my early 20s.  A journal page or two every so often, and that was it.  I was lost.  I was back home from college but I was different from when I left, and I didn’t know how to get to that next stage in life or reconnect with my former life.  Now I find myself in the same predicament.

As a writer since I found my craft back in middle school, filling up a journal a year wasn’t unusual, so when I wasn’t writing, I always had to wonder why.  I write as a creative release, to get my emotions down on paper, and with this blog, I was taking another step in figuring out who I am and learning from my experiences.

As of late, I have found myself stuck in this in-between, no longer pushing thirty, no longer a 20-something with all the time in the world and excited about new responsibilities, possibilities, and opportunities.  No longer coming to any new realizations about growing up.  I mourn the loss of this time in my life in some ways, and am looking for the pieces of the past that I can bring with me into the next phase of life, the pieces that will tie it all together.  But right now, I feel like I am sitting in this middle, this gray area, surrounded by uncertainty.  Yes, I have goals, but I’m no longer confident that I will reach them. As much as I may strive, it is not within my power to ensure that they are reached.  I keep trying, I keep reaching, but not one stroke of luck, one sign, one encouragement has come about.  There is only so far I can take it without fate stepping in and guiding the way.  What keeps me going is simply that I have no other option, that I can’t rewind time, that things change if given time, but time is so hard to rely on.  

So as I close out 2013, I look to a new year somewhat blindly.  Somehow, I will become unfrozen.  Somehow life will change as it always does, but how, I don’t know.

So as for New Year’s resolutions, I don’t know. I just don’t know.  All I can do is laugh often, enjoy my time with those I love, and embrace the opportunities that come my way.  Only time can predict my fate.

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