That’s what I told myself. I am never getting old. Only I didn’t know I made that promise to myself.
It wasn’t like one day when I was eight and sitting on the teeter totter, and proudly exclaimed to myself, “I am never getting old.” It wasn’t like it was a badge of honor I gave myself and like Peter Pan, I never I crowed about. It was more like a silent vow I made without knowing I had made it. Yet I proceeded to live my whole life with it firmly at the core of everything I did…and how I lived my life.
Getting old was never in the picture. Like Wallace Shawn said in the movie “The Princess Bride”, “inconceivable!!”
It wasn’t that I thought I would die early like Marilyn Monroe, with my beauty still intact. It wasn’t that I had thoughts of ending my life early. In fact quite the opposite. There was so much of life to live that often wear myself out doing too much. Just to experience everything. I’m not quite sure when I made this vow.
I do remember as a young girl listening to the adults around me. They always seemed unwell, unhappy…UN everything. Sitting around talking about how unfulfilled they were in their job, in their marriage, in their life. And oh yes, those countless conversations about all the medicines they were taking.
“This ones for headaches.”
“This one’s for my cholesterol.”
“This one’s to lose weight.”
“This one’s for my high blood pressure.”
“This one’s so I can stand being around my husband.”
It was somewhere in my silent observations I whispered to somewhere deep inside me, “I will never be like that.”
And so I approached my life with fervor—personally and professionally. Living up to the nickname, “jitterbug”. There’s was never time for downtime. I did did did until it was done done done, and then I’d find something else to do do do!
I woke up one day and I didn’t want to wake up. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t care if I ever got out of bed again. I’d open my eyes and think, “why am I still here?”
My passion for life was gone. My passion for LIFE was gone. Where’d it go? I was still the same person. Still the same girl with the same joy of life. What happened to me?
I no longer recognized myself.
Little did I know I was too busy attacking my life, do busy working my butt off at the gym, too busy working for success, that I did not realize that even though I made a promise to myself, I had in fact gotten older. In fact, I was getting older faster because I was always running. And most of the time running late.
I thought that I could outrun age. I thought age was a state of mind and if I acknowledged it, it would come true. I thought that if I did things that made me happy, made enough money, had the “right” body”, ate the right things, that I’d never find myself sitting around talking about the pills I needed to face my life. But I was wrong.
Turns out that I was too busy living, running on empty most of the time, that I never even thought that my body needed some care to keep going. I never thought that I needed downtime. That I actually needed sleep. Like when I didn’t know I had to replace the oil in my first car until AFTER I had killed it, I didn’t know there was “oils” in my body that needed topping off. Things that I could be eating, things that I could be doing that would in fact, prevent me from getting old.
Now I have to learn how to pull myself out of the physical hole that I had unknowingly run myself into and honor the beautiful body I have been given so that I can keep enjoying the gift of life I have been given. I’ve since revised that vow to myself.