It’s a strange feeling that as I get older I feel more fragile. Not only in a physical manner but in a emotional and psychological way.
Despite having now experienced a good few years of life, marriage, children and work, I still question my ability to do things as I did the very first time I approached them.
You would think that getting older would mean that you would become some tough old veteran of life, who could battle through anything and was always ready for the next encounter.
Khalil Gibran says:
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
Now I wholeheartedly agree with the ‘scars’ part… those I most certainly have(!) I’m not so sure I feel as strong as I once did though.
I’ll try to explain why:
When I Get Ill Now Everything Hurts More
When I was younger and my mum used to get a headache or a cold, it felt like the world was going to end, like she was dying.
I remember laughing at her and saying ‘Mum get on with it, it’s just a cold’. And she’d smirk and say ‘I’m really weak aren’t I?’ because she saw me not make much out of the frequent colds and illnesses I got.
Fast forward a few decades (ahem) and when I get a bad cold or a headache… which I’ve had as often as I’ve eaten cereal in my life, I feel everything is so much harder, just getting through the day is an achievement.
Mum… I get it now(!)
Things That Seemed Easy Before Seem Hard Now
I’m finding that during times of stress, something can trigger me feeling overwhelmingly anxious from within.
An example would be when I realised the other night that if one of the kids is sick at night, it’s a lot harder to cope alone.
Now I’ve been looking after the kids for years all alone (during the day), with no problems at all. I can do it, I don’t need any help- nah! But now since that night I feel everything is much harder, I worry how I’ll cope if it happens again (knowing full well that I shouldn’t be worrying about things that haven’t happened yet!)
I worry more about little hurdles, such as kids’ sick days, or getting through a busy day with back to back appointments and meetings.
I find it stressful driving through the city to get to the next place, whereas when I was younger, speeding around in my car was the highlight of my day.
Being Experienced In Something Doesn’t Make Me More Confident The Next Time I Do It
This time four years ago, I had just given birth to my youngest child. Before her, I had two other children and I was adamant that I would give birth naturally and without any intervention.
I was lucky enough to follow my birth plans and do it exactly how I had visioned. During the labour of my third child, I just felt I couldn’t do it, even though I was experienced in doing this. You could say my body knew exactly what it was doing. My brain didn’t though!
I found the pain agonising, to the point where I thought I couldn’t go on and I was begging, literally begging, for a Caesarean Section. Something that I knew I had always feared.
This time, I was just too tired, too achy and fed up. I didn’t care that it wouldn’t be the ‘perfect’ birth, I just wanted the baby OUT!!!
Fortunately, she came peacefully, just like her brothers and the birth went to plan, thanks to my stern mid-wife and not me!
The same happened with feeding her, despite having 2 full years experience of feeding my previous babies, I felt I couldn’t do it the third time.
I struggled through the first few months, doubting myself daily, only to go on to feeding her for 16 months, which was longer than the other two!
I don’t know why I gave myself such a hard time.
Nowadays, every time I prepare a report, I have to read it through a number of times and if I can get someone else to read it through before it goes out, then even better.
Of course I never find the ‘someone else’ and then have to send it off, worrying if it made any sense and was as good as the last.
Now there was once a time, when I thought I was invincible, I thought I could do ANYTHING. No I really mean anything. The amount of confidence I had in myself was unbelievable.
Here I am a decade and a half later and I am more realistic. I know that there are many challenges in my path and that I can’t do what I want, whenever I want.
I understand that no matter how much I plan and plan, they do fail. Life can throw the smallest obstacles in the way, that can delay or hold you back from getting to where you need to be.
I also realise though that patience is indeed a virtue. You don’t have to have everything right NOW. If you have to wait, that’s okay, nothing is lost.
I’m slowly learning that being strong doesn’t mean being the ‘bull in the china shop’… but in fact:
“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.”
– Khalil Gibran
So I guess I must be growing up (finally)! 😉
Now I’m not sure if I’ll grow older gracefully, but I’d like to say that I feel more delicate, that would be the most appropriate way to put it me thinks.
The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘delicate’ as:
I’ve learnt that there are many peaks and troughs in life and you just have to remember that when you are down, you WILL rise up again.
IF I feel broken, I know I can be fixed too.
How do you feel about getting older? Same as you did 10 years ago? Or have things changed for you too?
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