Friday, October 28, 2016

Struggling with 45

Pictures do lie - prepare yourselves for a pity vent of epic proportions. Read on if you dare!

I've decided something: I really don't like being 45. I mean, I guess it's better than the alternative, but this birthday is one that I'm struggling with more than I anticipated.

Maybe it's because I didn't have a very good birthday week. When you combine the letdown of the wedding being over with K & J being on their honeymoon with the drama of the dogs fighting, it's no wonder that I didn't especially enjoy the actual day or week of my birthday. My loved ones were good to me for my birthday, that's not what I mean. I just didn't actually enjoy any of it really at the time.

But it's certainly gone beyond that. Here we are three weeks or so after my birthday, and I'm still in a bit of a funk. I'm sure it's not just the fact that I'm 45, but you can't help but notice the timing of this most recent foray into the abyss. Am I in a rut? Am I depressed? Am I just throwing myself a pity party? Yes, probably all three to some extent.

My life just feels a little out of control. My yard needs serious attention, but I don't even know who I could hire to take care of it at this point. My house has "panic zones" at the moment - right now, that's my bedroom and garage. Beyond that, I really need to do a deep cleaning, but I'm just too tired and too lazy to get it done. (How's that for transparent?) My job is incredibly stressful right now, and two of my besties have retired and said sayonara to that place. While I still have a couple of friends here, work is quickly starting to feel like a locale without real allies.  I haven't crafted since before my birthday, and I just can't seem to motivate myself to do so. After work, all I want to do is sit (in the dark like a vampire as my daughter would put it) on the couch and stare mindlessly at television that doesn't even interest me. When it is time to go to bed, I've finally managed to get interested in something like pinterest or stitching or reading, and I stay up too late. That means I'm a zombie the following morning. The struggle is real.

Sure, there have been some moments of fun in the past few weeks, but this pall of exhaustion and disappointment seems to color even the fun times. For whatever reason, I don't feel content right now. I'm not unhappy; I'm just restless. It's like I have something left undone, something still to do, something to see or hear or listen to or say, something that will not allow me to rest and enjoy my life until I take care of it. Since I don't know what that could possibly be, I do nothing and continue to flounder.

Yeah, yeah, I should take better care of myself. Eat better food. Sleep regular hours. Get more exercise. Take time out for fun. Give myself a break. Get together with friends. Meditate. Take rest when I need it. Gain perspective. Count my blessings. Chat with loved ones. Blah, blah, blah. I know that taking better care of myself would make me feel better. I know how to take better care of myself. But when or how do you take better care of yourself when even thinking about it exhausts you to the point of paralysis? . How do I force myself past the tired, past the foul, past the restlessness, past the paralysis into action? That's what I want to know.

I've been chatting with a close friend recently about different philosophies and how they theorize both our places and purposes in the world, how we interact with others, and why we do and think and believe the things we do. I love those conversations, but I'm not sure they're helping me shift out of this negative zone I find myself in currently. Philosophy can be rather stark, rather bleak at times. As a result of some of these conversations, I'm thinking about my mortality and aging, and I definitely don't like it. But I love the intellectual stimulation of considering ideas and philosophies that I may not have explored before now. Why am I here? What have I accomplished? After all is said and done, what will be my legacy, if anything? Are my dreams still possible? Where do you draw the line between dreams and realism? At what point, do you admit that not all dreams do come true? And what happens if you simply run out of time for all of the amazing things you want to do with your life?

Of course, none of these feelings are helped by the fact that I have a bit of (heredity-based) arthritis that is flaring up more and more in my knees and back or that I hate my hair at the moment or that I suddenly feel old and decrepit rather than vibrant and sexy or that my eyes and forehead have more wrinkles than ever or that the texture of my skin is changing or that I'm constantly having to color the gray in my hair or that I think I'm developing jowls - the horror! I mean, my best friend and my worst enemy is my magnifying mirror. I can't help but wonder - when did this happen? When did I start getting old? Granted, I'm not sure that much has changed when other people see me, but I suddenly see myself with a much more critical and pitied eye. This lily, as they say, is no longer covered with dew. Am I being unfair and brutal, as we all can be to ourselves? Or am I simply seeing myself and my age clearly for the first time? Perhaps I'd just been living in a cocoon of denial about aging; I liked that cocoon, man.

It's not enough that I feel old or that I'm questioning my existence and my time on the planet; these days I'm looking a bit haggard too. Surely, that'd send anyone into a maelstrom of negativity, not just me. I'm sure all of these factors are contributing to my restlessness and generally foul mood. The really frightening possibility is this though - is this what 45 feels like? is this what 45 looks like? is this my new normal? My God, I hope not. Or am I just having a rough patch that coincides with this huge number change? Does it get better? I sure hope so.

Pardon the rant, the pity party, the complaint, the self-deprecation; I'm struggling here and just needed to vent my feelings at one fell swoop. Tomorrow will be better, right?


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  2. It will be, Tiffany! I am 58 and totally get the struggle with trying to accept my aging body. I do find for myself that the best way to feel energetic and positive is to do something every day to take care of myself - no judgment, just hoping you come to a place soon where you see how much brightness you share with others!

  3. Oh no. So sorry to hear you're struggling, Tiffany.
    Just some thoughts:
    1. You've just come off the huge high of the wedding. Huge highs (with huge lead ups) bring huge lows.
    2. Work is stressful.
    3. Work is not the same with those two friends not being there. Without those positive influences/faces in your day to balance you, the negatives become more obvious. This happened to me in my teaching situation, too. It's a huge change.
    4. With everything going on, your house jobs have piled up. It's understandable. Normal. Your time has been put elsewhere.
    5. You've just celebrated a birthday, and it wasn't a great one. That's disappointing. Very. Birthdays are a chance for at least a little fun, but if you're not feeling it? Not fun.
    6. Um, consider your mum and the age that she passed. Close to your age? You talked about that on a podcast. Are you philosophical more so because of that do you think?
    7. All of the above things happening all around the same time would compound a lot of stress/anxiety and paralysis in motivation as you said. A brain on overdrive. Emotions on overdrive.
    I feel for you so much, Tiffany. Take care of yourself. Don't try to do everything - Just do one small thing. The next right thing. One thing. Then another one thing when you can. Then another. And no lists of those one things!
    Hope you feel better soon,

  4. I thought it was just me! I've recently changed jobs (again) and have no real work friends; I'm sad and depressed all the time even though I have a great husband and a fantastic little girl to snuggle and hold. I've even considered going to see someone to figure out what is going on. I just don't feel like myself. This has been going on for about a year now. Recently (like 2 weeks ago) I couldn't stand it any more and cleaned the entire house - even though all I wanted to do was sleep! Then I felt good about the house so I decided it was time to clean the closet of all the clothes I've been holding onto but a) never fit right; b) were too small or c) out of style. This made me happier because now I can see I need a few new things and the stuff I have actually makes me happy. and just this week I decided that getting up each morning for a walk on my treadmill was an essential part of my day - just like taking a shower. So far I've stuck to it and walked each morning but I'm only 5 days in so we'll see how this goes but I do find that making it an essential helps. My point is do 1 thing even if you hate every minute of it and when it's done you will feel a bit better and that may lead to the desire to do 1 more thing. Then slowly you can start to come out of the funk - at least that's my hope! Good Luck - you can do this!!

  5. Brave... that's what I thought when I read your post. You very eloquently put into words the very emotions I have fought tooth and nail. After all, if I admitted my feelings then they COULD be real... and I didn't like that. I turned 51 a few months ago and it's like an out of body experience when I say it outloud. I fight changes in my body and hate all the aches and pains that remind me. I know all the right things to do frankly resent having to work at what used to come naturally, especially since I don't have as much energy...grrrr. I am not wise, but I will tell you for sure that you're not alone...and your post reminded me that I'm not alone. Thank you for that. I read what I considered 'profound' during last weeks retail therapy at Hobby Lobby, it said... "Don't look back, you're not going that way." I hope you have a better day than you expect and the sun is shining.

  6. I think it's good that you're articulating what you're feeling and I'm sorry you're in a funk. Thank you for continuing to bring happiness to all your SG groupies in spite of it. I just turned 49 and it is making me feel less than dewy myself, especially when I have a beautiful blossoming 12 year old in my household. I wonder if the time of year might have something to do with it? Less daylight, less sunlight, and less time to be outside that you're back to school? I think sunlight is more critical to our well-being than we realize -- I contrast how I feel at this darker time of year to how youthful and happy I feel in the spring, as the weather gets nice and the daylight hours extend into infinity. Sending virtual hugs your way!!