Some thoughts on body comfort & dealing with aging and generally coping with the reality of being a lump of replicating cells that creep daily toward death. Inspired by all the “oh, body, how you betray me as I age,” posts all over the social sphere on the one day a week I’m allowed to surf.
The bleak humorous posts come mainly from people in their 20’s and 30’s. I can sympathize with their shock and unhappiness, oh, yes. It’s aggravating to discover you can’t do something as easily as you once could.
There’s often a sense of resentment about it, though, and I can’t fathom the bitterness.
First, I don’t remember ever having an expectation of navigating daily life without pain or risk of injury. Maybe as a toddler? No, there was the top bunk incident and the 16 stitches in my chin (blood swirling down the drain, my parents talking over my head with the doctor about possible facial scarring… I was 3, I think?) I knew life was a contact sport wherein any action could bench me with injuries before puberty hit. Tying my shoes and “sitting wrong” have always been hazardous. No biggie. Deal & heal. I honestly never realized it wasn’t like that for everyone until college. (There are reasons I was teased for being The Oblivious Child)
Second, resentment springs from a sense of betrayal, and that relies on an adversarial relationship with physicality I can’t grok. My body isn’t an enemy or even a frenemy. It’s a housecat.
No, really. It cannot care for itself without my help, it wants lots of things that will do it harm, it’s always finding new and creative ways to break things, and there’s no ignoring it when it needs attention. It’s my responsibility to monitor its behavior and keep it from hurting itself, and we are both happiest when I give it extra pampering. It’s totally a cat.
And yeah, sometimes I’m displeased with my body. (I REALLY didn’t like that phase in my teens when my neck and spine grew first and my legs took time to catch up so I felt like a teeny, clunky giraffe, but hey. I did even out. eventually.) I’m sometimes displeased with my cat, too. Like when he decides my bedside is just the place to vomit up hairballs.
But I digress. My body is mine, and sometimes it purrs, and it tries to be good, and so I can’t imagine resenting it for things it can’t help.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with resenting your body. I’m an all-out supporter of doing whatever works to keep yourself going. No such thing as a One True Way etc. I can’t see that it would ever work for me, that’s all I’m saying.
Anyway. Gonna go give myself a treat and a brushing now.