Age is just a number

wonder woman swimsuit

I don’t mind getting older. Really I don’t. Mostly because I feel that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to put behind me a lot of superficial worries and not get caught (as caught up?) in the things that don’t matter, to be able to focus on the things that do – love, happiness, friends, family, compassion, caring.

There is one thing about growing older that doesn’t sit well with me – my aging body. I’m not talking about the appearance of wrinkles or how my body has physically changed over the years. I’m talking about how my body has changed in its ability to perform, recover and heal.

In short, I feel like my body is falling apart.

My husband always teases me that things start to fall apart after age 35. (He’s a few years older than I am.) But I refused to believe him because, after all, age is just a number, right?

But a few years on the other side of 35 has me wondering whether or not he’s right.

I’ve always been somewhat injury-prone. I mean, who dislocates their shoulder while swimming? Yeah, I still haven’t figured that one out yet either.

However, over the past two to three years, I feel like I am constantly injured with a few pockets here and there of being healthy. From knee surgery to posterior tibial tendonitis to plantar fasciitis to this nagging hip pain, it’s one thing after the other.

post op

It’s frustrating when you feel like you follow all the directions (most of the time) and yet your body still doesn’t cooperate. It’s frustrating when it seems like there’s a huge communication gap between your brain/heart and your body. It’s hard when all you want to do is move, especially when movement has become an integral part of how your exist in this world.

I’m not the fastest or best runner or the most advanced yogi or anything more than a wannabe surfer. I can’t lay my identity on those titles but movement? And the freedom that movement brings to me? I can’t live without that.

For me, movement is meditation – it gets me out of my own head and a bit closer to who I am underneath all the layers and expectations. Movement makes me feel like me.

Not being able to move in the way that I want and that I’m used to makes me feel like I’m caged in. I’ve felt my mood drop many degrees over the past few weeks since the NYC Half Marathon.

I’m not ready to give up anything yet and I do believe that I will be running, practicing yoga and surfing until I’m much much older. But I would like my body to cooperate…just a little bit more.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    You need to listen to your body. Over all, you have a healthy approach to life, but if your body gets hurt in some fashion, it’s obviously a sign that you need to slow down. Perhaps you need to do a little less running and a little more yoga (but none of those crazy crazy poses! ha ha)…. Don’t let these pains and aches get you down though, you’re still the mirror image of health, even if your body is acting up!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted..Not So Devilish Deviled EggsMy Profile

  2. says

    What I’m coming to understand is that it isn’t so much “aging” it’s more our individual body parts’ ability to handle the wear-and-tear they’re subjected to. Not all parts of you are going age the same :) My hip for instance! As I sit here a week after replacement at a tender age for such things, I see that it isn’t that I’m OLD…it’s that my hip was designed in a way that it couldn’t keep up with the demands placed upon it. Not age…but by design. Good luck to you in keeping on doing all the things you love in the way you love to do them :)
    MILF Runner recently posted..Blood and gore and drugs… (AKA part one of my hip replacement) *warning: some images not suitable for squeamish people…but they’re in the second halfMy Profile

  3. says

    Oh don’t get me started. There is a little bit of truth to the adage that “youth is wasted on the young” isn’t it? Frustrating as it may be, there is wisdom that comes along with time and while we whine a bit, you know enough to listen to the cues your body is giving you.

    Our bodies are amazing machines but imperfect ones. As women we endure a ton and have the capacity to endure more than we should.

    I hope that somehow you can change your degree direction along with the rising spring temperatures. It sounds like you need a little sunshine , relaxation and/or maybe a massage (if that doesn’t gross you out). If that doesn’t work, a good glass of wine may dull the pain a little.

    Sending you some hugs!
    Melissa Burton recently posted..Tunes For Tuesday – A Dirrty Dozen Two-FerMy Profile

  4. says

    It’s so hard. I don’t mind getting older either. Like you I feel better in my heart and soul the older I get. Wiser and smarter and like I’m going about things the right way more often. But yes, feeling my body go in sort of the opposite direction is sad. And I not nearly as active as you at the moment. But even simple things, like feeling ridiculously dizzy after a couple games of ring around the rosy when I used to be able to spin forever. It’s hard to accept these kinds of changes.
    Tricia recently posted..I’ll never be done making my kids’ childhood magicalMy Profile

  5. says

    I definitely hear you on this one. Although (thank God!) I have never had a serious injury – just over training issues – I have to have movement! Right now I have a cranky IT band and, before that it was something else. I always feel like what’s the point of being so healthy and moving SO much if all I feel are aches and pains? But then i just push though them and those endorphins come raging in!
    Hang in there my friend :-)
    Allie recently posted..Find Your Inner AthleteMy Profile

  6. says

    I’m with Angela. If I had all the money in the world, I would get a massage every day! I’m dealing with a cranky hip right now, and it’s driving me absolutely crazy! Hang in there, Christine! You’re doing a great job listening to your body. With time, R&R, and lots of healing vibes coming your way, you’ll be moving before you know it!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Back to RealityMy Profile

  7. says

    I hear you! I also get frustrated when my body doesn’t keep up. I think it should do everything I ask it to! I have learned to listen and be thankful for what it can do. I teach a lot of fitness classes and work with people of all ages and abilities. They remind me to be happy with what I have and appreciate what I can do and not focus on what I can’t do. :)
    Susan recently posted..9 lessons I’ve learned cooking with the kidsMy Profile

  8. says

    I just turned 38 last week and it has been a year of physical challenges and set backs. Pinched nerves, tendonitis, things just being stiffer and seemingly less flexible. I can relate to this post on so many levels! We are really on the same wave lately with the life is mostly transitions and now this. Maybe it’s an almost 40 New Yorker thing :-)
    Tara Newman recently posted..6 Everyday Lean Manufacturing Principles for the HomeMy Profile

  9. says

    My mom always says that getting old is not for sissies! It’s tough, isn’t it? We became accustomed to all the things we could do with such ease, and then wham!

    I’ve definitely slowed down since my marathon. Even yoga is much more hatha now than ever. I think the key is to keep moving in whatever way feels good.

    X
    Martha recently posted..Joules – British Brand I’m LovingMy Profile

  10. says

    see those two kids you have? you gave birth to them. See all those yoga pictures your post and the journey you been on? YOU MASTERED it. See the 13.1 miles you ran a few weeks ago? You overcame injury and ran it!!

    Your body just needs time to recover, more time. Because you are living it! I’d say it’s doing well friend.
    lindsay Cotter recently posted..PINK SUPER FOOD RecipesMy Profile

  11. says

    I am right there with you! It seems like the last year or so (I turn 39 in July) I don’t bounce back as fast. My energy was getting low too but some of that was lifestyle. I had to accept that pushing as hard now as I did 10 years ago might not work anymore. It’s tough but I’m learning to embrace the new flow. Hang in there!
    Pamela Hernandez recently posted..Monthly Workout Playlist April 2014My Profile

  12. says

    In my head and heart I’m 25 still….I actually push my body harder now than I did at 25 however my recovery time and aches and pains remind me that 25 I am not!!
    Fancy Nancy recently posted..Dear BostonMy Profile

  13. says

    It’s extremely frustrating when you feel like you’re doing everything right and your body just isn’t cooperating. But you’ve done a lot!! Marathons, swimming, yoga instructor training- I’d say your body has done pretty well. The post race blues are common, too… hoping you can find the right balance of movement that both your mind and body can agree on!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..5 by the 5th Winners + Coconut Butter Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

  14. says

    I always hated to hear people say things about bodies and aging – like you won’t recover, you’ll be falling apart. But I’ve been struggling with this feeling lately as well. I had hoped to prove them all wrong. And now I can’t. I am right there with you friend. I feel like I’m falling apart and it’s really starting to hit me mentally as well. Can we please sit and have a brief pity party together then cheer up and hang out for fun???

  15. says

    I remember when I was a dancer (in my early 20’s…almost 20 years ago!) I was always in awe at my dance instructors. Many of them were principle dancers in their time. But, even with their “advanced” age, they still moved like time hadn’t past. When I asked them how they did it, they said that they had to work with what they now had (a non-20 year old body). How they executed a movement 20 years ago was executed in a far different manner now, but still effective and beautiful. Sure, they scaled back and worked through their won injuries, but that was all par for the course for them. There were a lot of movements that they just couldn’t do anymore, but they did what they could, what their bodies would allow and they still reaped the benefits of doing what they loved.

    You’re not falling apart…you’re just falling into place. It’s like a house, your foundation is beginning to settle and with a strong foundation, you’ll be able to stay strong for years to come.

  16. says

    Hello–did you take the words right out of my mouth?! I have been feeling the same way lately. It’s really, really hard. I am recognizing that since turning 40, my body has really been a mess. And I am not some crazy high mileage runner like so many others I see in the blogosphere. Like you, though, I am not throwing in the towel–I’ll keep working to find health!
    Misszippy recently posted..Track Week Part TwoMy Profile

  17. says

    For me, I’m in better shape now at 49 then I was when I was younger. Unlike you, I hate the wrinkles and the old lady knees but other than that, have no problem with aging. It is just a number and mentally I feel no different then I did when I was younger (maybe that’s a bad thing lol). I look for different goals to compensate for the age factor but all in all, I’m feeling pretty good about my age. Now I’m pretty sure in 10 years this will change and that number will bother me more.
    Robin recently posted..Two Weeks TodayMy Profile

  18. says

    Sadly I have been feeling the same way. Now that I am almost 39 I feel like my energy has taken a nosedive and I have all sorts of aches and pains that I didn’t have before. My husband just says that I am getting old;) But, I refuse to believe it! I am not old! Don’t give up, we will be those 80 year old ladies running the local 5k’s:)
    Rachelle Q recently posted..Brooks MadnessMy Profile

  19. says

    Oh – I’m right there with you!! 35 was the age when I really started having lots of issues. I knew I didn’t want to give up running but I also knew I couldn’t continue to run the way I had been so I added in strength training, cross training and cut my runs down and quit racing. It was hard but now, 9 years later, I don’t regret the decisions I had to make and am very happy with what I’m able to do physically.
    You will find what works for you – just don’t give up!!!
    Kim recently posted..Calming Your MindMy Profile

  20. says

    I totally get it- so frustrating when you want to do something and your body fails in some way. I’ve been going through this same thing for the past 10 months, so I have so much empathy. I like to believe that this struggle is in someway a pathway to inner peace or personal growth. We may not be moving our bodies the way we like, but we are moving our thoughts- who knows, after months of frustration we may decide one day that we want inner peace- being frustrated is our pathway to that place.
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..5 easy to make post workout mealsMy Profile

  21. says

    Well being 56, I say you are a youngster!!!! :) I guess for me, I did chose not to do some things that I could feel were hurting my bod. I ran 5ks when I was young but knees started to hurt so I stopped the racing. Even with lifting, as much as I would love to push myself even more & heavier, my goal is to be able to do this long term so I make choices to just do what I do… When I hot 50, all hell broke loose so just doing what I am doing is good right now. :) Yoga is next though.. I think I can do that if I get the money for a good class…
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Counting Repetitions for Weight Lifting; Happy Bday!My Profile

  22. says

    When I was 27 or so, my boss told me that everything changes after 35. That always stayed with me. I am still mostly doing ok, but I can notice subtle changes after 30. Having colds and flus longer. Waking up with occasional sore muscles from how I slept.
    Stuff that never happened before.

  23. says

    It’s probably your body telling you to slow down and give it a little more TLC. We have to be smart and I know it’s hard for those of us who want to push the physical boundaries. My hubby’s grandpa is in his 80s and bikes a lot and lifts weights. He used to run and quit when he was in his 60s. He wanted to save his knees. Smart man.
    Holly recently posted..What I’ve Learned from 4 Years of BloggingMy Profile

  24. says

    I hear you on this one, and my body doesn’t have the benefit of me being awesome and exercising regularly like you! My Dad has recently started to slow down and he is so frustrated because of it. My advice is to find things you like to do, listen to your body, do them when you can and when you can’t, find some other new things to try. I’ve been dealing with serious muscle cramps and pain in my shoulders, and I’m not even 26.

    Some of us are just more injury prone I guess – but you are still so healthy! I wish you luck and I’m sending positive healing thoughts.
    Amalia recently posted..I Wanna Move! Help me have more fun on my run!My Profile

  25. says

    I agree that things get tougher after 35. But I’m turning 55 this year and am still doing pretty much the same things that I always have. The key is regular exercise, good diet, and good footwear. And a glass of wine every night…. I’ve just learned to grit my teeth a little more during exercise and realize that I don’t have to lift as much or run as far to achieve the things that I want. I don’t have to set a record every time I exercise, just keep making progress. Good luck to you!
    Randy recently posted..Zero Drop Running ShoesMy Profile

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