Chelle Summer

The Age Factor

Michelle Rusk

I was doing pretty good for a long time. I had felt my body change at some point in my thirties and then around forty and I made adapted and made changes, mostly in my diet. My ophthalmologist had warned me– checking my birthdate in my chart– that I would be needing reading glasses at some point.

I’ll be honest, it’s disappointing. I keep running– although run-walking some days and trying to be okay with that– because the chronic injuries that I have are all dog or surf related, not from too much running (translation: don’t let your dog run her head into your knee in the stairwell of your house). I swim in the afternoon partly for my mental health, but also because the water makes my body happy, especially my feet.

And the list of foods I can eat in small amounts is growing larger. There is hardly ever bread in the house– or chips. I have no self control and I know it so I don’t keep them tauntingly around.

Finally, a pair of Kate Spade reading glasses rests on the sewing table because sometimes I can’t see well enough to thread a needle. I can’t read the dates on coins anymore without help although the ophthalmologist says I still have great vision, especially for someone my age.

What’s hardest is that we don’t enjoy our youth, the days of eating whatever we wanted to without worry. Or how much we wanted to. Running without feeling any aches and pains is such a happy morning, not one I can take for granted anymore.

I’m not complaining, I’m still lucky that I had parents who passed on great genes to me. Neither one of them really “aged” until the last ten or so years of their lives. Yet, it’s a challenge to find that balance, that middle ground, of being okay that as things change, all is still well. Is it society? Or is it my own warped view of myself? Probably a little bit of both. Sometimes it just feels like I didn’t appreciate all that I was given until it was starting to seemingly fall apart.

Then I ask myself what I was doing all that time that it didn’t feel like I had appreciated it. And I am reminded that I was busy living my life. Just as I should be.