Daily Prompt: Young At Heart–What are your thoughts on aging? How will you stay young at heart as you get older?
Daily Prompt: Fearless Fantasies–How would your life be different if you were incapable of feeling fear? Would your life be better or worse than it is now?
One of the great things about being young is that nothing seems impossible. As I get older, that is no longer the truth. My body keeps betraying me by wearing out. Until a couple weeks ago, my biggest fear about aging was ending up on crutches with knee issues. But two weeks ago I got the diagnosis of diabetes and my life got changed. I went to the doctor to get a note authorizing a humidifier at work and have a physical. Was totally not expecting this diagnosis a week before Christmas. And it’s changed my life although it might actually just save my life and let me stay young at heart.
The first thing to change was my diet. Per doctor’s recommendations — no carbohydrates, no sugars, and no fruits. Sugar and fruit are fairly easy, but no carbs is hard. That means no bread, no rice, no potatoes, no tortillas, and no popcorn. Doesn’t sound too bad until you realize there are no sandwiches, no burritos, no pizza, no lasagna, no pasties, no stuffing from a turkey. All my favorite foods, gone in an instant. But luckily, wine does not have sugar since it is all turned to alcohol. So I can least still have a glass of wine in the evening.
Getting scared by a health diagnosis made it easier to give up all those foods. I did cheat and eat a bite of lasagna on Christmas eve, a bit of stuffing on Christmas day. It’s hard to redevelop a relationship with food in your fifties, almost as hard as relearning how to walk after an injury as an adult. And the food is difficult, everything requires preparation. It’s sobering to walk into a movie theater and realize that you cannot eat anything they sell. Go to an Italian restaurant and your only choice is salad with a side of meatballs. No quick bowl of cereal or toast for breakfast; but you can have a handful nuts to stave off the hunger. Soups will save me, there are many great filling meat and bean soups that even work for breakfast. This is not the time for me to be a vegetarian.
But a week plus into the diet and I am feeling fine. Lots of energy and hope here. In two months, I go back to the doctor for another blood test. And with luck, I will both have lost weight and gotten the diabetes under control. There is the possibility that the next blood test could show no diabetes at all, meaning I can control this with only diet and exercise. It’s a good goal, especially since I could stand to lose weight.
My mom asks me why I refuse to get on a scale at home. For years, the scale has been my enemy along with my monthly period. Just when I thought things were under control, hormones would act up, I’d bloat, and voila, put on 10 pounds in a couple of days. Terribly depressing even when I knew that was water weight, loose track of the diet for a week or so and actually put on a pound or two. Repeat month after month; eventually I gave up on scales. Truth will be learned in the doctor’s office in two months.
So my new years resolutions were chosen by my body. I didn’t know that I wanted a new diet and a new lifestyle. It’s happening and like a kid, I can’t wait to see what happens next. Fear can be a wonderful thing, it causes changes. In the meantime, I get to daydream and possibly plan some exotic vacations. I get to do lots of different art projects. I got to spend a fabulous week with my family. And with these dreams and hope, I can stay young at heart. But being older, I might actually be able to come up with the resources to make some of the dreams happen. And being older, I know that I can’t wait forever or even much longer. My life is good now and I hope it gets better next year.