My Aching Back

Note: I missed my weekly Thursday post because my site was in the process of transferring domains. I can now move forward with getting this site and my blogging in order. Thanks for your patience during this process. 

I sit today with most of the muscles in my body aching and the tips of my fingers tingling from yesterday being filled with box and furniture moving and ladder climbing as I painted a 300 sq ft room – activities that never made me blink before – noticing that squatting to paint baseboards was complicated by my bifocals, newly acquired a few months back after celebrating perfect vision until I hit 50.

Although the thought of running a 5k, skydiving, or flying on a trapeze turn my stomach,  I’ve never been one to shy away from physical labor. I enjoy long brisk walks and bike-rides regularly and, despite standing at 5’2″, have no difficulty carrying 50 lbs. I’m neither a couch potato nor a weakling – but as my eyes weaken and my hair greys, I find that my body and my soul demand respect.

While I’d hoped to jump into removing wallpaper from the next room today, I find myself reading the novel I couldn’t force myself to finish last night (as I might have just six months ago) – and now envision a day primarily at my computer screen. Sure, I have client projects to work through (as I take days-off midweek because my husband works weekends) and hope to put in some time writing – but the reality is my body and soul demand respect.

As an always recovering workaholic, I remind myself that not every email needs an immediate response and not every project needs immediate completion. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve never been a perfectionist. Laundry piles up, dishes sit unwashed, weeds grow in my garden, and my half-dozen work-in-progress manuscripts sit idle for months on end. Ongoing cyclic chores I can let slide, but I rush through one-and-done type project as if I’m racing against a clock, fearful that I won’t finish and eager to move on to the next.

But with self-employment and being a semi-empty-nester, I’m experiencing a newfound sense of time and am not certain I’ve discovered how to best handle it. I am rarely in a rush — and often, any rush is of my own making. Maybe I can paint a room one day and allow my body to rejuvenate the next. Or perhaps, I can split time completing client work with gardening, dishes, walking, and maybe even painting just half a room – so that body and soul receive attention.

So today, my aches and pains remind me that my body and my soul demand respect. I’m curious if you’ve found any shifts in the ‘demands’ your body and soul make of you in midlife?

 

 

 

7 comments

  1. I think one of the biggest joys of Midlife for me has been working less – after all those years of slogging away in jobs I didn’t particularly enjoy, I’ve found the perfect balance in working 2 days a week and using the rest of my time to pursue things that interest me. I’m finding that my waistline is letting me down a bit though, although I’m more active than I was in my earlier decades and I eat healthy for the majority of time, my midline keeps gradually thickening – an annoying side effect of midlife hormone changes and still being too sedentary – all the things I love tend to be done sitting on my tail feathers for lengths of time! Sorry to hear that your back didn’t enjoy the painting as much as the rest of you did.

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    • Leanne – I totally understand the thickening waistline! So glad you found your balance with work and rest — I read somewhere that women over 40 shouldn’t work more than 30 hours a week. I try to schedule my work Mon-Wed and do more fun things like writing, etc Thurs-Sun. Working so far! Getting off our tail feathers is so important.

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  2. I thought that picture was of my achy back. Now that I’m in my 50’s I am finding new aches and pains. A car accident a couple of years ago brought on the low back pain, but I was surprised when I realized that I couldn’t crawl around my baseboards to paint them. Ten years ago that’s what I did. Now I have to sit on the floor and yes, the bifocals make the job harder!

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  3. Hi Janet, I love to keep fit and active with running, yoga and workouts but there are definitely times when I have to listen to my almost 61yo body and rest. I love that you are a recovering workaholic – so am I and it has certainly taken me years to adjust to early retirement. I hope you body feels better soon, I’ve suffered back pain and it isn’t that pleasant! Have a great week!
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

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    • Thankfully I was just a little stiff and feeling better in a few hours! I’m more of a walker, bicycler, and taichi person — and from what I see on your posts, I am far less consistent than you. But I’m hoping to get there….

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