Life After 40

I work at women’s health website.

Working at one is a little like taking psychology classes in college: Every single thing you read or edit that day makes you think Oh my gosh, I have this. … I’m dying.

In college psychology, it was usually social anxiety disorder, minor symptoms of manic depression, compulsive organizational disorder, or some combination thereof. (We were only 19, of course, but we always overreacted.)

But now, at Lifescript, several decades later, I’m opening my browser every morning to review the web site, scrolling through all the information in my e-newsletters, and scouring the health news on the Internet to see the latest and greatest on everything from vaccines to recalls. And now I’m realizing that maybe I didn’t outgrow it. Because now I’m doing it all again, only now I’m not worried about having social anxiety disorder (… er … much…), but about dodging H1N1, preventing diabetes, detecting osteoporosis, keeping my joints healthy, detecting cancer, and warding off Alzheimers. … I know more about RA, OAB, ADHD, IBS, skin cancer, and sleep disorders than I ever thought I’d want to know. I now feel the need to make sure I have enough Vitamin D, omega 3s, potassium, antioxidants, goji berries (???), acai berries (???), good fats, and sleep. … I want to make sure I’m not wearing clothes I’m too old for, coming into contact with Lyme disease, buying produce that has been recalled, eating too much sugar, or letting germs lurk in my food (or on my steering wheel, or in my air-conditioning vents). …

(I’m telling you, people, it’s reeeeally nerve-wracking working there. …)

The biggest irony, though, is that this year I’ve felt the unhealthiest ever. I’ve been to the ER, doctor and urgent care more times this year than I have since my kids were born, with a variety of weird symptoms, both small and large. It just feels so frustrating, because I know the things I need to do, but I can’t seem to stop my stomach troubles, or keep my body from reacting to various allergens, or keep my ankle from twisting, or even lose weight. And I think that’s why this year’s birthday was harder to handle. It’s just really making me feel old.

But this weekend has been a good two days, so I’m hoping I’m on an upswing.

How about you? Did you hit a “health slide” at 40? Care to commiserate?

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7 thoughts on “Life After 40

  1. I don’t read about the different ailments and issues daily like you do – but I understand what you mean. I started taking vitamins after I had a full hysterectomy at age 33 because I had to take premerin and was told to take calcium and vitamin D. My mother-in-law got her vitamins from Puritan Pride so I looked at the catalog and now I take soooo many different vitamins (just in case!). It took me forever for my first order because I read what every vitamin was “preventing” and let me tell you, the shipment came in a HUGE box! I have been ordering from them now for some time and the boxes have gotten a little smaller since I have decided that some of them I don’t really need, but my kids still make fun of me. But hey, when I am 80 and my digestion and skin and heart and eyes are better than everyone else my age….who will be laughing then?? =)

  2. Shingles, sprained ankle, lower back pain, pre-cancer cells, 2nd mammogram checks, back fat, tummy rolls, immune to losing weight, no energy to get to the gym plus a little more giggly, forgetful and loopy than usual – but I’m more peaceful and content with fluffy, happy me – need I say more! Here’s to another 44 more years 🙂 Happy 40’s!! 🙂

  3. Laurie, don’t forget the wonderful genes you’ve inherited from your Grandma Sipka. She lived to 100 and though she had some physical aches and pains, she was mentally sharp right to the end. And her ‘younger’ sister made it to 98. When I feel achey, I just remind myself that Mom was going really, really strong when she was my age. When you’re young you are ‘bullet proof’, but I think you’re just being reminded every day that that’s no longer the case and its a bit scary. Its good to be careful and to treat your body well, but not so over-the-top that you can’t enjoy the wonderful life you have with your beautiful family!

  4. Debi — I’m intrigued by your vitamins! We’ll have to go over this someday and you can tell me what you do. If you feel HALF as good as you look, you’re in awesome shape, because you look fab!!! ; ) Chris has started taking what looks like a pharmacy of vitamins, but he seems excited about them, especially the omega-3s.

  5. M. — Well, that strangely made me feel better! 🙂 I always think I’m the only one with these various ailments, but now that I’m asking around, I’m finding a lot of friends our age have had crazy stuff that they just never talked about before. I guess that’s why old people like to talk about their meds and ailments with each other, huh? Ha! We’ll be doing that someday! Anyway, thanks for making me feel better and I’m sooooo glad your precancer cells and 2nd mammo checks went okay — sounds super scary — ack.

    But P.S. — Shingles. UGH!

  6. Helene — Yes! So true — Grandma had those amazing Polish genes that kept her going all the way to 100. And yeah, I guess I’m just hitting that era where I don’t bounce back as fast from anything, so it sinks me longer than I’d like. But that’s a good idea: think of grandma and her younger sister!

  7. Um Laurie…My friends and I joke that at 40 our bodies went into shock and never recovered. The cells in every organ went on strike causing more fat cells to multiply, more cholesterol to clog and more senovial fluid to dry up, which cause all our problems with the clogged arteries, joint pain and cardiovascular panic. (like oh no…I refuse to take another breath on this treadmill!)
    So welcome to my world…Can’t wait to see what happens next year. (50)

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