Dear Tabby, I will not be ignored. Love, Your 40-year-old body
I’m no stranger to attention-seeking ploys. I have, after all, taught both preschoolers and first-year college students and have been parenting for 15 years. I’ve also had more pets (from cats and dogs to birds, fish, a rabbit and a green anole) in 40 years than some people have in a much longer lifetime. Seeking attention to have our needs met is a natural part of who we are, whether we are a 3-inch lizard or a fully grown person.
However, I did not expect that my own body would choose to go to such lengths to get my full, undivided attention.
It shouldn’t have surprised me, really. I do live in my thoughts a lot of the time. It’s a pleasant, exciting place there, and is absent of mundane chores like unloading the dishwasher for the 5,432nd time, or paying bills, or feeding the animals, or remembering to bring the van in for an oil change. Unfortunately, if one is attempting to do one of those mundane things that adult life demands of us, while lost in thought, bad things can happen to one’s body. Trust me on this.
But in the past year or so, it hasn’t been so much a case of being lost in thought as it has been being in survival mode. Since my last birthday (I turned 40 earlier this week), I’ve moved, divorced, adapted to single parenting, maintained a long distance relationship, secured individual health insurance for myself (I deserve a medal and a trophy for that one) and helped my children adapt to their new two-household lifestyle. It has been a very busy time. It is possible that I was not taking care of my body as well as I should have been. In fact, it is likely.
And now, my body is letting me know that it will NOT be ignored. Instead of a nice little note though, it has sent much louder signals, like the severe sprain and bone bruise that took forever to heal, and the dentist mentioning for the first time (EVER) that my gums are inflamed and now, much more seriously, significant digestive problems that have been going on for months. I *must* pay attention now. My body was right to seek that attention.
Dear Body, I’m listening. Let’s work on this together, okay? Thanks for all you’ve done for me and continue to do for me. Love, Tabby