In my mind, I obviously had full-blown bowel cancer.
So I did what every woman does when faced with death; I began planning on where I would shop during my last few months.
Until Dr Google stepped in – my reliable, virtual GP, who saves me at least $75 in real doctors bills every day by reassuring me that my latest symptoms are NOT of the terminal kind. He/she informed me that my pink wee, (that resembled watery Ribena), was in fact a bi-product of the roasted beetroot I’d devoured the day before for lunch.
Obviously, I supplied NC a sample for examination.
I worry obsessively about my health these days. My fears might be linked to my general state of anxiety, (although frankly the meds should be dealing with that), but I think they are more linked to middle-age. Once you pass forty you seem to worry about abso-fucking-lutely everything, just for the hell of it.
But you worry particularly about how long you have left.
I don’t want to die now.
Mortality doesn’t worry you when you’re younger. You have zero concept of death then. But I’m ‘old’ now. My kids look at thirty-somethings and think they’re old fuckers – they only tolerate being associated with the old man and I because we pay their phone bills.
When you get beyond your forties, having survived those exhausting years of horrible little kids, when the teenagers are biting at the bit to get out and you’ve given up trying to reach the top of the corporate ladder, because brown-nosing has finally become intolerable, your outlook changes. You’ve finally made it through to the other side and discovered the wisdom that none of all that actually matters anyway.
So you don’t want to kick the bucket. Yet.
In fact the only things that do matter, (apart from fantasising about retirement, loose clothing, travel, food and young men), are being alive and having your health.
Because there’s so much to do now.
Which is why it’s so easy to become fixated on your health.
I worry about every change in my body, from every minor twinge, ache, the colour of my wee and the firmness of my stools, to the lumps, bumps and unusual creaks my bones now make.
The word ‘time-waster’ is obviously written on the top of my profile at the doctor’s surgery.
And all the latest crap in the media on the latest diet fad, exercise, power food, pill and lifestyle, sucks me in.
It’s not like anyone really knows the secret to long life, do they? We all know deep down that our lifespan is in the hands of the Gods, fate and DNA.
This week, the Mediterranean diet caught my eye because it apparently prevents senility – which is interesting because I’ve been drinking wine, chomping on olives, gorging on brie, pasta and pizzas my whole life but I’m still overweight, and I still leave my keys in the fridge.
So now I’m worrying about my weight too. You definitely have to cut back on your calorie allowance in middle age, because your body determinedly deposits every excess calorie in places that don’t need filling. And not on your boobs or your arse or in the crevices on your face, but generally around your waistline or thighs.
Fat has always made a beeline for my stomach and I’ve noticed that I’ve started doing that middle-age thing of dressing to hide it now. Remember Liz Taylor’s kaftan phase? For a while now I’ve noticed that I buy loose tops and dresses, anything that will hide that baby belly around my stomach that screams ‘Not a bun in the oven but I might have eaten all the pies.’
It’s not that I really care about what other people think of how I look, but I am vain enough to care when my jeans are too tight and when my dress size goes up a size.
So I fight the battle of the bulge – roughage salads and no carbs; water until I’m peeing every five minutes; exercise and abject misery. The reading on the scales never really seems to move anti-clockwise, though.
A bit like my age.
And the anxiety about the extra weight must put extra stress on my heart, so diabetes is bound to kick in and that worry causes my heart to start racing and I get all sweaty and experience pains in my chest and…..
OMG – I THINK I’M GOING TO DIE!
Perhaps I should take my own advice and just live every day as if it was my last.
But supposing it is my last…..?
- Is middle age such a bad thing? (theguardian.com)