One day you go to bed without any wrinkles and wake up wondering what kind of little bird left those imprints near your eyes and in the corners of your mouth. How come yesterday you could do fifty sit-ups and now you're lucky if you can sit up in bed without straining a muscle. And you used to be able to stay up partying well past midnight and still function at work the next day, without that three-o-clock nap.
You ask yourself - When did these changes take place? They came on without you expecting them. No flashing yellow light. No life sign posted on the side of the road warning: Merging into middle age.
And then you find yourself talking about things you never used to talk about: your health.
Oh sure, you used complain about those yearly mammograms (you'd think with all this technology that they could do away with squeezing your breasts between those cold pancake turners and simply press your breasts up to an iPhone for the x-ray) and those oh-so-invasive pap smears. But those health issues didn't rank up there with gossiping about the overly-dressed woman who just wouldn't stop talking at the PTA meeting. Or the fabulous shoe sale at Nordstrom's.
But somehow over the past few years, health has crept into more and more of your conversations.
Take the other night, for example. My husband and I were having dinner with some friends. The Rolling Stones were playing softly in the backyard (any louder and we wouldn't be able to hear each other talk) when suddenly I realized we had just spent an entire hour talking about kidney stones and gall stones.
About high blood pressure instead of the pressure in our bike tires after those long rides we used to take. About trips to the ER instead of taking trips to an altered state of mind. Not that spending time in the ER isn't like going to an altered universe, but it certainly isn't as much fun. About blood tests instead of pregnancy tests. About the differences between HDL's and LDL's instead of MBA's and MFA's.
Oh sure, this isn't all we talked about. But somehow now that I'm in the middle of my life, these issues are calling out for my attention.
I'm going to listen to what my body is telling me. Even if it takes a few conversations to fully understand what's being said. And I'm going to do all I can to help my friends and family listen to theirs.
As the The Rolling Stones sang...
"Well, we all need
someone we can lean on
And if you want it, you can lean on me
Yeah, we all need someone we can lean on
And if you want it, you can lean on me."
And I realized the word "stroke" had been in several of my conversations lately and not in reference to swimming across a pool of water but the pool of life and how suddenly the waters can change.