Just read a beauty cream advertisement the other day that asked the question, “Who are you fooling?” And the answer was “Everyone.” And my answer was NO YOU ARE NOT! Seriously ladies, the only people telling your 50-plus year-old-self that you look 30-years-old are other 50-plus-year-olds. The real 30-year-olds think you look 50-plus!
Now, if you are spending lots of money on cosmetic procedures then you may be able to fool a few people with your real age, but let’s face it: We are all getting older! And yes, you can continue to plump it, fill it, lift it, tighten it, remove it, and suck it out, but age will get us all in the end. That is, if we are lucky age will get us in the end. Over the last year I have realized, once again, growing old is a gift, and growing old in good health is an amazing gift.
Now, before anybody gets me wrong, let’s set a few things straight — I just spent the last 30 minutes with whitening solution on my teeth. I am not against procedures! I even have an appointment coming up soon to go have my hair highlighted. Because according to one of my dearest friends my current, natural hair color looks terrible on me. Yes, she said terrible. Gotta love good friends. And if the “girls” hang any lower I will need a lift just to make sure they are not a tripping hazard as I get up and go the bathroom in the middle of the night. Yes, I know, I know, too much information.
So since I am not against procedures, what exactly am I trying to say here? So glad you asked. I want us to keep all this “Let’s stay young at all cost” that the world is trying to sell us in perspective. Let’s be way more concerned with other things than our appearance. Because I have learned this past year that I, along with a few others, would trade appearances, wealth, the prefect figure, and by all means the perfectly decorated house for just one thing: A long life with those I love, and a long life in good health.
About this time last year I was preparing to go on a once in a life time trip to Hawaii with my husband for my 50th birthday. I was also having some bizarre health issues that we could not figure out. But let me back up just a bit and say that it all started the year before (2012), right before my 49th birthday. Some of you may remember that is when I was training to jog a 5k so my boy would stop smoking.
I was regularly walking five miles a day, five days a week, and I was also regularly going to my doctor because I would sometimes have symptoms of a heart attack when I finished exercising.
Problem was by the time I would get to a doctor or the ER my symptoms had disappeared. Fortunately, I had a doctor that was willing to take me seriously, and we checked my heart out with a nuclear stress test and a heart cath. Both tests came back perfect. So I just kept on running and feeling weird.
I had stopped exercising for about four months. Why? Because I really don’t like it. But my 50th birthday and our trip to Hawaii were on the horizon and I had decided on my birthday I wanted to hike Diamond Head, so I needed to begin exercising again.
Back came all my weird symptoms. The light-headedness, the tingling in my arm, the feeling something was just not right. I began to have panic attacks. But once again I would go to the doctor and they could find nothing wrong. I felt like I was losing my mind. Fear was winning over reason in a big way.
Then one day in September 2013 I was with a group of friends walking at the state park and I knew I didn’t feel very well. I checked my heart rate and it was 158. I was walking very slowly, barely moving. Don’t know if you have ever experienced a racing HR, but let me just tell you it is not a fun feeling.
I could not get in to see my doctor until after my trip to Hawaii in October.
As wonderful as Hawaii was, I can tell you my racing HR, side effects from some medicine, and a torn up stomach due to fear and anxiety did put a damper on our trip. When you are sitting in an airplane thinking you are going to die, it somehow takes the joy out of the day. It did not, however, stop me from hiking Diamond Head, but it wiped me out from exhaustion.
Upon our return from Hawaii, I went for my doctor visit. Again everything checked out fine.
Well on November 14, 2013 while sitting at my dining room table reviewing an ACT test with a student the dizziness and sweating started. I grabbed my monitor and there it was: HR 171. Trying hard not to panic, I called for my husband and we took it again. It had dropped to 151. We walked around outside trying to keep me calm and finally got it to come down to 119.
To say I did not sleep much that night was an understatement. To say I over reacted is also an understatement. I was beside myself. I now know, I was never in any real danger, but at the time all I knew was my heart should not go that fast when I am just sitting still.
Through lots of testing over several months, and the patience of a great doctor, who saw me several times a week for a while, we ruled out all the really bad stuff. Found out my heart is all good, it just likes to, at times, beat too fast. Officially I have sinus tachycardia.
I was afraid to move. I was afraid to be alone. I was afraid to fall asleep because my heart would wake me up going 126 beats per minute. I spent a good four and half to five months in deep fear and anxiety.
But those months turned out to be a great blessing to me. You see I learned a lot about what really, really matters in life. All I wanted was to grow old with my sweet husband, and see my children marry, and see my grandchildren. I didn’t care what I weighed, how many wrinkles I had, what kind of house I lived in, what car I drove, or even if I had black chin hairs (now that I am better, I could do without the black chins hairs, and God and I do have frequent discussions about that). Nothing but the sweetest things of life mattered.
I spent a great deal of time in prayer with my God. We talked through all that I had thought was important in my life and got down to what was lasting, what was eternal: my relationship with Him, my relationship with my family, my service to other people, my use of the blessings I have been given to meet the needs of others.
You can have my stuff and my looks; just give me my people and my God and I am good. I am better than good. I am content, complete and full of confident hope.
This life is fleeting and before we know it we won’t be able to hold back the hands of time no matter how much money we spend on injections, cream, lotions, health drinks, procedures and fitness centers. Make sure that when it is over you have left a legacy of the eternal: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.
I pray that whatever life brings for each of us that God will find us faithful through the power and name of His son, Jesus. Blessings!
Now, forgive me but I must go see if I need another round of whitening. Because you know according to the TV only people with really white teeth are truly happy. Oh Lord, help us!