August 2022 | Back to School

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I recently celebrated a birthday, an over-50 birthday. I feel young; I don’t

think I look over 50, but my body gave me a gift in the form of pain.

My 16-year-old middle child, who rarely wants to do anything with me and spends 99% of the day in her room if she’s home, asked me to join her for a walk with the dogs. Obviously, I dropped everything I was doing and ran out the door with her, throwing on my favorite pair of flip flops as I went. These flip flops have taken my feet through a visit to New York City, an entire cheer season in various states where miles and miles of walking are part of the game, and more. Everything was great when we got home. I threw my flippers into the wash to rinse the dirt off (because I live in them) and went about my day. When I woke up the next morning (which happened to be my birthday), I was most unpleasantly surprised to find that I could barely put any pressure on my feet. Seriously, barely any pressure. My brain immediately went to: That’s it. I have Lupus, fibromyalgia or maybe diabetes! As I was self-diagnosing myself on the internet, I ran across a Johns Hopkins citation: “Foot pain is often caused by improper foot function. Improperly fitted shoes can worsen and, in some cases, cause foot problems.” It was the flip flops.

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How could this be? I’ll tell you how it could be. I have very flat feet (like no arch at all), I’m over 50 and I took at 2-mile walk in unsupportive flippers. This was the sign, the wake-up call. You may not necessarily be old but moving forward you need to stop and think a second about what it is you want to do (and in what shoes). For example, I tore my hamstring trying to cheer with my oldest daughter three years ago. I had recently had knee surgery because my leg fell asleep while I was napping, and I fell getting off the couch. I tore a ligament in my elbow throwing a 20-pound bag of rocks to the ground as my dog and I attempted to escape an angry robin in my backyard. The body is just not what it used to be – and I need to respect that. This led me to a really scary epiphany. As I march on in life, so do my children…who, by the way, are 19, 16 and 14. I really went down the rabbit hole with this thought and started counting how many Christmases, first days of school, etc. I have left with them. The 16-year-old will be an adult in TWO years…and I only have four left with my youngest. In that moment I made the commitment to myself to drag that BOSU ball out from underneath my bed and start doing some resistance training to strengthen my body. I also swore that I would never, ever again celebrate my kids going to school in the fall. Because each year they fill up their backpack and head into the halls of school is just one year closer to them leaving me. Facts, my friends: You age, and so do your kids. You’re welcome.