Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Life Skills for the Almost 30 - Accepting Physical Changes All Over Again


Remember when you turned 20 and you thought your life was about to change drastically? Well, how did that go for you? J

Yeah, I know. Nothing magical or life-altering happened to me when I turned the awesome 2-0 too. I think I aced an exam in Psychology, and learned to walk in elevator shoes, but that’s about it. Then 9 years later, I looked back and realized I am NOT the same person I was at 20 years old. The changes are imperceptible at first, but I can feel it in my bones – something has been calibrated.

Now that the big 3-0 is looming over me like a highly combustible Terra Nova dinosaur breathing down my neck, I try to tell myself this would be just like the last “transition” stage. Pretty much anti-climactic. It’s clear that society nowadays no longer want to believe in the traditional stages of life and you can do whatever you want, whatever age you are and wherever the eff you are. But the dormant OC gene in my body has woken up (for a while, at least) to remind me it is best to be prepared than sorry. It’s the same gene that told me to back up all my files on my desktop in case the Millenium bug bites. And most recently, the one responsible for my atonement of sins just in case that loony old Caucasian man actually has a clue about the end of the world this year. I’m sure next year the gene will be on hyperdrive as 12.12.12 draws nearer. But for now, she is quite occupied about January when my body clock finally clocks in 30 years of existence.

To pacify this deviant gene, I have compiled my observations about what survival skills are necessary for the Almost-30 to thrive and prosper. I may hit some things head on. But of course, I am only 29 and could only guarantee so much. If ever I make it to 39, whole of mind and body, I’ll make sure to check in on you for updates. But for now, hypothesize with me.

The New New Skill Set

1. Accepting the changes in your  body --- all over again

15 years ago, unwanted body hair and acne were the bane of our existence. The unruly hormones that brought out all that angst, and the different maniacal coping mechanisms from within us almost spelled disaster. Then suddenly it stopped (visualize a cloud parting for the sun metaphor here) and we were finally free! 5, 6, 7, 8 years go by and your body is a wonderland. You can down 5 Krispy Kremes in 5 minutes. You sleep past 3 am and wake up at 6 and could still make it on time for your gang’s Saturday Morning Coffee round-up ala-Friends. Most importantly, stairs weren’t the enemy.

If you were one of the enlightened few who treated their bodies like a temple (or a Porsche, depending on your religious beliefs), you would have avoided all of the above and ate nothing but tofu and grass, went to the gym or exercised like a nun would do Vespers, and slept the required amount of time for proper recuperation. But let’s get real, our generation had more Ashton Kutchers than there were Dalai Lamas. So by the age of 28, some of us are already slowing down, eyebrows rising in surprise when the last flight of stairs almost killed us, or when the 13 shopping bags of kikay stuff resulted to an equal amount of Salonpas patches for your arms and shoulders the next day. And the lines, girl. Your face is starting to go all Clint Eastwood on you, especially around the eyes.

Then one inauspicious morning, you wake up and realized you have accepted the truth. Your body is aging. You are nearer to the grave than you were 10 years ago. As my boyfriend’s friend aptly remarked, “Hindi na tayo early 20’s.” The first chink in your Batman suit of armour appears. Vincible. No, we say, there is no such word as Vincible. But there you are, proof that nobody is Invincible --- not forever.

So here’s what I suggest: Take a good long look at yourself in the mirror, nod respectfully to your reflection and say, ‘Good times, man. Good times.’ Then brush your teeth, exfoliate, moisturize (make sure it has sunblock in it), eat your cereal ( no sugar) and down your fresh grapefruit juice. Walk, climb, jump or hike if you have to going to work. Anything to get those triglycerides down. Because you refuse, refuse to be 50 before you are 30.

And in a couple years time, I might just try my own suggestions myself. J

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