Monday, May 6, 2013

When Did I (We) Get So Old?

The last several Fridays, my boyfriend and I have gone out with friends.  They haven’t been wild and crazy nights, but they have necessitated me being down for the count for the rest of the weekend.  This past weekend, the entire weekend was totally crazy (for good reason), which I’ll talk about in a future post, but I am definitely recovering.

It makes me feel old.  Obviously, I know I can’t party like the college kids, but I never did, even when I was a college kid.  But it would be nice to do the things that people my age do, and not feel it for days after, but that’s clearly not an option my body gives me.

But I’m totally stubborn when it comes to this.  I tend to overly push my body because I don’t want to have to explain to people I don’t know all that well what’s going on.

And I guess I’m somewhat in denial.  I’ll be 28 this year, and the things I can and cannot do are different than when I was 18.  But it’s not that.  The “normal” aging process, I can handle to a point because everyone goes through it.  It’s the lupus and RA “premature” aging process that is hard to deal with. 

Life is so strange.  I don’t know where the time has gone. 

One of my best friends e-mailed me recently to tell me she was pregnant.

When did we become old enough to get married and have babies?

These were my friends before I got sick.  Friends I anticipated sharing important life events with, but something I hadn’t considered was that I would get sick at a young age. 
My life would change and theirs would go on staying the same.  Normal lifecycle events would emerge while I would be worried about being on steroids versus not, and the myriad other issues that come up with having these illnesses.

In other words, my life is different.  It’s occurring both parallel and perpendicular to my friends’ lives.  We all have certain experiences that come with getting to be in our late twenties – getting married, having kids, our lives being different than they used to be.  But I also have this perpendicular universe that I live in, where my experiences are quite different from my friends.  And that’s okay.  But how do you make sense of both worlds at once?

And how do you balance wanting to do what people your age do without any thought whatsoever, with making sure your body doesn’t betray you even more than it already has?  When will I overdue it to the point where there’s no coming back? Because that’s how this all started, right?  A trigger that tipped the scales irreversibly. 

I feel old.  Both because I am at a phase in my life where grown-up things are happening to me and those around me.  But also because, for the last five years, I have been dealing with something that should be beyond my years.  But that’s the trick with chronic illness.  I feel too young to have had this happen, but there are people my age who have dealt with illness far longer than I have.  


  1. Oh I know the feeling! I'm 28 and I have MCTD and much as I love being invited on a night out (just dinner and few drinks) I know that sometimes it can take my entire weekend to recover too. Particularly if the pub has uncomfortable seats... Choosing places with good seating helps a lot. Not drinking so much that it upsets my stomach is a big help too, although hard to remember when you're having a nice time.

    I figure sometimes it's a trade off. One night of feeling remotely normal (thanks to alcohol as a painkiller) is followed by two days of feeling much worse than my baseline pain. I just have to decide whether it's worth the trade.

    My friends are reaching the getting pregnant stage too, and I'm thrilled for them, but also worried whether I could cope with a baby, let alone a toddler, yet knowing that I want one at the same time.... Maybe I can try it out babysitting their kids to help me decide! Being later in the group to have kids could be an advantage as well, they should also have some handmedown baby stuff too!

    NEwcastle upon Tyne, UK

  2. I often feel this way too. I watch as my peers continue on the normal path, with kids and vacations and such. Meanwhile I'm stuck at home struggling to accomplish basic activities of daily living.

    I too feel old. Even worse, I often run into people much older than me with so much more energy and ability to go and do...that always makes me feel even older.

  3. Hi Leslie, I have been reading your blog for quite some time and would like to say thank you for writing about your experiences with RA. I am your age and I can relate to so many of your posts. I have added you to the blogroll on my site ( so that others can access all this great information.

    All the best to you! :)