Ever have your “CHECK ENGINE” light come on in the car?
I have. I was young and somewhat inexperienced. And I remember the moment of panic when the dashboard of my car alerted me that something potentially serious was wrong with my vehicle. Yet that panic was not enough to spur my early-20-something butt into actual action — resulting in an expensive repair down the road.
Well, I’m here to tell you that I now long for a personal sensor that alerts us when we are about to really mess up our system. Why, oh why did they not install a dashboard in the human body?
The Throes Of Peri-Menopause:
“With no “trade-in” options on the horizon, I was forced to “fix-up” the clunker that was me.”
A few years back, in the throes of peri-menopause symptoms, my body started to unravel. Much like an old clunker, I began to exhibit all sorts of issues. From shoddy body work (weight gain/arthritis) to my computer chip (brain fog/emotional dysregulation) to my engine (gut flare-ups).
With no “trade-in” options on the horizon, I was forced to “fix-up” the clunker that was me. As a fan of the long-running NPR radio show “Car Talk,” the mantra “the cheapest car you’ll ever own is the one you have” from Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers still rings in my ears.
I know I don’t really have a choice. I cannot acquire a new body, even if I wanted one. But the intent behind that well-used proclamation is not missed on me. “Cheapest” in this scenario is not about the dollars we need to spend. Cheapest, to me, implies that we are far better off, long-term, servicing our ever-changing body daily. Ignoring the signs could lead to a costly “repair job” down the road — if we’re lucky. .
Yes, ignoring our health can put us in life threatening situations with chronic diseases. And that can be expensive to live with. Both monetarily and spiritually. So why would I halt the daily activities that had me feeling like I was 30? Why did I forget just how badly I truly felt for those few peri-menopausal years?
Routines Are Hard:
“As a matter of fact, I double-downed on my not-so-desirable behavior.”
Suffice it to say, my ever-dopamine-chasing-brain tires of routines… ANY routine. I had it all down: BHRT (bioidentical hormone replacement therapy), intermittent fasting, Vitamix concoction with tons of green stuff, ginger, turmeric, collagen, vitamins and supplements, and exercise. I had NAILED my menopausal situation and was cruising along. Then I got bored. I stopped juicing. I slacked off on the fasting. The myriad and sundry bottles of supplements sat quietly and undisturbed in the kitchen drawer. I went AWOL from my self-care routine. (Can I just say that I am NOT a fan of that word…”routine”?).
At first, nothing changed with my body. She ran great. I still felt 30. For a while… Then the proverbial “Check Engine” light began flashing, ever so slightly. What did I do? What brilliant decision did I make? I’d love to say that I immediately re-ignited my fail-safe routine (there’s that word again). Alas, I did no such thing. As a matter of fact, I double-downed on my not-so-desirable behavior.
Suffice it to say my body went from 30 to 60 in a few short months — and not in that good, automotive way. Ignoring all those amazing new habits took its toll.
This past weekend, I was plating dinner to place on the table when all of a sudden my left hand could NOT hold up the plate. Yes, you read that right. A dinner plate, with some food on it, was too heavy.
I am angry with myself for allowing this incredible slide in my health and wellbeing. Not going to lie, I am embarrassed. I KNOW better. As of this week, I’m back on the wagon, as they say. As one of those individuals always looking for the “bright side,” I am looking forward to experiencing the gradual shift back to feeling 30. And just like my youthful indiscretion of ignoring my Mazda RX7’s Check Engine light never happened to me again, I commit to paying close attention to the subtle warnings my current body emits – no dashboard included.