It happened. I had a birthday. I became 68. I think this makes me officially a senior citizen. Whoo-hoo! I lie. It’s not a whoo-hoo moment.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no complaints. I’m in glorious company at this stage of life.
In fact, I am so very thankful to have made it this far with everyone else.
My health is fine. I like to think I am reasonably fit. Have had no falls but I tell you, I am afraid of them.
Several years ago I went for my first visit to a new internist. A question in the paperwork was, “On a level of 1-10, how afraid are you of falling?”
I thought it such a silly question. I probably put 2 just to check the box.
Things change. Now I put 10 and think it is a perfectly logical question. I have learned I do have a propensity for tripping and being a little clumsy.
I have slipped a time or two on leaves in the backyard. I hold on for dear life.
I’ve put myself on notice and am now extra careful in my movements.
The day itself
I have never been one to whoop it up on my birthday. Since I consider 68 a bit of a milestone, I decided I wanted to make it memorable.
How do you do that? You go on a shopping spree. I considered I’d never done that so this sounds fun, even though I don’t enjoy any kind of shopping.
Definition of shopping spree: a short period of time in which someone buys a lot of things. merriam-webster.com
I need absolutely nothing so I was figuring out how I would go about this.
What shall I wear on this day of days? I knew I had a knock-around dress in the depths of my closet which I had never worn — tags still on. This works.
Out the door I go. Gotta make a pit stop at Costco for my meds. More on that later.
I mosey on over to Cumberland Mall and think, What Now? It is 10:45 and the stores haven’t opened. I stroll around window shopping.
Then I spy those guys who do the chair massages. That’s the ticket! I had a 20-minute chair massage and a 30-minute foot massage. Nice. Happy Birthday to me! 🎈🎈
Now what? Look, there’s H&M.
I think I have been in that store once and it was not my bag. This time was different. I struck gold. Sometimes it’s just like that, isn’t it?
I came out with a winter white cardigan, a winter white turtleneck, and mom jeans (had heard of them and never knew what they were until then).
Also managed to pick up a pack of socks while I was waiting in line to pay. Yes, they got me, but I’m a sucker for socks. I love all kinds — after all, I have a lot of sneakers!
Now I decide to go to Macy’s Juniors Department. They have fun clothing. I usually have good luck here but not this time.
However, a nice saleslady asked me if I was shopping for something for myself. I said yes.
Then she proceeded to tell me the Woman’s Department was across the aisle and down to the right.
What did I expect her to say? I mean, I AM 68 now. She was trying to be helpful. It stung for a few seconds after she said that.
I went to the Estee counter for lipstick only to discover ”my shade” has been discontinued. Don’t you just hate that?
This is the second time it has happened with this shade. Last time they brought it back. It was years though. It’s probably gone forever now. Oh well.
I’m shopped out. Time to go home.
Past lunchtime. I’m starving. What’s for lunch? For years now pizza has become a ritual on my birthday. We rarely have it.
Naturally, I had to change clothes — hasten into my new mom jeans and we’re on our way. We end up at Johnny’s Pizza.
Great pizza and highly recommend. I had veggie. On his half, Paul added hamburger on top of the veggie.
Now what? Paul asks what I want for my birthday. I’m never comfortable telling him what I want.
Rarely do I have even an idea. I don’t need anything, but this year it was different. I knew.
Off to the jewelry store we go. He gave me a bedazzling piece of jewelry.
He’s the best present I have ever received. How did I get so lucky? Love you, Hon!
A bit of news
As I mentioned earlier, I have a bit of medication news to tell you about. After all these years of being on the same cocktail, I’m making a change.
This makes me nervous. You never know how a drug will affect your system. It could be a life changer.
Recently, I went for my three-month visit with Arlene, my therapist. My main concern is the anxiety is getting worse. I need some relief.
There seems to be no definitive research whether anxiety increases as we get older. I think I can make a case that it does. My anxiety is stress. I’m a worrier.
As a day progresses, my symptoms become worse. Mine had gotten to the point that breathing was difficult.
I was breathing in big gulps of air trying to catch my breath. I struggled to get good, deep breaths. I finally stopped thinking my breathing was going to improve.
I was having difficulty swallowing. I was clinching my jaw during the day but not at night.
I am now taking a new antidepressant. It is a SSRI, which boosts the levels of serotonin in the brain.
It stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, which means pretty much nothing to me.
The drug I came off was an antidepressant, but it was a NDRI, Norepinephrine-Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitor, which also means not much to me.
It boosts levels of neurotransmitters, a/k/a noradrenaline and dopamine.
I have been taking my new drug for several weeks now. Will have to wait a little longer to get a real feel for how it might do longterm.
Right now I’m delighted to say I don’t believe I have ever felt better mentally. This antidepressant is a shocking surprise for sure. I’ll take it!
My breathing is definitely improving. I have stopped clinching my jaw. I have more energy.
I feel more contented now — almost like I don’t have a worry in the world, but we know differently.
I will always be a worrier. I don’t think there is a pill for that!
The only side effect I’m experiencing is having a few nightmares. This could be a deal breaker if they don’t subside. No one wants nightmares.
The only other side effect I am hoping doesn’t affect me is called emotional blunting. It is common with SSRIs.
This can include such symptoms as feeling indifferent or apathetic, being less able to laugh and cry (even when appropriate), and feeling less empathetic.
Feeling neither up nor down. Emotions are so dulled you simply feel blah. In other words, emotionally numb. https://www.verywellmind.com, Can SSRIs Make You Fall Out of Love? May 15, 2020.
And oh, let’s not forget the dreaded side effect of all side effects: weight gain. The antidepressant can be an appetite stimulant. Just great.
Or, you may just start feeling better and eat more. So far, I’ve picked up a couple pounds. I’m anticipating a leveling off — fingers crossed.
I had a great birthday. A happy memory indeed.
I’m optimistic I won’t get the blahs.
Definitely not interested in learning how to cope with feelings like those. I don’t want to be dulled.
I want to have all the compassion and empathy I can hold. I want to be able to laugh and cry my heart out. To be able to sing at the top of my lungs. I want to thrive in peace and harmony. To dance with glee!
I think these are some of the most important attributes we possess as soulful beings. Count me in.