As I get older, I sometimes complain about aches and pains or more serious health issues and curse the aging process. My friends are doing the same. It’s not easy getting older. However, there are many uncomfortable things that go along with aging that are not talked about because there is still stigma attached. Men and women have their own unique challenges that should be out in the open so that we don’t feel so alone. Women need to be talking about menopause, facial hair, vaginal dryness, incontinence and more. Younger women need to be prepared for their own advance in years. Maybe if they know what’s up ahead, they’ll be more rigid about doing those Kegels.
I remember trying to talk with my mother about my menopausal symptoms. Daughters often follow the same patterns as their mothers in reproductive matters. I thought if I knew how she fared, it might help me. She insisted that she never had any problems and just breezed right through it all. Now … I remember when she went through her change, and it didn’t appear to be a breeze to me, but she refused to admit to any discomfort. It didn’t surprise me though. She never really talked with me about anything to do with reproduction. It had always been a taboo subject which led me to make way too many mistakes in figuring things out for myself. Meanwhile, as I slogged through this important change in life, I felt as though I was alone in my misery. My current partner didn’t understand, and I am older than many of my friends who hadn’t yet experienced it.
Men also deal with uncomfortable things. They often develop problems with their prostate glands and excess nose and ear hair. There are probably other things that I don’t know about. I wonder if they talk about it at all. Most of them won’t talk with their friends about it but hopefully they’ll talk with their partners. How about their sons or younger male friends? Do young men know that eating cooked tomato is crucial in maintaining prostate health? Are there other things they should know but don’t?
We’ve gotten better about health education, but because most of these aging challenges are of a sexual nature or affect our physical appearance, we are reluctant to admit to them. Remember that old saying, “Misery loves company.” Not that it’s all misery, far from it, but it can be difficult and often feels embarrassing. I don’t think it should be embarrassing at all. Everyone has to deal with these things sooner or later, so why hide it? There’s a comfort in knowing that others are coping with similar things.
Yes, we experience great challenges as we age, but why should our lives be any less full and enjoyable? Mine will be the best it can be right up until the bitter end. Will there be challenges? Of course. There already are and, the older I get, the more challenges there are. I’ll face each one of them, and I’m willing to share my experiences along the way, if you’ll share yours. I love my gray hair, but the thing that bothers me the most is my aging neck, so I decided to bring it right out in the open. What bothers you?