I pulled a weird, bad-form deadlift on Tuesday and my lower back has been lowkey complaining ever since, enough that I have to walk around with that overly-cautious pinching-a-turd posture to keep everything in exactly the right position and sit with a decorative pillow tucked behind me otherwise ow.

I do cat-cows and stretches nearly every damn day now, not because I am a limber sun-saluting earth goddess but because somewhere along the line that just became a Thing I Have to Do Because My Back is Kind of Permanently Grumpy.

My right elbow has this semi recent development where it hurts and doesn’t work right when I do weight-bearing exercises like pushups until it freakily pops into position. You can hear it: a sort of unpleasant click, and then it operates as intended. Like a car you have to jump start each time.

My knees bug me sometimes, like when I’m hiking downhill. Or uphill. Or sometimes just because. I switched to the elliptical at the gym because it feels like the least aggravating repetitive-cardio option, which sucks because 1) god, the elliptical is boring, and 2) those machines are positioned right in front of a bank of televisions playing daytime talk shows (including Dr. Oz, which is the hottest garbage that ever garbaged) and one that scrolls an endless series of “motivational” messages which includes, I am not making this up, a graphic that reads THE MORE YOU WORK OUT THE WEAKER HIS KNEES GET.

Oh, and a while ago I was standing in the kitchen — not slacklining or balancing precariously on a stool on top of a ball on top of a unicycle or gearing up to perform a crowd-pleasing triple axel: just STANDING THERE — and my left ankle suddenly collapsed outwards for absolutely no fucking reason whatsoever, which gave me a limp for three days.

In this scenario, I am both the tragically clumsy dudebro and the treadmill.

This is all to say that exercise is harder than it used to be, here in my mid-forties, and what’s really delightful is that the results are totally NOT as good. As in, would you like some batwing with that biceps? How about strong glutes that refuse to look like anything other than Squarepants Mom Butt? Remember when you could do a 20-minute workout video and cut out that extra daily box of Triscuits and you’d lose weight, well, now you have to take HIIT boot camp classes and live on cod smoothies to drop half a pound and if you even look at a carb out of the corner of your eye you go up two entire dress sizes.

On the plus side, I guess the main alternative to aging ungracefully is … death. So, there’s that.


17 Responses to “Everything hurts and I’m dying”

  1. Stephanie on February 8th, 2018 12:19 pm

    Linda, I’m so, so glad you’re writing here again. It’s like you can see into my soul. 69, Bitches, Batwings, and all.

  2. Melissa on February 8th, 2018 12:56 pm

    It took me a while to even understand what that “motivational” quote meant. Whose knees? Do they mean him as in god? Why would we want to make god’s knees weak? I finally got it. Yeah, hurl.

  3. Rae on February 8th, 2018 12:59 pm

    Isn’t this the truth. I am firmly mid-40s and man, aging is a trip. I understand now why everyone talks about it all the time. It’s just so….bizarre to observe these changes and realize “Huh, so today is probably the best I’m ever going to look/feel for the rest of my life. Neat.” And as you mentioned, it’s way better than the alternative, but I still reserve the right to be alternately flummoxed, resigned, grateful, hobbled, defiant, bemused, and looking for the humor in at all.

  4. misguidedmommy on February 8th, 2018 1:02 pm

    Four years ago I joined a gym. Lost 80 pounds. Was loaded with muscle. Tiny little bitty thing. Turned 35, gained 15 pounds back. Have fatty areas dangling off me like no ones business. My ass will not lift back up for anything. I’ve torn my shoulder, bicep, elbow, hip, both knees, and both feet up in two years. I now work at a gym part time. Workout two times a day. Run half marathons, lift heavy, eat like a fucking saint, and somehow I’M STILL GAINING WEIGHT. fuck this shit.

  5. Amber Lena on February 8th, 2018 2:02 pm

    Gawd, I’m with you over here. Just started Weight Watchers and while it’s actually working, some weeks I don’t lose anything and I’m like “how it that fucking possible because I’m literally starving myself day after day??”

    That video is hilariously hilarious.

  6. TinaNZ on February 8th, 2018 5:59 pm

    It occurred to me that it’s not surprising older people sometimes die from totally curable things – after several years of waking up every day and finding yet another body part that hurts/doesn’t work/just looks funny, then you’re well primed to miss important stuff.

    I hear you particularly with the random ankle failure. I now grimly hang on to every stair banister just in case.

  7. Jen on February 8th, 2018 6:18 pm

    I love this and I love your writing. That is all.

  8. Paddy on February 8th, 2018 9:54 pm

    Mid-forties? You sound eighty! ;)

  9. Chris on February 8th, 2018 11:40 pm

    Back pain is the woooorst! I’m local to you if you need a rec for a great Chiro. I love mine and have sent a ton of people over there. He doesn’t do the wrenchy stuff that makes me cringe. O_o

  10. Kelly on February 9th, 2018 7:01 am

    So there. I definitely need to lose some weight because my body is at least somewhat more functional and less of a massive health risk, but damn, in the mid-40s, it just doesn’t seem possible. Diet isn’t the same, working out isn’t the same, and no matter what, the metabolism just sits on the ground, shrugs, and goes back to sleep again.

  11. Liz on February 9th, 2018 10:32 am

    I feel ya, and also feel like PT may be able to help you with that overall pain.

  12. lisa on February 9th, 2018 11:03 am

    i am turning 48 next week and i feel your pain. literally.

  13. Alison on February 9th, 2018 5:39 pm

    Love this. I also find it galling that when I wanted to lose weight in my 20s/30s (and it was comparatively easy) I just never bought anything off plan. No chips or chocolate in the house. Now I live with 3 small ravenous people and their 8000 pounds of food.

  14. Mary Clare on February 12th, 2018 1:07 pm

    This was hilarious. The guy and the treadmill. Ha! Hope the back is better soon. =)

  15. Pete on February 12th, 2018 2:57 pm

    Swimming is the best low impact exercise but boring as hell. I like riding a bike, I do about 15-20 miles and it doesn’t hurt my knees. Hiking is good for the knees if you never go downhill. Having a bad back is the worst. Last time I tweaked my back I ended up in the emergency in Portland. The worst part was not being able to wipe your own ass without pain meds. Good luck and it doesn’t get any better, just more manageable.

  16. reneefromGA on February 13th, 2018 12:27 pm

    I read the phrase “menopot” in an article once and I was so furious my head practically exploded. Now I’m 51, post-hysterectomy, and yeah. Still furious because the term is not total bullshirt.

  17. TheAlie on February 13th, 2018 2:04 pm

    It took me an embarrassingly long time to understand that poster:
    “Wait, why are *his* knees getting weaker? Mine are weak, that’s why I’m working o—- Oh, FORFUCKSSAKE.”

Leave a Reply