Is Taking Care of Yourself the New Partying in Your Thirties?

Today I fainted on the subway platform. This isn’t like me at all.

I pride myself on having an “immune system of steel.” I have an uncanny ability to always stay well around sick people. I’m the anti-germaphobe- “a little dirt never hurt anyone”- that’s what I say. I travel on planes, trains, and buses (aka “boxes of germs”) more than half the year while getting away with barely a sniffle. I scoff at Purell. I roll my eyes at hypochondriacs (secretly).

However, today something happened and I went down. I started feeling weak when I left my apartment earlier in the day. It was a strange feeling because I’d had two cups of coffee before I left and had slept a full 8 hours the night before. I’d drank my green smoothie in the morning. I’d eaten a vegan burrito for lunch. I was doing all my healthy routines.

But the weakness came anyway. And then it went away just as quickly as it came and fooled me into thinking it was gone. So I continued my day. I met with a friend. I went to Whole Foods. I headed to the gym. But once the subway doors closed behind me, I was taken by the urge to fall to the floor. It was a crowded subway on a freezing day but I got hotter and hotter until I had to remove my hat and my scarf and unzip my coat. I barely made it to my stop. Strangers asked me if I was okay- I was swaying. I didn’t look good. I politely said I was fine, just not feeling so well. But once I got to my stop and took two steps, I realized I couldn’t go any further and fell hard. A stranger rushed up to me and asked if I was okay. He asked if I was pregnant (I am not). He offered to call 911. I couldn’t move, but I felt really embarrassed. Even though I stayed unmoving, I told him I’d be okay. I didn’t want to go anywhere but home. He nicely stayed with me. Bless the kindness of random subway strangers.

Once again, the weakness started to pass. The icy air shook my limbs out of their paralyzed state and I was able to get up and actually walk home. I’m now lying in bed writing this and praying I don’t have the flu. I feel okay right now. I’m hoping it’s maybe an iron deficiency or something. Who knows.

But you better believe I’m taking extra good care of myself. I canceled my trip to the gym. I canceled my fun late night plans. I made myself ginger tea. I took my emergency multivitamins (which I never take). My roommate gave me a shot of apple cider vinegar (“it cures!” she raved to me). I’m trying to stay calm. I had the flu once 6 years ago and it was the worst debilitating illness I’ve ever been through.

A friend of mine told me on the phone tonight, “I hate to say it, but we’re in our thirties now. Even though we may feel good and strong, our bodies are changing and they’re not the same as they were in our twenties. And we have to take extra good care of ourselves. I mean, listen, I just had to get reading glasses. And I’m only 33!”

Oh no! I don’t yet need reading glasses, it’s enough that I need regular glasses…eek.

This got me thinking about the possible shift from your twenties to your thirties regarding how you need to take care of yourself. Perhaps the metaphorical ‘party’ is over? Is there an ‘invincibility notion’ left over from the twenties that needs to fade down in my thirties? I mean, I already take pretty good care of myself (lots of vegetables, lots of exercise, lots of sleep (usually), lots of water) but perhaps there are still big changes coming my way. Changes that I previously thought I could avoid with my healthy behavior.

Maybe I’m not as invincible to the 30’s as I thought, no matter how healthy my lifestyle usually is.

Well, I better go to sleep and dream about strength and energy.

I want to leave you with two articles I found about how our bodies change in our 30s. Haha, first  puberty, now this…

For women- http://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/health-your-30s

For men- http://www.askmen.com/top_10/fitness/maintain-your-body-after-30.html

[Update- I wrote this article yesterday, and still feel weak today, but have not come down with the flu. Behold the power of taking care of yourself: tons of sleep, ginger tea, apple cider vinegar, and lots of love from (and to) friends and family!]

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