Gradually, Then Suddenly

*I write a column called Life North of 50 for the Merritt Herald, and this blog post was published in the Herald on May 4, 2023.*


In my previous column for the Merritt Herald I wrote about how the world changes gradually, then suddenly {also known as the Hemingway Effect, coined after his 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises”}. Small changes happen over a period of time until one day, the world is a different place. This does not only apply to the world in general, but also - and maybe even more so - to our daily lives. When you’re living life north of 50, this is how everything seems to happen. Something different hurts every day, and all of a sudden you’re faced with a life-changing situation.


About six years ago, my husband started noticing that he didn’t feel safe and secure standing on a ladder anymore; then kneeling gave him trouble, then the leg cramps started. Symptoms kept adding up and it seemed like that’s just how it is now and you just keep pushing and keep working {hello, Generation X!} until one day the diagnosis of degenerative motor-neuron disease came and his world was suddenly a different place. 


In my husband’s case it didn’t make a difference that he kept up with regular blood tests and doctor visits and whatever else preventative testing was offered, but maybe in your case, it will make a difference. All those little symptoms that seem more like a bother than anything serious? Take them seriously. Get to the bottom of them, before your world is suddenly a different place. Physical and mental symptoms, they are equally important. If you’re anything like me - a stubborn Gen X-er with an attitude - then you’re probably used to just keep going, no matter what. Calling in sick? For wussies. Seeing a doctor? Definitely not. Talking to a counsellor? LOL. Except that you really should do all of those things, in fact you must. I think that’s one thing we can learn from the younger generations: taking good care of ourselves. Let’s learn this so we can stick around longer and teach the younger generations everything else, ok?