It wasn't so much what happened next; it was really what had been happening for quite a while.
I began to notice changes in my body's behavior starting around 45. Some of these changes however, were related to behaviors I could control. For example, although in my late 30's I had been an avid runner and gym rat - one might even say I was an exercise addict - by 2003 I'd quit exercising almost altogether.
Why? By 2003, the circumstances of my life which had given rise to the intensity of my physical activity, had more or less dissipated. When I paused to take stock of what had both prompted the exercise and then what made it stop, I realized that running and weightlifting had been my way of coping with the extreme stress of my incredibly brutal divorce and the protracted struggles that followed it.
In 1995, my now ex-husband reacted badly when I filed for divorce after nearly 15 years of physical and emotional abuse. A lawyer, he was doing everything in his power to make life as difficult as he could for me and our children, legally and financially. Running and weight-lifting made me physically strong, which helped me feel mentally and emotionally strong. They also channeled my agression and my frustrations into something beneficial.
But by 2003, the war he had launched was mostly mitigated when my children and I moved in with the man who is my husband now. When the pressure ceased, so did my need to exercise.
So I stopped.
It took me awhile to fall apart, but by the time I was 45, I was definitely feeling the effects.
This was what I noticed:
1. Weight gain
2. Muscle loss (duh)
3. Moodiness and hormone swings
5. Loss of energy and focus
What did you notice, dear companions?