One thing about getting older is that your body works less well. Little things, mostly, that mount up over time to maybe something significant. Bits of you stop functioning properly or get damaged or break, and other bits work less well than they used to, and some things might be wrong but you can't easily tell, and before you know where you are your conversation is peppered with endless references to aches and pains.
I'm fine, thanks for asking, but still afflicted by bodily degradation, everyday niggles and potential poorliness.
So I thought I'd make a list of the most obvious ways my body's going wrong, or might be going wrong, in the hope it'll be cathartic rather than hypochondriac.
» I intend to be quite vague in what follows.
» For reasons of privacy I'm not telling you precisely what the various niggles are so have numbered them.
» The list is in a random order rather than juggled by potential seriousness.
» Some of the afflictions occur more than once but I've numbered them separately every time, just to throw you off the scent.
» I'm fine, thanks.
Don't waste your time trying to guess what the niggles are as I won't be confirming anything. And please don't offer advice based on your assumptions because I'll just roll my eyes at how completely wrong you are.
• For several years I've been a bit concerned about [Niggle 1]. It used to ache on and off, often for months, but then it would suddenly stop aching and be perfectly OK for ages. Thankfully it's been perfectly OK for at least a year so I've stopped being concerned about it... but I did once show it to a doctor and he said it's probably a sign of eventual [Affliction 1] and that wouldn't be great.
• I know it happens to everyone eventually, and it was due to happen to me earlier than most, but it's still unnerving to see [Niggle 2] because the change is only ever one-way.
• [Niggle 3] is mildly noticeable and started in March. It might be linked to [Niggle 4] but as yet I haven't distinguished any obvious deeper issues.
• [Niggle 5] has been there for absolutely ages, long enough for me no longer to be concerned about what it might be a signal of, because it clearly isn't.
• I've often thought [Niggle 6] would turn out to be an issue, especially the longer time's gone on, and I'm more convinced right now than I've ever been, but in a smaller way than I'd been expecting.
• Associated with [Niggle 7], a nearby part of the body also used to ache in a minor but prolonged way, and it was never really annoying but I'm pleased it doesn't do it any more (and hasn't for ages) because it could be a symptom of [Affliction 2].
• I've only recently spotted [Niggle 8] and it's totally minor but also definitely shouldn't be there.
• I'm forever waiting to get symptoms of [Affliction 3] or the related [Affliction 4] because it runs in the family, but thankfully there's nothing yet and may never be, but then my Dad would have said that at my age.
• I came to terms with having [Niggle 9] quite early in life, which is just as well because otherwise I might have lost all confidence in social situations. But it does also mean I have to be a little bit wary, especially in conjunction with [Niggle 10], just in case.
• Previously they'd been perfect but then [Niggle 11] came along, very much accelerated by lockdown. Thankfully I've rolled back the worst of it through careful choice of clothing.
• I'm not as concerned about [Affliction 5] as a doctor suggested I ought to be, and I have definitely let things slip during lockdown because I've had different priorities, but I suspect I could probably pull things back if necessary.
• It's about time I got [Niggle 12] sorted because I really should have done by now, in fact I was convinced it was going to be sorted last time. But I'm getting by OK and I have a cheap workaround for when it gets really awkward, which thankfully isn't very often, especially in summer.
• [Niggle 13] is mildly noticeable and started in February. It might be linked to [Niggle 14] but as yet I haven't distinguished any obvious deeper issues.
• [Niggle 15] is something I might once have laughed at in older people and here it is happening to me, but thus far in a wholly manageable and not too wildly awkward way.
• My [Niggle 16] definitely shouldn't be that colour. There was a point where I thought it might be something serious but I think it's probably a one-off and it seems to be growing out.
• I had a real shock earlier this month when [Niggle 17] suddenly appeared. It was actually enough to make me go and get it checked out by a professional, but apparently it's not a problem and I can continue with my life unchecked so that's brilliant.
• I already have a fairly good idea of the most likely thing that'll kill me, and just very occasionally [Niggle 18] happens and I wonder... but so far I've wondered unnecessarily.
• I never understood [Niggle 19] until it happened to me a couple of years ago, and now it's a fairly permanent daily fixture. It became much easier to deal with once I relocated it.
• I remember my grandmother suffered from [Niggle 20], not that suffer is quite the right word, but it is unnerving to see it inexorably emerging.
Three of these niggles are niggling me more at present than the others. [Niggle A] and [Niggle B] occasionally raise their heads and remind me they're there, independently, which I'd rather they didn't. Both are probably just inconveniences but there is an outside chance they're not, indeed they might potentially be connected, although I know that's just my brain running ahead of my common sense. [Niggle C] only emerged last week, annoyingly, and has proven capable of disturbing my sleep even though I'd rather not be thinking about it. Logically it cannot possibly be anything bad, but I suspect it is and am struggling with the disconnect between these contradictory positions.
You know how it is with niggles, they often come and go. A few years ago I was most concerned about [Niggle D] which I had bad feelings about, but then it totally went away. [Niggle E] looked chronic for a while but then disappeared of its own accord for reasons I have never understood, but could just as easily come back. [Niggle F] suddenly limited my existence over the winter and I thought it was going to be permanent but then just as suddenly went back to normal. I spent a few years peeved by [Niggle G] until I went along to the doctors' and they totally sorted it, removing it from my list.
It's so hard to be certain which current niggle is going to hang around for the rest of your life and which is merely a temporary annoyance. I'm hoping for the latter.