Aug 22, 2011

Signs of Aging

The flu bug kept our children down for one night and one day. I spent that glorious night squished in between them, comforting, soothing, being a beautiful papa. The next day they both snuggled and slept much, didn't eat, we finished Lassie, and put them in bed in time to cook myself and our guests a chocolate-zucchini cake.

As I licked the beater I felt the fever come on, strong and sudden, and left our friends with 10 minutes on the timer to go once again squeeze in between the kids, this time to keep Sarah away from my bug and to use them as little heaters during my night-long fever.

My stomach is strong from a lifetime of ill-advised food choices, so one vomiting session was enough. But where it took the boys 8 hours to regain energy and vigor, it took old me 2 days. Two days of slowly getting stronger, taking naps, going slow, catching up on emails and videos. Stacking a wheel-barrow load of kindling wiped me out. Recovery takes longer for us old people.

My first hernia at age 22 (induced by a cross-country bicycle trek) took a month to get over. My second at age 42 took 3 months to even start the recovery process (leading to my first lamentation on getting old.)

And today, the doctor confirmed that i have the ultimate old-person ailment. No, not a broken hip, but TENNIS ELBOW. Doesn't that just sound like a topic for the senior games? (No offense, ma, I'm mighty proud of the gold medals you just brought home, just not ready to be there quite yet). And what macho act of bravery brought on this injury? Not riding across the country, but 4 hours of re-stacking my firewood shed on Fathers Day. And now of course exacerbated by mud plaster work.

Earlier in this building year I majorly threw out my back and had to go to a massage therapist - another thing my younger healthy body would have scorned. But she did reassure me that I have the healthy tissue of a 30-year-old, thanks (she said) to healthy living, drinking lotsa water, and no alcohol or coffee.

Oh, one final sign of aging - people are still telling me in a very complimentary way that my short hair makes me look younger. For my first 40 years I've always looked too young - good at the beach but not so good at the job interview. Now suddenly I've turned that corner (come over that hill?) and it's good to look younger than I really am.

I've got no deep moral lesson from all this, and will likely continue to act 20 years younger than I am or ought to act, and am alternately amused and bemused when occasionally my body refuses to act the same age as my mind thinks I am. We are getting older, friends, even if not old, and even if few of us believe that we're aging quite as quickly as our peers. I'll go to our next high school reunion and likely have the same honest reaction as I did at our 20th - "I must be in the wrong room - these people are so OLD!"

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