Growing old ungracefully

A couple of days ago I had an epic fall. I was racing around the house in a frenzy of pizza delivery excitement and my feet betrayed me. I slipped on a step and landed on the ground like a 135ish lb pancake. I would have ended up in the hospital if my hand hadn’t been in the exact spot my head came crashing down on. “Please don’t tell anyone at the pizza place that you saw me fall,” I pathetically begged the delivery guy. It was traumatic and awful and all I have to show for it is a couple of purple spots above my knees.

It felt like one of those falls that happen as you get older and results in hip replacement surgery. Even my nearly 75 year-old father, who witnessed the event, commented that it reminded him of one of his falls. He’s been falling with some frequency of late and, although I never witnessed him fall, it’s scary when I hear they’ve happened. Part of it is scary because you hate to see your parent get so fragile, but part of it is realizing it will be you before you know it.

I’m 42 now and things seem to be going downhill rather rapidly. It takes me forever to recover from injuries and I have to watch my diet like a freaking swimwear model. In my youth I would eat at several fast food joints a day and never gain weight, now I run about 20 miles a week and pray to break even.

I’m a lot like my dad. He got his hearing aids a couple of years ago but my mom insisted he needed them long before that. I have my dad’s same  hearing issues. I, too, suffer the pain of a short attention span combined with an inadequate interest in what most people are saying. I’m luckier than my dad though, I can pretend to follow a conversation better than he can. Sometimes, though, I just stare blankly while trying to decide if I should people to repeat themselves. I may as well say, “slow down sonny, yer talkin’ too fast!” Perhaps I could start whacking things with a cane for emphasis.

While taking pictures of my nose for last week’s post, I went through dozens of pictures of my face and really noticed the (not-so) fine lines around my eyes and mouth. I was hoping the wrinkles could be delayed for a few years if I spent a small fortune on moisturizers and face masks. But we know they don’t really do any good. Ironically, I also have highlights that cover the natural grey so many young women are paying big money to color their hair these days. It’s awesome, they’re dying their hair full-on grey. Perhaps one day wrinkles and saggy boobs will be hip too. 1 Of course the one thing I want to deteriorate (a little) is the one thing taking its damn time. Ever since I was a child I’ve wanted to wear glasses. It’s borderline Body Dysmorphic Disorder – I always felt like my face needed to have them in order to feel complete. I finally just bought some fake glasses and wear them all day at work. I love them so much that I have taken to wearing them at home when I write because it makes me feel more “writerish.” Don’t judge.

So there it is, our eternal human conundrum: The unfortunate consequence of growing up is growing old. Not that I’m in any danger of becoming fully mature – this morning I left a Jenga tower on a co-worker’s desk because I found out she is terrified of the game. Since I’m apparently going to be an immature old person, I’ll try not to be a whiner and remember the adage: Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.

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