I think I was about twenty-two when I started doing that thing that the young people do – start acting irritated by the even younger people. After all I had been hanging out at the Leafe (my favorite bar) forEVER. How was I supposed to tolerate these kids turning twenty-one and acting like children in my favorite bar? Insert eye rolls. Looking back I know that talking about how terribly old I was probably just made me sound so young.
What I would not give to be twenty-two again. In body, certainly not in mind. A fairly good argument could be made that I am not too terribly far off from twenty-two in spirit, so there’s that.
This week I have felt old. And not a seasoned, experienced, wise and sexy salt and pepper hair George Clooney old. More like a can’t get her creaky body out of bed in the morning, anti-inflammatory gobbling, “back in my day” saying, can’t run with the kids anymore old.
The feeling began last week in my ankles. I’ve been sore. And sore does not make this girl happy. Skipping out on my exercise routine makes me homicidal. I have two very strong personalities at play in my head and heart. I am, first and foremost, a mother. Second, I am an addict. As a mother I give and give and give of myself. That hour that I spend with Lucy zonked out in the stroller, Em riding her bike, I need that hour. It is mine. A selfish hour. I turn my mind off and I sweat. For me. So I can give and give and give the other twenty-three hours of the day. And as an addict? I need the endorphin rush. If I skip a day by four o’clock in the afternoon it is like day three without a cigarette in our house. (Which if you have ever quit smoking you know is the day are you are most likely to fly in to a homicidal rage.)
Lately the body has been conspiring against me. I have woken up in pain more often than not. I have been lazy with rescheduling my chiropractor appointment (edited: I went yesterday!) and my back has once again been sending up flares to remind me that I need to give it some love or it will stop letting me do the things to which I have grown accustomed. Things like getting out of bed, retrieving things from my refrigerator, picking up my baby, walking around.
I had to make a choice. Feed the mind or the body. I decided to take care of the body, since it appears to be aging faster than the mind. I cut way back on the jogging. Took it sloooow. I even walked. And skipped days. And did not kill people. I have used my new found love of Pinterest to scour the interwebz for low impact high intensity exercises one can accomplish in their living room.
But it is not my aging ankles and back that were the greatest blow to my ego this week. It was an awful, slow, painful realization that happened at the pool.
It was hot out. Really hot out. The kind of day when you stand in the water all day because sitting pool side for even ten minutes is out of the question. It was just me, two life guards, Em and her buddy and Lucy. It was hot enough that even the life guards were in the pool.
As the day wore on we all got to talking. The kids started making up a game where the guards chased this ball and there were points received for certain achievements. Aside from the fact that two of the three children in the pool actually entered this world via my vagina and that technically I could have given birth to both of the life guards it was exactly like a scene from my own teenage years. For a moment I let myself go there in my head. It felt so good. Goofing off. Making up games. Teaching the big kids to play Jump or Dive.
And then a mini-van pulled up. And a lady and her two kids came to the pool. A lady I actually like well enough. She waved at me as she put her things down on a table, in the shade, by the baby pool. And it hit me. I belong over there. With the Grown Up.
For two hours I was a girl in the pool in a black one piece and a stylish summer fedora. And now I was Mom again, in that black one piece with the side ruching that fools no-fucking-body and a hat because my post partum hairloss means that my head gets sunburned if I don’t.
And then it hit me again. For two hours I had actually been that Grown Up hanging around the teenagers. That Grown Up that lingers.
I was a life guard forever. For years and years. So, I know. Even the Cool Grown Ups. Two hours?? That qualifies as lingering. I’m gonna need to take them some food. And not something I baked. Because “Look, I baked these for you” does not a Cool Kid make.
If griping about being “so old” when I was twenty-two actually made me seem young than maybe complaining about my aging body at thirty-six will make me seem youthful. Right?
Either way, it seems my bad case of Old is catching. MQD has only been twenty-nine for two weeks and he found a grey hair in his goatee yesterday. I’m not sure what the anti-venom is for a bad case of Old. Beer? Vitamins? I am hoping that it is letting your six year old pick out your nail polish.