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.
Amen to that! I feel it in my knees and lower back and yes, it slows down my workouts too. If you find a cure for the ‘old’ – please share it with the rest of us :)
I will not keep it to myself. Old is catching. I’ll need to be certain I do not reinfect myself.
Just remembered that I was one of those 21-year olds, and your awesome amazing self bought me my Green Leafe mug that I still use to this day (for water. Sigh.) — there’s a picture somewhere of me walking back into Paul’s balancing it on my head…
Um, and fastest mile in less than 10 minutes? ROCK STAR.
You’re reading my mind again. I took my sixteen-year-old niece to Urban Outfitters last week and was appalled. The words “Why would I pay sixty bucks for only half a dress?” slipped out of my aging mouth before I could slap my hand over them. Then I took her to see the Katy Perry movie. Then I painted my nails electric blue. Problem solved.
HA. Katy Perry has magical powers. :)
Piper calls her Paty Kerry. Makes me giggle every time.
Of course she does. Love it.
You look like Barbie in that picture. So pretty. You still are! Never forget that.
I bet those life guards would love a pizza!
:) Can’t go wrong with pizza. Thanks, Pam. XXOO
One of my aging friends told me not long ago that “one of the good things about being older (she didn’t say “old”– that kind of hedging gets more prevalent in conversation the closer a woman gets to thinking no one will disagree with the adjective when self-applied) is that I’m invisible to an ever-increasing percentage of the population, so now I can run to the mall without checking to see if I look okay.”.
Wow. That’s it? I’d rather concentrate on the fact that while my body is slowing down my self-confidence is at an all time high. A couple of years ago I tattooed the French equivalent of “first, love yourself” where I could see it daily on my arm. And at last, I actually do. I used to rely on my looks to get me noticed. Now, at long last, I have grown to fully appreciate my brain, my optimism and my accomplishments too. I even like that occasionally like hearing that I’m a little intimidating We women work hard at being hard on ourselves before anyone else can be. You’re a winner in my book, Kel, always and forever.
A young friend of mine is due any day with her first child, is nervous about all kinds of things. I called you while she was here, and when she hung up after “meeting” you on the phone, she smiled, looked a bit less nervous and said, “your daughter is amazing. I’ll be calling her again after the baby comes.”
Maybe your sprint is no longer the fastest. Maybe you can’t linger with the lifeguards. But now you’re so much more, and I’ve never been prouder of you than I was today. You’re going to help a kid become a mom worthy of the title and she’s never even seen you. Invisible? You’re not even close! Xo.
Well shucks. I love you, Mom. XO