I recently had a(nother) birthday, and like many people my age I had a serious reflective moment and reality check. One in which I was honest with myself, and saw my future spread before me in a cascade of images, all of which pointed to the same reality…
I am on the downhill slope to decrepitude.
Now, aside from being excited to use that word in a sentence, it wasn’t my favorite moment. Clarifying? Yes. Cosmically a kick in the ass? More so than other birthday epiphanies, for sure. Life changing?
I guess we will see.
It is a joke, but not really- I sometimes wake up and think that advil with my coffee would be a good idea. Or advil with some advil. Parts of my body ache with annoying regularity. The shoulder I wore down throwing jabs at the heavy bag (it isn’t the extension, its the retraction that does it!) is a regular culprit. The back muscle I pulled more than 20 years ago flares up to remind me of my youthful days lifting plywood and 4×12 beams for my step-dad. I had help. My other shoulder that I hurt sword fighting. I know- sword fighting! Totally bad-ass! And totally for a staged rock and roll version of Shakespeare’s “12th Night,” so maybe not as bad-ass as it sounds. My ankles, both of which still regularly decide to give out ever since my gymnastics days. Let’s see, what else…
Other people have it way worse. Really, way worse. I am not doing as badly as other friends my age, but I feel old, falling apart, on my last legs…
All of these heinous aches and pains are annoying as hell, but they are also something else. They are reminders of how many cool things I have done. Boxing? Never got in a ring competitively, but that was still awesome. Lifting heavy bits of wood? Kind of sucked at the time, but I am glad to know how different pieces of wood go together to make stuff. Stage fighting? Okay, that was a hell of a lot of fun! And gymnastics left me with bad ankles, a fear of flipping backwards, but with mobility in my joints that is a huge plus when playing with the kids.
Now, my teenage son tends to complain way too much, and out loud, about his aches and pains. This morning it was the heartburn that kept him up last night, described in a medically succinct and clinically removed manner with overtones of doom, much like a doctor with crappy bedside manner discussing an irreversible disease with a dim witted patient. Recently it was his legs, which were sore from attending a fencing clinic (sword fighting for the win!) I reminded him that the soreness was because he did something cool, something athletic, something that not a lot of kids his age have done. Hi told him to take pride in the soreness, not see it as some sign of debilitating injury.
I blame his mom.
Or maybe I should try to use my in-my-own-head voice a little more often first thing in the morning.