There was a brief pause while my wife thought of a nice way to put it. “I think we look a lot older than we think we do.”
I’m squarely in my mid-30s (dangerously close to adding the -to-late to that "mid") and, like most people, I still think of myself as a much younger version of myself. But there are some signs, which I suppose I have chosen to ignore, that I am aging at least as quickly as Jennifer Lopez is.
Exhibit A – The other night I was tucking my daughter into bed and her entire prayer that night consisted of this: “Dear God, thank you for a very good day. Thank you for Daddy and Mommy. Please help Daddy not to get any more gray hairs. Amen.”
Where did that come from? Sure, I’m not a toe-headed, sun-bleached-blond kid anymore, but I’m not really gray yet. Not unless you count my facial hair which is shockingly grey when I let it grow out (something I’m less and less likely to allow).
Exhibit B – We keep our dishwasher detergent under the kitchen sink. Every time I bend down to grab a Pre-Soaking Powerball thing I find myself thinking, “Wow, I need to stretch more.”
|Photo courtesy of Wikipedia. I love using these things.|
Exhibit C – For at least a dozen years after I turned 21 I would be asked to produce my ID when purchasing alcohol. Now when I go through the self-checkout lane at the grocery store all I have to do is look up at the attendant and hold my 6-pack of beer up so they can see it and override the system controls so I can complete my purchase. There’s simply no doubt I’m old enough to drink legally. Perhaps I should be thankful that California law has recently changed and the purchase of alcohol is no longer permitted in the self-checkout lanes. It’ll give the clerks a chance to flatter me once more . . . or confirm the truth.
Final Exhibit – I went out for a little late winter clean up in the garden recently. Our winters are mild enough that weeds and seedlings seem to grow all year so there was a lot of hands-and-knees kinds of chores for me to do. Weeding on your hands and knees is hard enough by itself. Mix in a few plants that you are trying to work around and it becomes a game of outdoor Twisters. Right foot mulch, left foot brick, left hand pushing on tree trunk, right hand weeding! I was able to manage for a while* but somewhere between crouching like a baseball catcher with one leg out
and lunging forward to grab a weed like an Olympic curler, my body decided to revolt.
As I lay on my side in the leaf mold and mulch of the garden bed, unable to move because my out of shape butt cheeks and quads had constricted to the point where I was momentarily paralyzed from the waist down, I had no delusions of youth whatsoever. Nor dignity for that matter.
What do I take away from all this? Aside from the obvious, which is that I’m no longer 18 with the flexibility of a Gumby doll, I am starting to realize and accept that I am not immune to the ailments of aging. And suddenly I regret having fast-forwarded through all those segments of Gardening by the Yard that talked about pre-gardening stretching, the correct way to use a shovel and how to stay hydrated while working.
*a relative term, to be sure.