I should have seen it coming. I mean, all the signs were there. The date on the calendar. The clock ticking steadily. My kids getting older. Adult acne. (Really?! So now I need to treat liver spots AND acne?!?! Please!!)
There was the day that I realized a somersault was no longer a fun, body-tumbling adventure, but rather, an opportunity to become motion sick in the span of one-and-a-half seconds. A futile effort…
There was also the day that “If it’s too loud, you’re too old” became “Would you turn that infernal racket DOWN?!? YES, I’M TOO OLD!!” I think my ears can actually cry now.
But then came THE birthday. The big 4-0. And believe it or not, 40 isn’t what made me old! I never thought it would. People kept asking me, “Does it feel weird to be 40 (like they’ve just called me a grave walker)?” “Are you freaking out?” “Can you BELIEVE you’re 40?!”
Well, YES! Sure I could! Wasn’t I 39 the day before that? 40 seemed to make logical sense from that point.
Did I mind turning 40? Again, not at all! I mean, ANY birthday is welcome in my book. I don’t care if it’s 16, 40, or 75; just bring on the cookie cake!!
It’s odd, really, because I have felt very old since I was very young. Whether it was the weight I carried on my shoulders, the amount of grumbling I did, or my insanely dry, wrinkled skin, I have always assumed I was 88 years old hiding out in someone else’s body. (If only I had the wisdom of an 88-year old.) Each birthday that comes till then is icing on the cake (Ha! Didn’t mean to say that..)
So, age doesn’t bother me As it is, I’ve a ways to go till I get to my actual (ok, perceived) age anyway, right?
So what did make me old? (As if taking 5 minutes to stand up wasn’t enough.)
It was the day I jumped off a wall.
Ok, let me clarify: my boys and I were on a walk when we came to the top of a concrete wall that dropped about four feet down to the parking lot below. In an attempt to be the world’s coolest mom, I said, “Check this out, boys!” and flung myself off the wall with abandon, landing firmly and proudly on the asphalt below. Still standing. (I know, I thought this story might end with a plop on the tuchus too, but alas, it did not.)
I woke up just fine, with the usual moaning and groaning as I attempted to hoist myself out of bed, completely forgetting about the escapades of the day before. Even went through the morning routine without issue; except for this nagging ache in my knees. And my calves. What was that all about? I figured I had done some weird workout thing and was dealing with the ramifications. But tight calves? Sore knees? What on earth?!
Man, I hurt! Like…HURT! My legs are just killing me. What the heck did I do yesterday? Calf raises? No. I didn’t run stadiums or hills. Leg extensions? I dunno. Maybe. But why do my knees hurt then? Did I turn 70 overnight?
“Hey, babe! What did I do yesterday to hurt my knees, achilles, calves, and…oh, everything?!”
It wasn’t until my full day of griping about my stupid aches concluded that dear Hubby said, “This is weird. It’s almost like you jumped off of something.”
*snort* Why would I do a stupid thing like….OH, WAIT!! I DID jump off of something yesterday! (It takes me awhile…)
But, I only jumped once. One jump. I hadn’t repeatedly jumped. I wasn’t doing crazy acrobatics or parkour (you’re welcome, kids), or anything loo-loo. ONE JUMP! You know, cuz I’m a cool mom.
No! I can’t hurt! Not from that! I’m a distance runner! I lift weights! I teach zumba! NO!!
Hubby: “Honey, you’re old! You can’t just go jumping off of things and expect it to be a breeze.”
Me: “But why not?! I’m a cool mom! So young! So full of energy! So willing to play!”
Hubby: “You’re young at heart now, babe.”
And sad to say, my aching knees confirm it. I have crossed the plateau into Old-ville. Now my wrinkles have a place to call home. My crotchety-ness is no longer in vain. These cool new spiral-y silver things growing on my head are not foreigners but villagers.
And I think I’m ok with that.
So maybe I’ll have to take a Dramamine before hitting Space Mountain. Maybe a constant hobble will be the jump-start to my giddy-yap. Maybe papaya enzymes before bed can be seen as a yummy treat instead of necessary to keep dinner down low. Maybe I’ll never see a somersault again.
But that’s ok. I’ve been there, done that. And I’ll still try to do it again. I’ll still jump off of walls and ride Space Mountain. I’ll still skip with my daughter to school and try to ride a ripstick. I just can’t be surprised when “try” is the best I can do and ice bags abound after.
At least I’ll go down smiling.