Things That Get You

I feel like I am caught up in this cruel joke. Once it was distant and unrelatable, like starving children in China who wanted my leftover Goulash. Then it became a more Clear and Present Danger as the joke grew ominously closer. Suddenly, without warning, in my early 30s, I realized the joke was fully upon me. My metabolism came to a screeching halt one day and I began fantasizing about things like Naps. And Reasonable Bedtimes. Now I am 40 and getting old isn't funny any more. It's hip surgeries and stool softeners and waking up at 3:50 AM for No Good Reason.

What happened to me, and how? I feel like yesterday it was nothing to stay up until 2AM talking and laughing and solving all the world's problems with my friends. Now the thought of bedtime that breeches the sanctity of 10PM is enough to move me to tears. The scariest part is that I am actually getting used to the early mornings. Mornings so early that my stomach hasn't woken up and it's trying to convince me that I have the flu so I should go back to bed, but my brain is all ramming-speed into a list that I won't get halfway through before I need a mid-afternoon nap.

Old age is a rip off. Everything aches and hurts and I can't decide if I need ice or heat or both and whiskey, or which over-the-counter drug will do the least long term damage taken at maximum doses over extended periods of time. Last night I tried to scare Aspen into staying in shape her Whole Life long by whimpering a lot and making her get me a heating pad for my stupid arthritic shoulder. I hope it works. I wish I had tried harder when I was young. I wish I understood what I had to lose. I just thought that OLD didn't really apply to me, like it would never come, and yet, here I am, with the healing rate of a slug in January.

The worst part is that in my head, I am still 17 1/2, ready to go play soccer barefoot in the snow or pull an all-nighter with a best friend and a Box of Chicken-n-Biscuits just to see the sunrise and then sleep til 10 AM. In my heart I can feel the energy to do the things that my body just won't agree with. It's like that dream where you're running but you aren't going anyplace, or you're screaming but nobody hears you. That's what getting old is like. I am finally smart enough to do some awesome things, but I am way too tired and it's way too hard. Seems like the harder I try to push through, the more I just hurt myself for reals.

I have a 1/2 cup full of horse sized vitamins I take every day, for muscles and joints and brain and heart and good digestion and better sleep and more energy and higher metabolism... and while my stomach thinks it's been at a rave all night after taking them, the rest of me isn't feeling much benefit. When do they release the vitamin that sends me back in time to when I could be strong and young and not hurting and not taking it for granted?

Ugh. Don't get old. It's a cruel trick. You think it's all about Lucky Charms whenever you want and sleeping til noon, but it's really about mortgages and arthritis and paying bills at 3:30 AM, and retirement plans that you couldn't ever imagine actually needing.

I guess now that I've been up for two hours I can go take a nap. It's what old people do, I think.

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