Part of growing older is admitting it is happening. I struggle with this. Inside, I’m 30 years old.
I still feel awkward in crowds. I still fear public speaking and I still worry about how my hair/shape/makeup look. I always imagined that when I got old, I would be confident and oblivious to such things, because – well – I’d be old.
But that’s one of life’s biggest jokes, my mother always said. You feel the same inside while your body continues to hold your younger self hostage in ever-increasing decrepitude. And you really don’t notice until you pass a mirror or visit a specialist for conditions no one under 30 gets or try to run or trot without consequences.
I’ve tried to stay cool and current. I’m computer literate, cell phone savvy (although using the word savvy dates me) and I know what WOKE and FLEEK mean. Yay.
My glasses are modern; no rimless bifocals with circles for close-up vision. My hair has peek-a-boo purple streaks right now, although they are so faint nobody can really see them. I know they’re there. Cool.
I’ve given up jeans for leggings, the stretch pants of my era.
My legs are pretty thin compared to my torso, so if I top my leggings with a roomy, long top I imagine I look lithe.
But sometimes, I wonder if I look like Foghorn Leghorn, with his spindly legs and puffed out chest. Either lithe or Foghorn-like, at least I’m trying to look presentable.
I don’t drive with my hands at 10 and 2, hunched over and tentative as I motor along. I’m still 30 in my car; confident and assertive in traffic. And I still growl at dawdlers, muttering, “C’mon, Grandma.” Then I wince, realizing that I’m a grandma, too. But I’m not THAT kind of grandma.
Sooner or later, I have to come to the realization that aging has not skipped my mind or body. I see and feel the clues; I rationalize them by telling myself I just need to exercise more or simplify my crazy busy schedule. My calendar is empty, though, and I sometimes have to take several strong body sways to fold down my recliner.
Who am I kidding.
The proof is dancing before me; doing the Twist and Watusi to music whose words my fuzzy hearing can’t quite make out. I have to come to terms with my aging.
My kids have. Those who see me everyday have. The mirror has.
So. Here are some things I do that support an OK BOOMER description of my life.
1. I know very few of the musical guests on SNL. I fast-forward through the racket and bemoan the demise of good music.
2. I feel compelled to bond with grocery store checkers, restaurant servers, and fellow shoppers. I spew random clever comments to anyone who interacts with me so I seem relatable and worthy of my appearing in public.
3. My pill bottles are piled along the sink, ready for gulping each night. I used to imagine I could probably do fine without this one or that one; now I realize they’re all vital to my continuing to exist.
4. As much as I hate to admit it and hate even more actually DOING it, I check the temperature each morning before I go out to make sure I dress appropriately for the brisk weather. And, yes, I just used the word BRISK. Yikes.
5. All of my shoes are flat on the bottom.
And finally, I want to teach my granddaughter how to Hopscotch, but I realize I can no longer hop. And, as her mother pointed out: “Then you’ll just be teaching her Scotch…which is a whole other thing.”
I don’t know what is more painful, getting old or finding out you already are.
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