Himself and I have reached this interesting spot in our lives, perhaps a nexus or something, I am not sure. I keep looking around and wondering how we got here, to this point. When did it happen? How did it sneak up on us?
I mean, I still pretty much feel like I did when I was in my 20’s, only more creaky and definitely more mentally and emotionally secure, but I still laugh at the obnoxious and immature TV shows (Oh lord, dare I admit that South Park with it’s absolute lack of boundaries puts me into belly laughs? That show has NO sacred cows at all.), and I still like really loud music cranked up really loud.
We are now the ages our parents were when we married. Parents my parents ages, which is what I am, are not supposed to appreciate Aerosmith. We’re supposed to listen to Perry Como or something. I mean, that’s what parents the ages of my parents (which is what I am) listen to. We’re supposed to watch Lawrence Welk and actually be entertained by it. Really entertained, not in an ironic way or by making fun of the leisure suits. Honestly, if I made my mother aware the South Park even existed she’d wind up seeing the episode where Mr. Garrison had a sex change operation and Mr. Slave didn’t approve. Then I’d have to…well. There’s really no explaining that one. Not to Mom. I suppose if I had trouble explaining it to my mother I probably shouldn’t watch it, and I am pretty sure there’s stuff my kids watch that I wouldn’t understand and they’d have trouble explaining it.
Anyway…Himself and I were griping the other night, as we went through the long and involved process of getting ready for bed (remember when all you had to do was throw your clothes on the floor, if you even bothered to remove them?) about how much it sucked to get old, except that it didn’t suck as much as the alternative would have. Questions were asked along the lines of “when did we have to start taking pills all the time? I remember- for me it was 1993. It started with 2 pills at night, and gradually, as bits and pieces have begun to wobble and creak, it’s increased to (let me think…)…8. No…9 That’s right. Plus vitamins. Who needs supper when you’re washing down a double handful of pills the size of .45 bullets? Except that, of course if I didn’t eat anything the pills would make me nauseous, give me heartburn, and strip the lining out of my lower gut. I don’t remember the pills I took as a child doing anything of the sort.
When did it get so difficult to do all those things young whippersnappers take for granted? Like falling asleep easily, hearing what other people say without having to squint to read their lips. I had to stare at the young lady assembling my (high fiber, for regularity) salad at Moe’s the other day, because I couldn’t hear her over all the other employees shouting “WELCOME TO MOE’S!” every 10 seconds.
When did it become so necessary to mind my diet, so as to maintain (forget about losing. Phhphpt…) my weight and keep my digestive processes functioning properly? Did you ever once think about the proper function of your innards, when you were a young person? I mean, seriously. Del Taco 3 nights a week and Pizza Hut every Friday (and usually breakfast on Saturday), oh and those greasy 2-for-a-dollar egg rolls at that Chinese place on the corner downtown. My weight never complained, nor did any other body part. Bloating? Phphpht…that was for old people who complained too much.
But now? Bifocals, y’all. Metamucil, blood pressure medicine and cholesterol medicine and inquiries about low-salt menu options. Rigid 9pm bedtimes, with the ritual starting at 8 because that’s how long it takes. Gripes about assorted aches and pains and inabilities to easily get up off the floor. When did that happen? When did getting my hip replaced result in…Oh Lord. It won’t be long before people look at me like “of course you had your hip replaced” instead of “Wow, you’re kind of young for that.” Grey hair (excuse me, no, it’s NOT grey, it’s Silver Fox. Or something.) Himself is going grey with dignity. A few stray curls of grey at the temples, you can’t even see them unless you look closely. Other than those, he still has that reddish chestnut brown, nice and thick, on his head, and auburn red and blond in his beard.
We look at our parents and are startled by the white hair, the physical infirmities, the general slowing down of physical and mental faculties. I feel like I’m looking at the future when I stop and look closely. I look at the kids and see the past. I see one of them doing the things we did at his age, looking at marriage, considering the future with a life partner. I see the others making real plans, doing things to make those plans happen, plans that aren’t about what to wear, but about what to do, for real. It’s nice, really, because that’s how it should be.
But it is still surprising to look in the medicine cabinet and reach for Old Folk’s pills, and not even really think twice about it.