Friday Letter to my Kids – June 19, 2015 –
Dear J, J, L and L,
I’ll let you in on a little secret.
Age slows you down. You swear it won’t happen to you. Then menopause hits, or a surgery or two, or an autoimmune disorder appears. You cope, you adjust, you medicate, you treat, you pursue other options. You age faster than you thought possible.
You sound like your grandma when she used to try to stand up from her chair. Yeah, that sound. Ooomph, uhhhhhh, psssssshhhhh, ahhhh.
You straighten your back slowly, hoping it doesn’t catch and stay crooked. You feel like a lawn mower that’s sat idle over a few months and needs some oil, fresh gas, a new air filter and a sharpening.
One day you try to roll out of bed and wonder what alien life form took over your body in your sleep. Your feet hurt, your legs turn to bags of rocks. Nimble no longer describes anything about you except perhaps your wallet.
The mirror betrays you.
The scale lies.
Your clothes shrink overnight.
Brain cells shrivel and rearrange themselves.
And forget the whole memory thing. I recall at thirty something, staring at Big L and being completely blank on what your name was. I tried to say your name, not even the letter L graced the screen of my brain. Nada. Imagine putting a couple of decades on top of that early memory loss and you’re staring at a mega data sink hole.
I’m fighting it. Not sure where I’d find a personal trainer who helps you win against aging and old person syndrome. But time isn’t on my side and neither are the odds. I pedal my bike pretending I’m sixteen, but looking more than a few decades older and slightly wider than that. Surely there’s more countermeasures to deploy in beating back the aches and arthritis and aging process.
Why do I tell you this, in your prime, your vigorous amazing twenties and thirties?
It’s a sign. it’s one of those small roadside poster sized signs you see two hundred miles from your destination. “There will be other signs,” you think to yourself, “as I get closer.”
And there are. But those miles roll by in the hectic pace of life with kids and schedules and work and fun.
I swore in my teens: “I will never grow old. I refuse to look old or act old or become old!” And now I’m offered the senior citizen discount by the AC repairman without even getting asked for my ID. So what if I saved twenty-five dollars. My already tilted world slanted a bit more and I felt myself sliding toward some abyss.
Well, that’s a bit dramatic.
But still. Imagine that happening to you. At your age! You’d feel disheartened and brushed aside, too.
In my head I’m not really any older than you. Just a little more jaded, a little slower. The real me inside dances to Queen’s lyrics, “we will, we will, rock you!” The real me holds up a lighter and sings “we are the champions, my friend!”
The real me never actually grows old!
Here’s real secret I meant to share with you: neither will you.
All my love,
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ~ Sophia Loren