Nothing is more boring than people talking about their various bodily ailments. And nothing says “I’m old and pitiful” like wasting someone else’s time complaining about your aches and pains. But I’ve gotta tell you: my left hip’s been hurting me somethin’ fierce.
Smile lines have barely surfaced around my mouth nor have crows begun to stretch their feet around my eyes. With the exception of a gray hair here and there, the signs of aging have yet to make their mark on my person. More than halfway through my thirties, I still get carded and am able to shock twentysomethings when I refer to Duran Duran as the fave boy band of my youth rather than New Kids or ’N Sync. In other words, on the outside I look about a decade younger than I am.
The inside is a different story. My wrist now becomes achy when I write for too long. I’m starting to hold magazines an inch farther from my face and lean in to better hear conversations. My neck hurts when I sleep funny. I get heartburn.
But the hip’s the worst. Is the malfunction hereditary or the result of wearing high heels everyday for twenty years? Either way, the damn thing feels like a loose hinge on a door. One last screw falls out and I fear the whole structure crashing to the ground. Last week, I had to turn down an invite to a hiking trip on account of the rain bothering my hip. Feels like only a matter of time before I develop a fondness for Friday night fish fries and start kicking kids off my lawn.
Growing old doesn’t bother me. Not only do I plan to do it gracefully, I’m even kinda looking forward to it. Assuming I achieve some of the goals I’m now kicking my own backside to achieve, old age will be a time to coast.
Still, how odd it is to become aware of yourself as an older person, knowing what’s going to bring you down. Like when your cholesterol levels become a permanent part of your day-to-day decision making or ignoring bad ankle pain ensures a future battle with gout.
I guess the hardest reality we all must face is aging, in part, because life affords endless opportunity to the young and mobile. Of course, there’s also the fact that one day the whole show ends for good. I’m not sure if I’m psychologically ready to accept this unavoidable fate. But at least physically, my body is preparing me for the inevitable.
Mark my words, one day decades in the future, my family will get the call. “Well, it seems ’Nana broke her hip. She was walking across the yard to refill the bird feeder and the ol‘ gal just collapsed.” I’m freaking out knowing the day indeed will come. As old women, my marathon running friend currently stressing her joints will be Lady Arthritis while my chain smoking gal pal will one day be The Hacker. And I shall be Ms. “That’s My Bad Hip.”
What if there are complications with my surgery? What if I have to walk with a cane? What if I’m forced to get one of those electric chairs you ride up and down staircases?
Actually, that’d be pretty cool.
[Image from wannasmile.com]