But on the morning of my birthday, and I’m not going to tell you which birthday, except to say that I can no longer say I’m in my MID forties, but am now in my LATE forties–I awoke to searing, immobilizing pain in my back. After planning my special day down to the minute, I was forced to spend the entirety of my birthday on the couch, icing my inflamed scapula and the vertebrae in my neck. Oh, joy!
I have always prided myself on my athleticism. I play tennis, I jog, I swim. I also pretend I’m eighteen. On the tennis court, I don’t just swing at the ball. I go for it, racket blazing, stretching, sliding , racing to make the shot. Just like a teenager. But I’m not a teenager any longer. And, from the memo my back received on my birthday, I realize that I can’t behave like a teenager any longer. Not if I want to keep playing.
I’ve never been much of a stretcher. (I could use a stretcher right now, but that’s a different story!) I never did those warm-up things that other people–aka professionals–said I should do before exercising. I just jumped right in. But now, I have to. I never did core exercises, espoused by trainers everywhere, to keep my center in shape (as is evidenced by my protuberant belly.) I never lifted weights to strengthen my muscles and keep my bones healthy.
Guess what? I have to now.
But the thing is, my mom worked hard to maintain her glowing youthful appearance. The older she got, the harder she worked. She worked out with a trainer twice a week into her seventies. She ate right. She took amazing care of her skin, exfoliating every night and creaming her face to within an inch of her life.
So perhaps the “It’s hell getting old” business was about the fact that the older you get, the more damn stuff you have to do to age gracefully.
But since there is only one alternative to aging, and that alternative is not one I’d like to contemplate at this time, I suppose the thing to do is to make the effort.
I guess I better take that Olay Skincare System out of the box, huh? I’ll exfoliate the dead skin cells on my face right after I finish my sit ups, which I’ll do after a half hour of stretching and weight lifting, which will be preceded by a kale and spinach smoothie.
I’d like to rephrase my mother’s words: Getting old sucks.