I don’t consider myself old, but after celebrating my 37th birthday, I no longer feel young. I’ve been told I still look like I’m 21, but, my body seems to be saying 21 in dog years.
I can no longer run — one of my passions -– because of my knees. If one knee feels fine, the other, almost on cue, starts to flare up. However, it’s not just running that aggravates my knees. Normal activities bother my knees. Going up and down the stairs in my house is now a challenge to my knees akin to running a marathon. If I can make the trek pain-free, it’s an accomplishment. And if I do make it pain-free, another surprise awaits –my back starts to bother me. But that’s no big surprise. My back frequently goes out when doing such arduous tasks as putting on a shirt, taking a shower, or tying my shoes.
Then there are all the strange ailments that have taken over my feet like an alien life force. Both feet sport calluses the size of small children. Toenail fungus has also attacked both of my feet and one of my big toes has an ingrown toenail. To combat these foot problems, I’m applying several different creams, taking pills that may or may not damage my liver, and wearing a toe cap -– yes, there is a such a thing as a toe cap — to protect my ingrown toenail from… me. As the world’s clumsiest person, I stub my toes on a daily basis. Of course, I always seem to stub the toe that has the ingrown toenail.
Therefore, either my body is slowly being taken over by aliens or I’m simply getting old. I’m not sure which is worse. Given a choice, though, I choose getting old. However, just when I start feeling down in the dumps, my daughter picks me up.
“Lexy, do you know how old Daddy is?”
“Daddy, you’re 12.” I feel young once again.
“No, Daddy. You’re not 12. You’re Old.”
“You’re like a Grandpa.”
As if I didn’t feel down already, now, my own flesh and blood is calling me old. I might as well start wearing sweaters during the summer and complaining it’s cold all the time because that’s how old I feel.
I know my daughter is only three, but part of me agrees with her. I can no longer go to bars because they’re too noisy. I go to the gym and lift half of what I lifted when I was in my 20s. However, maybe the worst sign of all is that I’m starting to do things my parents did and I openly mocked. Specifically, how my father dressed.
After a day at the office, my father would put on shorts, a T-shirt, sneakers, but leave on the black dress socks he wore during the day. He’d then pull the socks all the way to his knees then head to the store, my soccer game, etc.
Recently, I did the same thing except I didn’t hike my socks halfway up my body. Regardless, this is clearly a sign that my best days are behind me.
“Stop worrying about it,” my wife tells me.
She’s right, pointing out that her grandmother is still going strong at 95. The end isn’t coming for me anytime soon. When I start wearing a sweater on a hot summer day along with black dress socks, shorts, and sneakers, that’s when I’ll know my time is coming.