If you’ve ever wondered if age is relative, ask a kindergartener how old he thinks you are. This is hilarious fun. If he’s a meditative five-year old, he may look you up and down before answering. Hmm, he will think. I know she’s older than me but she doesn’t ride a motorized scooter like great-granny. After a moment, he will guess that you are anywhere from seven to 100-years old.
Of course, when that happens you aren’t offended. What does a child know of the merciless onslaught of old age? The only wrinkles he sees are the ones on his Garanimals t-shirt after naptime. To him, tooth loss equals cash money under his pillow.
Although I turned a youthful thirty-six this year, I’m starting to feel old. Here are a few ways I know it’s coming:
A package was delivered to the house the other day. I was so excited to see it sitting by the back door when we got home from school. “What is it?” my kids asked. I answered: “Oh! I hope it is…could it be? Yes! It’s the part to the washing machine! I’ll be washing clothes tonight! Uh-huh! Oh yeah!” (That’s me doing a victory dance.) My kids were completely mystified by my rejoicing in the street (The woman in Jesus’ parable about the lost coin probably got the same reaction from her kids.).
I was looking at the apps on my phone and I realized that the one I most frequently use is the Weather Channel app. You know you’re getting old when the weather becomes supremely important and interesting. I suppose the next step is to feel “a storm a-brewin’ in my joints.”
At the dermatologist’s office, I stared intently at a poster hanging in the examination room extolling the virtues of Botox. As I glanced at myself in the mirror over the sink, I saw the same lines in between my eyebrows as the one in the “before” picture of the poster. I tried to keep my eyebrows raised for the rest of the visit. It was exhausting.
I had a thirty-minute conversation with a friend recently about insoles for shoes. We decided that comfort is essential when choosing athletic shoes. I tried to explain this to my ten-year old daughter when she accompanied me to the shoe store today. She actually said she would “die” if I bought those “ugly” running shoes. She also told me to stop calling them “tennies.” Which, of course, had the adverse effect because I started adding “-ies” to all shoe names after she stated this preference (We got her some “Bob-ies” because I’m too cheap to buy “Tom-ies.” I refused to buy her any “boot-ies” but I did buy her sister a six-pack of “sock-ies.” I’m such a fun mom!).
I realize that age is a very flexible concept. When I’m racing my son down the driveway after rolling the garbage can out to the street, I feel young and full of energy as I beat him in the house. Then there are other days when I feel too exhausted to stay awake past 9:00 p.m. In a few weeks, Murfreesboro will host a four-mile run on Thanksgiving Day. There will be all kinds of runners stretching at the starting line that morning. Serious runners and people dressed like turkeys. Teens, families with strollers, and every other demographic you could name. And you can bet that several of these runners will be pushing 70 and well beyond. I love to see that. It makes me think that age isn’t something to hide from or fret over. These men and women are doing what they love in spite of their age. And when my son can eventually beat me in foot races I will keep in mind that these 75-year old runners probably can too.