The late Bette Davis once said, “Old age is no place for sissies.”
I have come to the realization that I am officially middle age. I frolicked through my 30’s, buoyed by the fact that I wasn’t yet “middle aged.” Then I turned 40 and started spouting such nonsense as “Forty is the new thirty.”
And then my body systematically began to fall apart, and I am now willing to admit that I am middle-aged.
I know this because of my kneecaps.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a middle-aged woman in possession of a failing body must be in want firmer kneecaps.
Or something like that.
I woke up one day last week, startled by the realization that my kneecaps had started sagging south. This epiphany hit me like a ton of FiberCon (which I highly recommend, by the way).
I foolishly thought that perhaps I was suffering from some gravity disease where my body was being pulled toward the ground in an unnatural way and all would be set aright when I woke up the next morning. Couldn’t it be that it was just a blip in time that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, like a Kardashian sister?
But the next morning, I awoke to the same kneecaps. I searched Google for inspiration and found this quote from Satchel Paige: “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”
Oh, I don’t know. Maybe as old as it takes start losing control of your kneecaps? Call me crazy, but I don’t know any 25 year olds who have runaway kneecaps.
And let’s be honest here folks, it’s not just my kneecaps. Oh that it were.
• I’ve noticed that routine checkups have turned into “procedures.” Many of these procedures require sedation and a responsible driver to get me home, so I’m not feeling all springy-in-my-step in that arena.
• I have no idea what color my hair is anymore. None. And to be honest, I don’t think I want to know.
• I’ve started telling stories about my childhood like my parents did. “This snow is nothing, kids. I used to walk a mile to school EACH WAY in the snow. We didn’t get rides to school from our parents. We just TOUGHED IT OUT.” (And yes, the ALL CAPS are because I’m typically yelling that part.)
• I’m strangely drawn to The Weather Channel, and find myself watching it for far longer than necessary.
• Nowadays, when my husband and I have an argument, we get tired halfway through and forget what we’re fighting about. And then we start laughing. Surely this is the early signs of something.
• Naps have become a religion unto themselves.
• I can’t see a darn thing. I wave at people at Costco because they wave at me, but I have no idea who they are. True story.
• I can’t see a darn thing.
• I start repeating myself.
But it’s not all bad. Growing old has afforded me the pleasure to simply not care what people think anymore, something my teenage self would have never understood. In fact, one of the quotes I came across by baseball player Chili Davis nailed it: "Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional."
So I will press on, sagging knees and all.
Eileen Burmeister is a freelance writer who lives in Winchester, Ore. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at EBurmeister.