Monday, November 11, 2013

Used to Could

Getting old sucks sometimes.

There's all that great stuff about the wisdom that comes with age.  That part is pretty great. I don't feel as much "have to" as I did when I was younger, for example.  I don't "have to" have tons of money or things; as long as I have a roof over my head and food on the table.  I don't "have to" be a size zero(yes, there is such a thing!); these days I am just focusing on my health.  I don't "have to" pretend to be someone I'm not just so people will like me; I no longer feel a need to pretend to be someone I'm not just to fit in with a particular group. 

But other parts of getting old are difficult for me to accept.   Like the hair suddenly in weird places.  I have found several of the prerequisite old lady hairs on my chin, and now I'm a little paranoid about it.  Where else will hairs appear?   And everything creaks when you hit a certain age.  Knees creak.  Backs creak.  Necks creak.  Even fingers creak, which is sort of creepy if you're not expecting it.  And I'm always just...tired.  Not the bone-deep tired of someone ill, just the nagging tired that comes with the body beginning that downhill slide into old age. The tired that comes from having too many things to do and not enough hours in the day to get them done. The tired that has you in bed before 10pm each night, even as you curse having to be awake at 6am. 

There's a phrase that you hear around here that describes all this perfectly, as much as it offends the Grammar Police out there: Used to could.  I am not sure if the phrase is a vestige of the Old South that spread into Central Texas, or if it is a bastardized translation of one of the many languages, German, French, or Spanish, that are prominent in the area.  It really doesn't matter; the phrase fits perfectly. 

I (used to) could run a mile.  I (used to) could walk up and down stairs all day, without losing my breath or needing an inhaler. I (used to) could carry heavy things up the stairs by myself. I (used to) could eat lots of things and not gain an ounce. I (used to) could drink many beers and still dance upright.  I (used to) could dance most of the night, just because I wanted to.  I (used to) could leap into a mosh pit and not worry about getting stepped on.  I (used to) could stay awake all night if I was having a good time. I (used to) could never worry about most things, believing that all would be well.

Time for an attitude adjustment.  Again.

The secret is to focus on the here and now, to be in the present, and be happy in that.  Having a six year old boy tends to sharpen a mother's focus on the now.  Most of the time I think that I do pretty good with keeping up with my son. We do lots of exploring, for example, which means lots of walking, some climbing, and the occasional quick jog.  I love those times. 

But then something in my body creaks, or I need my inhaler, and then I start to think about all the things I (used to) could.  I (used to) could ignore them.  Now they just creep into my consciousness along with that nagging pain in my lower back. They're hard to dismiss, difficult to push into the back of my brain, and once they gain traction, they tend to stick around. 

Getting old sucks sometimes.




24 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. The sad thing is the list just keeps getting longer, until it is too long to remember. But, as they say, getting old isn't great, but it beats the alternative.

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  3. Ah, I'm from rural Kentucky and "used to could" is common speak around here. And by the way, I used to could do a lot of those things too.

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    1. That's a relief--I had no idea where that phrase came from, and it bothered me tremendously!

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  4. Wait...hairs just popping up on your chin? Not Italian are ya? ;) Love the "used to could"...well, hate it, but you know....

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  5. As long as the most important parts keep working I'm happy.

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    1. That's what I tell myself, and so far, so good!

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  6. I love how you incorporated the - I "used to" could - it worked so well in fitting with the theme of this post. And so much that reminds me of myself. Thanks for a great read.

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    1. Thank you! I really appreciate you reading.

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  7. I used to could neaten up my special place without lifting up my stomach (sigh).

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    1. Good Lord! I forgot about that one. Thanks for reading!

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  8. It used to bother me but the older I get the less I care about those things either... so I guess it all balances in the end.

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  9. For all the used-to-coulds I'm now finding at least one ain't-it-great-to... But even though I'm grateful for the gifts of the present, I do miss my quiet knees.

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  10. Ah, the old lady hairs on the chin. Damn them!

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  11. Ok I can relate. First, I'm 50 next month and the chin hairs are outta control. I started electrolysis but I might be too scared to blog about it. Second, getting older is a privilege. I've had cancer twice in my 30s. Getting old is better than being dead.

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  12. As a disabled 66 year old, I can tell you when you accept that getting older truly beats out the alternative? It gets a LOT easier. You adjust. And blog.

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  13. Even though I'm 55 and fairly fit, I relate to that sense of fatigue you mention. It's definitely a different flavor. And the expression, "used to could" -- reminds me of my step-father, who was from Mississippi, who often used the phrase "might could." I'm thinking it makes tons of sense to focus on the might could...

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  14. Hair in places you never expected? I used to watch women getting their upper lip waxed in my grandmother's salon when I was growing up. Not once did it occur to me that I would get a hairy upper lip.

    "Yous guys" (needs no explanation) - "hoagies" (a sub) - "wooder" (water) - "jimmies" (sprinkles for ice cream) - and then there are: gunna and wanna - going to and want to (South Jersey - Philly area).

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  15. Oh yes, sometimes it does suck. The creaky joints bother me most...but the first paragraph is generally how I feel about it.

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  16. This sure is true!
    I started having all sorts of chronic pain (back, joints, etc) in my late teens/early twenties and figured I felt like an old person already. I did, as it turns out, but it's also started to get worse lately as I stare down the big 4-0. I think it has a LOT to do with having kids… and the sleep deprivation that they bring.

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