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.