This morning I woke up feeling 100 years old, every bone was creaking and hurt, for no real reason. I have noticed that when you are almost 50, it’s harder just to jump right out of bed without something hurting. As waddled my way to the French press to make some coffee to jump start brain and to start thinking like a human, I turned on the music from my phone. Colbie Caillat’s song, “Older” started to fill my apartment, “It’s kind of tough getting older,” a 20 something was singing it’s tough getting older. I looked around to see if I could find some hidden camera because I was certain this was a joke of some kind.
I know the minute you are born, you start getting older, but this morning, it was hard for this 49-and-a-half-year-old woman to listen to a 20-year-old girl sing “Shades of gray and I feel the weight over my shoulder, it’s tough getting older.” I think I said out loud “honey, older isn’t even on your immediate horizon, let alone over your shoulder” as I sat down on my couch next to my equally creaky old husband, and I changed the song. While I was drinking my liquid gold out of a coffee mug, I did quick math in my head and determined that my mug was more than likely older than Colbie Caillat; even her name screams the opposite of “older.”
I have been thinking about getting older a lot lately, and I find myself in situations where I think like an old person. For instance, I went to the doctors a few weeks ago for my annual check up; my doctor is in his 30’s, and when I first went to him, I had a hard time thinking he knew anything because he was so young. Complete old person thought. I said something about being an old lady, and he said: “you’re not that old.” Complete young person thought.
I was in Starbucks, actually writing this post when I had to move out of the way for a man with gray hair, a little hunched over, a brace on his knee and a service dog in tow. Now that’s old I thought and I typed, complete young person thought. While I might have felt creaky this morning, I am, thankfully, not dragging around a service dog…yet anyway.
I notice more and more that most of my thoughts are old person thoughts. I will, almost always, stop for a second before I decide to do a particular activity. I will weigh the chances of a broken hip vs. the fun. I also notice that the transition from thinking like a young person to thinking like an old person is subtle; you don’t even know it happens until you are weighing those broken hip options. But, here is the strange part about thinking like an old person; aside from the occasionally morning, I don’t feel like what I’d imagine an old person to feel like. In my mind I’m a wiser 25-year-old version of myself, which leaves me feeling confused. Am I old or am I young.
As I am about to turn fifty, I find my body a little softer and rounder, I find my heart softer and more open. I worry less about what I look like and more about what the world looks like. I worry the same amount about my kids, but now I worry about their significant others as well. I worry about breaking hips and hot flashes, but I am in love with how my mind and thinking has matured and softened. I don’t dread getting older like I did in my 20’s. This will be the first decade my husband, and I no longer have to financially support our kids. We will only have to pay our rent, our phone bills, and our health insurance. I can eat Captin’ Crunch for breakfast and not force myself to eat something green if I don’t want or I can go to a fancy restaurant and spend what my younger self would have made in a week on an amazing meal. Getting older has its perks and I find those perks outweigh the normal aches and pains.
As I am about to turn fifty, I sit on my downtown balcony with my creaky old husband looking at the beautiful Nashville skyline in front of the most amazing sunset, and I am ready to welcome this new older, but wiser decade with open arms.