I had an epiphany the other day.
Not one for routine visits from a clear mind (my last one happened sometime in college although I am not too sure what it was about, it could have just been the Jungle Juice.), I thought it might be something I should pay attention to.
I realized I am not as young as I used to be.
My mom first told me a long time ago, I needed to act my age. It was a command I would continue to hear for most of my life. As a child I heard it. As an adolescent I heard it. I have even heard it as an adult (well, heard it as what the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania deems an adult). And for every time I heard it I denied it. I understand time stops for no man but unless Ensure is apart of your daily diet, most of us fool ourselves in to believing we aren’t quite as old as our birth certificate tells us we are. And as I grew up and inched closer to the responsibilities that go hand in hand with age, I denied it more. I was getting older but I wasn’t old. Was I?
And that is where the epiphany began; sitting in Premier Immediate Care waiting to have my knee x-rayed…I am getting old.
The epiphany played on.
It was Sunday afternoon and the previous night, at a company party, I attempted to power slide across the dance floor (I was trying to win a dance competition). Now I should explain, for years, I had been doing this very same move on dance floors across the tri-state area. The origins of my power slide began sometime around the 11th grade at the prom. By the time I was in college, if I would have had longer hair and leather pants, I could have given the lead singer of Warrant a run for his money.
No event or dance floor was safe from my ‘move’, from proms, college formals (where the ‘move’ was done usually without my pants…don’t ask), and weddings. The ‘move’ was usually done in conjunction with me consuming an unspecified amount of alcohol too. It was my ‘move’; the punctuation to wild gyrations and my inebriated attempts at dancing.
But the ‘move’ had been retired. No more college formals to go to. No more proms. There have been weddings but as I said, alcohol is at the core of the ‘move’, which does me no good if I’m the designated driver.
This is why, at the company party, along with the multiple shots of Jaeger Meister and the chance to win minor league baseball tickets, I was compelled to break the ‘move’ back out. Add in the fact that my mind still believed I was in my twenties and it was decided. And so the ‘move’ came back out and with it, my knee gave out. All I remember is the sound. Cracking. The sound of cracking like the articulated leg of a Ken doll used to make when you bent it. I not only heard it but I felt the quake of the cracking ripple up my thigh. Then the pain. A shot of pain that may have been akin to natural child birth. When I asked my wife for a ruling, she, like so many times before, made reference to my inherent idiocy and lack of toughness. I don’t care what she says, I can now relate to either Nancy Kerrigan or the mom from ’19 and Counting’.
In that instant, what my mind had been denying for the past decade or so, the pain in my knee proved true.
It’s funny. When I was a kid, I dreamt of a day when I could be older. A time when I would be old enough to stay up late, watch ‘R’ rated movies, not have to eat my vegetables and finally live under a roof where I made the rules. And now I am older. I have forgone cooked veggies and curfews but now I am also fraught with responsibilities, mortgage payments, and trips to the chiropractors. Now I am longing for the days when my muscles had the vitality and elasticity of youth. Longing for a time when I didn’t need the heated seat in my car to be on even in the summer time.
So in the Douglassville location of Premier Immediate Care, I had an epiphany of age.
Strangely, while I was coming to grips with my age, my back started to hurt. And if summoned by the gods of irony, Alicia pointed out just how bald I was getting (I was surprised she didn’t point out my gray hairs too).
I am faced with the reality of age. I am still years away from applying for Medicare or getting my AARP subscription but I am now also years from being able to do my ‘move’ anymore (at least not without extensive stretching over the course of about 3 months).
Sitting waiting for my x-ray, trying to point out the hilarity of the situation to my wife (I emphasize trying, it would seem the hilarity was lost on her but not my gray hair she just spotted), I discovered some things.
I discovered that my hair is not coming back by itself and what is left may in fact be gray sooner rather than later. I discovered that my ‘move’ has to be retired but, much to Alicia’s chagrin, my dancing days don’t have to be. I discovered that I am far from afternoons filled with Shuffleboard and nighttime games of Bingo. I discovered that I am no longer twenty one years old (my knees may be closer to 50). I discovered that I may be getting older but I am far from old. In fact, not only am I far from old, I don’t have to act like I am either.
Yet while I may not have to act like I am old…I had better learn to act my age.
“Well I guess I’m getting…older. Older sounds a little better than old. Sounds like it might even last a little bit longer”-George Carlin.