I have a new job right now that just happens to be the same job that I had in 2004, and it’s got me thinking comparatively. See, even though it’s the same type of job it’s a different state and a different store, and most importantly, it’s a different me. Yesterday I was reaching across the table with a blade to trim a bit of paper. I leaned way over, on my tip toes, edge of the table pressing into my hips, and MAN did it pull in funny ways. That same move in 2004 would have been easy, effortless. Now, it pulled.
Since 2011 I’ve been wearing a brace on my left wrist when I do any heavy lifting, and quilter’s compression gloves on both hands when the weather is cold or wet and I have to do fine motor moves. I used to do my job without braces or compression gloves, and my fine motor skills were excellent. Now they’re only sort of ok, and only with a lot of support.
To make matters quite worse, I caught sight of myself in the full length mirror yesterday, naked. I don’t make a habit of checking out my naked self, but feeling as I did about my job I gave pause. Things are sagging. Things are already sagging.
All this to say that I’m feeling old. I have this job that I used to do with vigor and energy, without ever getting tired (so much so that I was even known to do all nighters at a second job and then come in to work all day). Now I do the same job slowly and after full nights of sleep. I used to carry lights and lumber all over the theatre without a second thought, and now I’m reaching for ibuprofen. And my saggy naked self? It’s put the 2-piece bathing suit into retirement.
It’s all got me thinking, what’s next? Is it just the slow steady slide now until I’m wrinkled and retired and hobbling around on plastic knees? Is it true when they say that age is just a number and we can fight it with a good diet and lots of yoga? Because I haven’t met anyone who has that working for them just yet. And if it really is a matter of time, how do we hang in there for that long? I don’t want to spend the next 50 years dreading the next birthday, but if the precedent is anything to look forward to, it’s not looking too good. You know what I heard shows up between your breasts when you get old?
Your belly button.
And that’s just sad.