OH SHIT IT HAPPENED
As clear as a bell I remember the nanosecond moment when I delivered my son and the energy in the room shifted from a couple to a family. It was a momentous experience, one of those nuggets that almost felt like the description people give when they almost leave us, but come back. The image of the three of us taking a gigantic step across the line and turning to wave goodbye to what was. This is life, those spectacular moments drizzled into the mundane to keep you alert and awake. There isn’t an abundance of these which is what makes them all so special.
So I am at the gym last week, biking as fast as I can to Kathy belting out some crazy Kathy order that she must think of when she is drinking the night before to torture us. The music is loud and pulsing and so was my heart. I am sweating and I just can’t believe that the rest of the lineup is going faster than I am, but they are and they do and I don’t give a shit. No matter how much I work out and how clean I eat and how much alcohol I no longer drink, I realize loud and clear that I will never be them. This is fucking liberating and if I were drinking I’d drink to that. At the end of the spin, as we all tried to catch our breath and wipe the water dripping from our faces called sweat, I said one of my favorite quotes taken from my friend, “Like hampsters on a wheel.” The two lovely slightly overachiever type blonde ladies to my left turned their heads in agreement and laughed. I continued with, “It never seems to get easier.” Then they took the conversation baton and began talking about the weight topic that I am happy to be free from frankly. I asked them how old they were so I could commiserate with our similarities in not being able to eat whatever whenever anymore. “32!” they chirped. OMG 32. I quickly calculated and realized that I was just getting ready to deliver Michael when I was 32. I could be their mother! “I’m 52.” I said trying to stay a part of the conversation but knowing that it was a lost cause. We likely didn’t have much in common as we got off of our spin bikes. “52?” they exclaimed! “You don’t look 52, you look great!” (Must be the tits, I wanted to say, but didn’t, so proud of me).
What does that even mean? What does a 52 year old look like? I know they meant it as a compliment because I know I look good. I fucking better. I spend exorbitant amounts of money on a boutique gym rather than a monthly membership at the Y where all the classes you could ever want (but don’t) are included. I mostly take care of my insides, therapy, stretching, roller classes, meditation and organic eating as often as possible. I am bored reading what I just wrote because frankly I don’t do any of it for how I appear outwardly. It is all for my mental state. Like about 90% of it is for my mind to settle down from its non stop yapping. This notion was a revelation for me when I unknowingly made the jump from working out to look good to working out to feel good. As we inspected each other, warning here, I tend to look at women’s skin because no matter how much they work out, if they don’t take care of their skin all the tight asses in the world will not do much to lessen the damage, I realized that I crossed another one of those invisible lines to say goodbye to.
This did not leave me feeling a loss or any sadness, but gratitude that I don’t have to deal with my 32 year old head trying to live up to the fantasy of “perfect mom, wife, employee, human.” ever ever again. Hallelujah! Don’t get me wrong, I loved that part of my life, but I am one of those moms who loved every single age of my son and still do. I don’t miss any of the ages, I don’t wish for their return and I love watching my son go through his self discovery stages. I welcome the present and the future and am grateful for the past. Though I do miss the four year old little hand in my hand age and the early morning smell of my baby, nothing ever like that again for sure.
Then I realized another line crossed. I am the 52 year old who I used to look at and semi admire when I began doing low impact aerobics in the eighties at the Newport Athletic Club, after Jane Fonda lost her zazzle in my living room. I started to tell them about how I remember being their age and being able to eat whatever I wanted and then give it up for a few days and bounce right back to the five pounds lighter. I lost them as they likely began to roll their eyes at the mom trigger and they continued on with their conversations about the latest Pottery Barn catalogue or something. Just kidding, they weren’t talking about that, but they could have been.
The oh shit it happened list is endless. I don’t know if it is because the surgical menopause is catching up with me almost three years later, but hair is sprouting at a rate that I can’t describe and not on my head. That hair, that luscious mane has now decided that it wants to look like it is perpetually flat ironed. Lynn, my current hair dresser let me know that the zero humidity in the air could be playing a role, but also, yep she said it, age too. Then there are those weird lines forming around my upper lip that when I catch myself not smiling it feels as if my cheeks are sinking into my mouth causing my lips to disappear. My hair is so white now that when I look at a picture of myself even from three years ago, I look so much younger because of the color. To even contemplate coloring my hair, which I never would, is hilarious since the growth of it would cause me to have to color my hair about every three days. There is the perpetual wake ups throughout the night. There is the forgetting where I put my keys, my phone, my 18 lipsticks. Then there is the deep need to feel comfortable all of the time. Shoes, pants, underwear, socks, I have moved to the place of feeling tortured if I am not in comfortable clothes. I envy my friends who wake up and get dressed in actual real clothes and look like they enjoy it. I don’t except if I go out to dinner or something, but even then I still go to comfort first these days. Then there is the pee factor. I sneezed the other day and I swear, I can’t even say it aloud. I wish I had done more kegels like Cosmo told me. Is it too late to start kegels now? Then there is the puffiness, the bloating, the change of body shape. Holy shit, I realize could I be turning into my mother’s body? No way, she never worked out, she smoked and she was and likely still is a daily drinker. This is not me. I am not her. Whew. Well at least in all of this natural change that happens when we have the privilege of being alive is just that.
The next phase. It may be happening at the speed of light, but I seriously am not complaining at all about it. I think it is kind of amusing and I love the perch that I sit on as I knowingly watch the 32 year olds try to keep it together in their young mama phases. I march forth as I move into my mid fifties at the blink of a smaller eye (yes this happens too, where did my nice big brown eyes go off to?) I watch my dearest friend get ready to turn 75 and wonder if she feels the same way about me like I do about the 32 year olds. Just like you can’t tell any first time expecting mom about how her life is going to be changing in her fantasy world she gets to live in for nine months, a 52 year old woman with brand new 36ds can’t tell a 32 year old about what is to come. This they have to find out for themselves and this is what makes aging fun. The knowing that this too will pass on to something different and as long as I am alive, I will rock whatever time I have.