This weekend we capped off a two week jubilee of me feeling old with my daughter’s four year old birthday celebration. I am looking over the pictures we took during the party wondering just where the years have gone, and when I became a responsible adult. I mean, I have a four year old for crying out loud.
The two week long ode to my aging kicked off Labor Day weekend when I went camping with the other McP men. For the first time nobody seemed to think it was that funny that I’d bring a full-size pillow top Aerobed to the woods with me, in fact I believe others were envious of my comfort. This was also the first time I realized that while drinking around a campfire can be fun, sleeping in my own bed at home is more fun.
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Upon my return from camping I found I had a medical complaint that I figured was no big deal. I’m used to calling my doctor and saying “Hey, I think my leg has gone numb or my pee is blood red” or something like that and them saying, “You’re such a young man, just call us back next week if you still can’t feel anything, and hey, maybe have another beer to dilute that urine.”
This time around they didn’t say that at all. They wanted me in the next day.
Instead I’ve been poked, injected, scanned, prodded and poked some more. I’ve had so many fluids checked that I understand how my car must feel to be serviced. The good news is I really can’t remember my original complaint and it definitely seems small in comparison to the side effects of the medical care I’ve thus far received.
(My left arm wasn't bothering me before)
Last Monday night I somehow slept on my back funny and spent the next two days not being able to turn my neck. My daughter thought this hilarious as I moved “like an old robot”. Thanks. Our next lesson will be to not mock one’s elders.
So this weekend I watched a child that I can remember not being able to hold her head up or even roll herself over jump around on a bounce house at her birthday party without a care in the world. To see such youth is invigorating and rejuvenating.
As I watched her jump I felt all of my fears about my own health and mortality melt away. So much energy, so much freedom. So moved was I that naturally I climbed in there with her, in essence giving the finger to the dumb feelings trying to make me think I’m older. It was great.
And, just as soon as I can take this heating pad off my back, turn my head again, and stop taking non-asprin pain relievers I will have recovered from that moment of youthful folly and recognize that sometimes it’s okay to take it easy and that getting older isn’t necessarily all bad. In fact, there is a certain wizening that goes with aging. I’ve learned, for example, that one should always choose doctors with freakishly small yet agile fingers and that the phrase “this may be uncomfortable” means something entirely different to a medical professional than it does to my young mind.