CATEGORY: COL Columns (Journal)



While sitting in a physician’s waiting room recently, I read an article that said people, in general, begin experiencing the aches and pains of aging some time between their mid to late 30s. I would have made a perfect case study for this article. In fact, in the midst of reading about people’s bodies falling apart, I had to shift my weight around in the chair every so often to take pressure off my lower lumbar.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that 35, my age come June, isn’t old by any means. But, with the onslaught of a few crow’s feet and more salt than pepper in my hair, the term “spring chicken” no longer applies to me. In fact, my joints could use a good lube job every once in a while.

Aging comes on subtly, beginning with a few gray hairs or those dark spots that appear on the hands and face. For the longest, I remained undaunted as long as I could buy foundation makeup and Passionate Brunette by Clairol. But then there are those situations that cannot be masked with color, like when you walk into a room with purpose and then wonder why you’re there, or when you see people you’ve known for years – like, say your mother – but have to run down the letters of the alphabet in order to recall their names.

I once prided myself on remembering appointments without the use of a date book. Now I have to tape notes on doors, mirrors and on the car’s sunshade because I’ve misplaced the book. Which brings up another sure sign of aging – lost items.

Not long ago, I caught myself putting a gallon of milk on a cupboard shelf and a cereal box in the refrigerator. I can’t, for the life of me, locate a pair of blue slacks I recently washed and ironed. And somewhere in this house is a birthday gift I bought for my mother and put away. Her birthday was in September and I sent her a card explaining that, as soon as I found it, the gift would follow. During the futile search for the missing gift, however, I finally found the box of stationery I bought months ago, table coasters intended for newlyweds now well into their second year, and the set of keys to a trunk that holds turtlenecks and sweaters. A lot of good they do me now.

Usually, folks experiencing early senility can justify their way out of any situation. I conveniently use my husband and 3-year-old as scapegoats. If something comes up missing, it’s Glenn’s fault, although I know deep inside he couldn’t have misplaced my good pair of taupe hose. My son comes in handy when I’ve placed a call, and, after hearing, “Hello, ” sit there in silence because I can’t remember who or why I’ve called. I stutter and stammer, explaining that my very active 3-year-old is underfoot and distracting my attention, when, in fact, he is quietly playing with his Legos in the next room.

Worst of all, I now must contend with a strained gluteus maximus, which are nice words for the large rump muscles. How this happened, I have no earthly idea. I mean, how can you possibly pull anything when the most strenuous thing you’ve done all year is open the refrigerator to get a box of Cap’n Crunch?

Mary Farrell Thomas writes a weekly column for the Daily Journal.

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