How do you know for certain you are "getting old"? What is "getting old" anyways? And when is "getting old" something you constantly use as an excuse for every slip in life? These are questions I have been drawn to ponder recently.
Friday night as I was wandering across our yard, a place littered with never ending construction equipment, tools and materials, I failed to notice a wayward fencepost waiting to be placed in it's assigned spot and I tripped over it! I am getting old! I didn't just trip one of those toe tapping trips where you shuffle around and finally regain your poise. I tripped one of those sprawling trips where you hit the ground so hard, you can't breathe for a few minutes. It was one of those trips where you wonder if you should wait for someone to call an ambulance or try to haul yourself up before anyone finds you. It was one of those trips where you forget to check what you may have landed in because you are concentrating on whether or not you still have all your body parts. It was one of those trips where even the cats and puppies pause and pretend they didn't see you, hesitating before crawling all over you to lick and purr and rub the pain away.
So, Friday night I realized that yes - I AM getting old! When I was 10, if I fell like that, I would have gotten up, cried a lot so my mother would have held me and then gone about my merry way. When I was 20, I would have never even acknowledged that the event occurred. At 30, it would have hurt, but I could have made myself out to be the victim of some evil plot to destroy me or some curse from my boyfriend's ex! Even at 40, I would have recovered more quickly. I think at 40, you fluctuate between escaping the embarrassment and dealing with the pain but still, at 40, you work towards recovery.
At 46, however, you expect to never bounce back from a fall. You don't want sympathy but you want and feel you have earned respect. If you fall and fall hard, your entire family should view you in awe of your ability to get back up. They should honor your capabilities to keep all bones intact. They should revere your stealth ability to keep them from hearing you hit the ground. Yes, you are getting old and it hurts more, it may even cause you trouble in walking, but you made it! Another thing I am learning is that old age gives me the right to divert responsibility. As I walked into the house, covered in muddy puppy tracks, slobber, ground mud and all in disarray, I had every right to declare quite loudly "all right-what moron did not put the fence post up - you just nearly killed me!" This could have been handled yet another way. Had I not been so challenged at staying upright after this traumatic event, I COULD have picked up the post, carried it in with me and gone about beating the guilty hus...party senseless with it for his inability to realize he had left a hazardous trap for me later on or perhaps used it to carve a nice groove into his truck as a reminder that all fence posts should be kept in place. But, those last two options are evil and I am not an evil person, just an old person. SO, I opted with the moron statement.
Sadly, the rest of the family refused to acknowledge that I am getting old and instead of acting with reverence towards the situation, they found comedy in pointing out the many track marks and muddy marks about my clothing that clearly evidenced the violence with which I hit the ground. Fortunately for them, I do love them and I truly was able to see the comedy myself. Of course, it was a good 20 minutes after the fall that I even entered the premises. Where did they think I was? I'm getting old so they probably thought I forgot which way the house was.
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