On the advise of my friend, Father Rabbi Frances O’Shaunessy Goldberg, I offer this caveat regarding today’s post. It would probably be rated “R” by the MPAA, so if you are easily offended by “blue” humor, or discussions about the human body I would suggest that you move on to another post. With that said, here we go!
As I have gotten older (not old by any stretch of the imagination despite what my children say) I have noticed a decided change in my physiology. I’m not talking about the medical issues that I am having, but things that are common to all people as they hit that era known as “middle age.”
While I have never been an Adonis, I have had a physique that would have been considered, at least by some, to be pleasant to look at, or at least not repulsive. When I was young, I would have been thought of as fat, and would probably have been a poster child for Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move program. Through the grace of God and a massive growth spurt in high school I went from fat to “pudgy.”
My professional career forced me to take a more active role in maintaining my physical fitness, and I would run several times a week, lift weights, cycle and generally try to maintain some sort of physical well-being. Along the way I was able to develop strong and muscular arms and legs, and a fairly toned upper body. While never being marathoner, I could normally catch some low life within the first fifty yards or so of a chase, unless they were wearing felony flyers and were on the track team.
But then came my fortieth birthday, and I began to notice some unprecedented changes. Changes that NO ONE warned me about as I grew older. I started to develop wisps of gray hair on my head and in my mustache. That I knew would happen, but it was the other gray hair that surprised me.
During one of my morning showers I discovered that gray hair grows everywhere on the human body. It came as a shock, and like a vain women, I plucked the grays from their resting place. Only problem was, that as the years progressed, the gray persisted. It took nearly a half-dozen years to make peace with these invaders.
Then came the changes in muscle tone and physique. While never having had “six-pack abs” I started to develop what one could call “two liter” abs. I guess that’s better than having the “keg” look, but it was still distressing. Over time my body decided to shift some of its attributes again, and now I have what could be called the “furniture look.” That’s where the chest done fell into the drawers.
I have heard many women complain about how gravity has taken hold of their bodies, and parts that, once pert and perky, were now pointing south. Instead of buying a 36 B, they’re forced to buy a 36 long. Tushes that once stood high and proud have become saddle bags that require “control.” Fear not ladies! Men suffer from similar problems. I personally think that the gravity of the Earth must be increasing, how else do you explain the fact that, as a man ages, a portion of his most favorite part start to associate with his knees? I think that is why so many men in their 70’s and 80’s wear socks pulled up to their knees, it is to tuck other parts in.
Along with the changes in physicality came changes internally. Cold pizza and warm beer no longer made for the perfect breakfast, and 2AM runs to White Castles, while once the perfect late night treat, became a debate as to whether I was having a heart or GERD attack.
Things that I once could do all night (wink, wink) now seem to take all night to do. The upside is that it does bring about a certain level of patience and attentiveness to another’s needs/wants. But it does make things exhausting, but in a good way.
The gray hair was not the only surprise I had. It was WHERE hair started to grow that really took me aback. Places that once were as barren of hair as a desert is barren of grass became forests. My eyebrows took on a life of their own, and I started to look like the late Senator Sam Ervin, with brows growing as if they had been doused with Miracle Grow. Ears sprouted hair like weeds on a driveway, and yet the hair on my head decided to make a bee line for my behind. While I don’t have the “cul-de-sac” look on my head, my forehead has been growing by leaps and bounds.
Now that I have passed the 50 milestone, I have discovered that the mail, both “e” and snail have taken a decided turn. Once upon a time I would get snail mail offering three months free of Playboy, now I get several offers a week to join AARP. E-mails that once offered links to “hot babes” now offer cheap Cialis and Viagra.
My arms have gotten shorter, requiring the need of an extra pair of glasses or lines on my regular ones. Music that I once blasted on the radio is starting to sound to damned loud coming from someone else’s car. I’m starting to get ticked when someone wanders on to the lawn, and heaven help the dog that keeps crapping in my front yard.
Growing older is not easy. It takes patience. It takes fortitude. It takes realizing the other option ain’t so great. But on the upside of aging I have discovered that Jimmy Buffett was right in his song Growing Older But Not Up. I may be aging physically, but I like to think that, to some point, I’m still a kid at heart.