Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Early bird special
I was hit with some “Oh my gosh, I am old” moments this month. There is small comfort in knowing I am in good company.
I was talking with someone about watching fireworks as part of the Fourth of July celebration. I volunteered to work the last shift of the evening, selling beer and wine tickets, and asked my friend to join me. The shift ended when the fireworks were set to go off — around 9:30 that evening.
“9:30? That’s so late,” she complained.
“Yeah, but they do have to wait for it to get dark,” I responded.
“I hate driving after dark. I can’t see anymore,” she said. “And it will be so late.”
The “it’s too late for me” scenario happened again the following weekend. While attending a local music festival, I realized the band I was most interested in seeing, was the last to perform that evening, scheduled to take the stage after 9 p.m.
We had been there for several hours, but it was a Friday night. Friday nights used to begin at 9 o’clock or later. When I was in my 20s and working in a nightclub, it was the starting time of my shift. But now, decades away from 20-something, my fellow festivalgoers balked at the late hour.
“I am happy to leave you here,“ my friend offered.
I considered it. I looked around at others I knew would be staying and decided to stick with my ride. Partially because I did not want to be alone and partly because I knew it would be late when the concert ended.
I was home at 8:30 p.m., disappointed in myself. When did I become “those people” who go out early and go home early? Where was my sense of adventure?
This mental shift snuck up on me. I am just getting used to the physical signs of aging, and now this?
I watch my spouse who, born several years before me, is leading the charge and while there are small victories, I realize there is no winning the war. He fights the aging process with zeal.
He watches his diet. He runs. He coaches high school football. He plays golf. He is also ready for bed at the bewitching hour (which is, apparently, around 9 p.m.). He is in great physical condition. But try to get him to attend a social event that begins after dark? Yeah, right.
Certainly, there is no denying my body has taken a turn for the aged.
While at the music festival, my friends and I were asked for identification before being allowed to buy adult beverages. Apparently, they were not taking any chances.
“Just look at my hands,” my friend exclaimed. “That’s what I do. No need to look at our face, if you are wondering if we are old enough, the hands are a dead give-away.”
I looked down and realized my skin is thinning, my veins are more prominent and yes, those brown spots have surfaced.
Okay, so my hands are showing wear. I have written about this before. But the pace of the process is astonishing. One day I was thinking, “not bad,” and the next it was, “Holy crap, when did that happen?”
I took inventory of some other areas and felt completely betrayed.
Unlike many of my circle, I have never used fillers to reduce wrinkles and I think I am doing OK, but there is no denying the neck. I compare mine to an elephant’s foot. Google the image for yourself and you will see what I mean.
Deep creases that defy direction and extra skin with no place to go. The only smooth parts are those that I can only assume used to be my chin!
Gravity also wreaks havoc on the aging body. I will not even go into the depressing war my bosom is losing to the force. A complete surrender is imminent. I am looking into a pulley system to get me through the next decade.
I could continue, moving my way south, but that is not the point, “cankles” be damned! Suffice it to say I reluctantly accept the unavoidable demise of the condition of the human body.
Young at heart
My real struggle is with the mental game that is taking place. While I used to guffaw at the idea of an early bird special, I now admit a common date with my husband is a bite to eat after a matinee, ensuring we are home before sunset.
What is it about the human condition that pulls us toward the abode, when we have so relatively little time left to experience living?
I am declaring war on my aging mind — or more accurately, my mindset! Understandably, there is a slowing down process taking place, but slowing down does not have to mean stopping altogether.
I can make it to evening meetings, dinners, concerts, and an occasional party or two.
Throwing caution to the wind I am making plans to attend a rock concert this weekend — outside — after dark!
As poet Dylan Thomas wrote, “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
My body may be saying “no” but my mind is still yelling, “Go. Go. Go.”
Those flapping arms, kicking and screaming will be me.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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