Not like one of these

Hello, I am 45 years old. I hurt my ankle three months ago, and it’s still not completely well. The stupid part is, I hurt it doing nothing whatsoever. It just randomly swells up from time to time, and then I have to ice and rest and medicate before I can hobble around; and it will probably never be completely fine again.

Sometimes I forget how to sleep; and there are two pills I must take every day if I wish to live. Little bits of my teeth fall off every once in a while; my digestive system is ridiculous; and my eyebrows are slowly disappearing.

I am, in short, starting to get old. Not terribly old. I haven’t lost my marbles yet, and I go running several times a week. Not that you asked, but I could probably even still get pregnant if I really wanted to (which I do not).

I’m reasonably energetic and capable, more or less. But 45 years are certainly enough to cast a faint but undeniable shadow over my days. I am, as they say, over the hill. There’s lots left to do, and I intend to do it, but I can’t deny I’ll be doing it on a downward slide.

I was grumbling about this state of affairs not long ago, and a reader chided me for my fear and weakness. She said that she was not afraid of getting old. She knew that old age led to death and death was the door to Christ! And she loved Christ! So what was there to fear?

What indeed! She wasn’t wrong. But she was, as I suspected, 22 years old. That is why she had no fear of getting old: Because she was young. I wasn’t afraid of getting old, either, when I was in my 20’s, because I was in my 20’s. Nothing easier than bravely facing something you’re not actually facing.

Read the rest of my latest for The Catholic Weekly


Image: Illustration from “A natural system of elocution and oratory : founded on an analysis of human constitution, considered in its three-fold nature–mental, physiological and expressional” (1886)From via Flickr 

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3 thoughts on “Not like one of these”

  1. Wow, are you me? That physical description fits me to a T. Except in my case it’s my elbow, not my ankle, and I only need one pill to survive. But all the rest just as written. Mildly comforting to know I’m not the only one whose teeth are doing that. I’ve chipped a tooth eating Ikea’s Swedish meatballs, and I totally broke a whole tooth beyond repair on a piece of artisanal stone-ground wheat bread at a fancy restaurant a while back. I wangled one free drink out of it, but it didn’t seem like a great trade-off, given the price of crowns. Another (very shallow) thing you don’t mention, that bugs me personally: my hair color has always been my favorite thing about my appearance, and its days are clearly numbered. Alas!

  2. . . . when I am sighing and glaring at my husband and wondering why he doesn’t x, y, or z while he’s stuck here at home (even though I don’t manage to a, b, or c)

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