I’m at an awkward age again! Half a century ago, I survived the painful transition from teenager to young adult, an awkward age I had been warned about. But I never realized that there would be more times when my body felt like it didn’t belong to me!
This current awkward age I am experiencing is difficult to explain, let alone live through. The calender, my hair color, and my knees and my thumbs all tell me I am old. The calendar doesn’t lie, of course. I could change the color of my hair, but that would only hide the truth. My knees are unpredictable: sometimes they will hold me up, sometimes they won’t and my thumbs have trouble grasping anything. And, all too frequently, all four joints hurt. I’m adding wrinkles on my face (and in other body areas!) and age spots are "bustin’ out all over." My balance is no longer steady, and occasionally I’m surprised to find myself on the ground. I’ve fallen because my coordination has been replaced by the lack of it!
When I look in the mirror, I barely recognize myself! Who is that aged creature staring back at me? I struggle to accept the image in that mirror as being me. That’s because, inside that aching and wrinkled old body, there lives a joyful and carefree little girl. That child still likes to run, jump, turn cartwheels and somersaults. But the body in which she is imprisoned can’t do those things anymore. "It must belong to somebody else," she concludes sadly.
What is the answer to my chronological dilemma? How can I cope with this awkward age of being a young self in an old body? Perhaps the solution is to learn how to act old, out of respect for my body. Maybe I should practice walking slowly; trade in my bicycle for a rocking chair; begin using large print reading material; learn how to use a cane; learn the fine art of grouchiness; and refuse to try anything new, greeting all changes with a skeptical "Bah! Humbug!"
That might satisfy the needs of my body, make me more comfortable and keep me up off the ground. But what would it do to that happy little inner child? Surely she would quit laughing, joking, trying to learn new skills and experience new challenges. It wouldn’t be long until she would shrivel up and die!
‘Learning to act old’ might ease the tension of my current awkward age. It could increase the harmony between my body and my self, but it would also remove most of the fun and excitement from my life. I would become old all the way through, both inside and out!
No, thank you, I’m not ready for that yet! I’ll take the painful joints, the graying hair, and the facial wrinkles in order to keep my inner child happy and active! I’ll just stay at this awkward age for as long as possible.
As for my occasional falls, the day will come when I must leave this worn-out body behind and travel on in the hope of getting a new, heavenly one. When I go, the scars on my body from all my falls will make it so much easier for my loved ones to identify my remains! So, even in the midst of an awkward age, there are blessings!
9 Nov 2011 - mshr