Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Those Three Little Words

You know it's coming. One day you will hear those three little words. You wait, and you begin to think, "maybe it won't happen to me." But it will, it's only a matter of time. And once you hear them, you know your life has changed, and it will never be the same. One day, someone will say to you, "At your age..."and from then on, almost every conversation you have with a health care professional will begin with those three little words.

At your age, it's normal that your [insert body part] should begin to [sag/weaken/wrinkle].
At your age, you have to expect some [fatigue/limitations/loss].

Even if you are fortunate enough to be in great shape, every health care professional will make sure you know that you're in great shape for your age.

Just as this begins to happen, everyone around you suddenly seems so young. It's not a coincidence. When you were 25, you were a bona fide adult person, weren't you? Of course. But now when you see 25-year olds, they seem like children!

You find yourself looking at people wondering…were you born before Kennedy was shot? Before the first moon landing? Before Watergate? Suddenly doctors and dentists look like toddlers. Mechanics and clerks look like infants. And fast food workers look like great big fetuses. When did they do that? Why did they do that? Aging was painful enough without this.

The first time it happened to me, I was at a dermatologist's office. I was finally ushered into an exam room and while I was waiting for the doctor, a little boy wandered in. I smiled and started to ask if his mommy knew where he was, when he reached out to shake my hand. "Good morning, Ms. K___," he squeaked, "What seems to be the problem today?"

Are you kidding?!? The problem, sonny, is that I have shoes older than you! Well, that's what I wanted to say, but of course, I didn't. At my age, I should know better.

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