Friday, May 1, 2015

old has moved in and i didn't even know it

The day after I turned 35, I flew to San Francisco to meet my sister and her family for a weekend of fun. It all felt very carefree. I wore skinny gray jeans and nude flats. I took only my cross-body bag and a small rolling carry-on. Getting to the airport was a short walk, a metro-ride, then a bus to LAX, during which I read poetry and ate chocolate. The Virgin America terminal played pop music and was peopled mostly by young professionals in nice clothing, probably heading home after a day in LA for business. In San Francisco, I hopped on the air tram to the Bart and watched the late evening sun set over the low, brown northern California hills. I walked from the Bart station to my hotel in the Financial district, walking slow to take in the lights and warm air, needing only my denim jacket to keep me warm enough.

Somewhere in the journey, I had the though, Isn't this great? Young and uninhibited, free to whatever I want, my only burden for the weekend something I can easily just wheel from behind.

But then it hit me. I am not young.

Something about my situation, my un-attached-ness, maybe my clothes and accessories, too, and the book in my hand and my indulgence in chocolate and my company, made me feel young. And yet, I have gray hair. Weight is settling around my hips and butt (I mean, it always has, but this is something new). You don't have to look as close to see wrinkles or skin spots. Soon, if not already, I will be the not-so-young person (the old person?) taking public transportation either because she can't afford her own car or taxi to the airport, or because she is liberal and slightly hippie-ish and believes public transportation for the environment's sake. I will not be wearing nude flats but instead shoes that look a little clunky and better support my aching, blistered feet.

It's not that the thought of growing old has ever really bothered me. It's just that, in a lot of ways, I don't feel old. Or, maybe it's that the feeling of old has crept up on me, silently moved into my body over a number of days and months - leaving its toothbrush one night, making space in my underwear drawer a week later, like a live-in paramour afraid to have the conversation with me. Now, it's around all the time, and I never got to have a say in whether I wanted that kind of relationship.

Do I ask him to leave? Put his belongings in a box? Too late for all of that.

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