I don’t know any of these women, and don’t look like them either, but you know it is only a matter of time. And since I am thinking today about becoming old, I thought I would share all these nice old knitting ladies with you.
We all get older gradually, day by day, so you might think that we would notice it gradually. Such is not the case. I can remember the exact moment (I was at the movies with my husband, our first evening out after #2 daughter was born, watching “Blame It On Rio”) when I realized that my years of being a babe were over. When my children watched an old home movie and asked who that girl was (me, at about 17, and looking essentially the same to myself), I realized that I was not young any more. And when I turned forty and found that I could no longer get up from sitting on the floor in one smooth motion, I noticed that, too.
I haven’t had another such realization since. I don’t seem to have gotten any older at all. I noticed when I became middle aged, and stopped there. I’m not sure how I will suddenly realize when I get old, and I trust I won’t have to do so for another couple of decades, but I’m sure I’ll be surprised when it happens. It sneaks up on you, you see.
Going to the doctor may be part of it. I visit the doctor once a year. Having four kids and thus feeling pretty expert at going to the doctor, I was startled to discover that the experience changes as you get older. The medical staff at least seem to think I am getting older. One year they started wanting blood work. The next year they asked whether I was experiencing signs of menopause. I do not know what the signs are, so I wasn’t very helpful on that, but they have asked each year since. This year the doctor had me do weird pushing and pulling things to make sure I still had normal muscle strength. I am sure that he is accustomed to having people look at him oddly when he begins adding these old-people things into their checkups. It isn’t like well-baby checks, where they tell you the kid should begin smiling at six weeks. No one says, well now that you are 46, you should be getting weaker. Having trouble getting up off the floor at all?
This year I also got ticked off for my triglycerides. Young people have their blood pressure taken, of course, and have blood work done if there is something wrong, but I think you have to be middle-aged before doctors begin to get onto you for your blood numbers. I got ticked off properly, threatened with medication, and told to come back in six months. And next week it will be six months.
I am experiencing mild panic. Will my numbers have improved? If not, will I be right to refuse to take the medication they have threatened me with? And there is another layer here, too. Some people’s triglyceride numbers get better when they change their behavior, as I have, with diet and exercise. Some people’s do not. So, if my numbers have not improved, will it be because I have not been following the recommendations perfectly (oh, Chocolate Nemesis, perhaps you are not really a health food!), or because I am one of the unlucky few? Will I get another six months to try to work toward absolute perfection? Will I get a little leeway because I have been sick and therefore not going to the gym and subsisting mostly on frozen fruit bars? Should I delay by a couple of weeks and be stricter about it, in hopes of getting some last-minute improvement?
And if my numbers have improved, can I slack off, or will it mean that I must continue to strive toward perfection for the rest of my life? A couple of my colleagues, having tried the whole grains and leafy vegetables route for a while, chose to take the medication instead. Will improved numbers be good news for me if it means that I have to listen to #1 son complaining about “goofy food” and my husband saying “I need fat!” for the remainder of my days? Must I eat lentils alone while my family scarfs down pizza and ice cream? Did all these ladies go to the gym regularly, thus ensuring a long knitting life? Are they all really still young and pretty in their minds?