So, I’m technically two years and ten days away from turning 50. But because I’m obsessive-compulsive, I like to create unnecessary anxiety well ahead of an event.
Even though my half-century marker is a couple of years in the future, I’ve lately noticed changes to my body. Many of these changes started sometime ago, even in my thirties, yet the attention they now demand suggests a maniacal egocentricity. It’s as if my body was no longer mine, but now belongs to this list of nagging contortions:
1. Everything hurts. Well, not everything. That would be exaggerating. Let me be more specific. My joints hurt. I have arthritis in knee and hip, carpel tunnel in my wrist, and tendonitis in my elbow. My arm will go numb if I hold the phone in the same position for too long. (How would I have ever made it through college with this malady?) Sometimes my ear even hurts. Is that a joint?
2. My hair is thinning. Yes, this is common among men as young as twenty. But I am a woman. No one’s ever heard of the bald advertising icon Mrs. Clean.
3. My weight is shifting. My lbs. haven’t changed, in fact I’ve lost weight, but my skinny jeans (which are four sizes bigger than the ones I wore in my twenties) do not fit. The weight has moved, like a living thing, from my butt to my belly. This is largely unfortunate because bootays are considered hot by many people, yet looking like a pregnant grandmother is not.
4. My neck resembles Turkey Tom (make that two Turkey Toms, one per waddle).
6. I am suddenly unable to read menus in dimly lit restaurants.
7. Flashing. Hot rushes of fireballs. Oozing through every pore. And, then, not. Cold, freezing even.
I’ve told my parents about a few of these changes (losing hair, lousy near-sightedness). And they – my dad with his Coke bottle lenses and my mom with her few strands of hair – just laugh. “You have no idea what more is to come.”