The sun was shining through the blinds and shades in the bedroom. It had been beautiful yesterday. Today promised to be another bright, sunny day.
I opened the window. The softness of the air confirmed it. Usually, I go back to bed and listen to a book for a while before really engaging in life, but today I was thinking about writing.
I was feeling young. My bones didn’t ache. I was thinner than I’d been for a few years. Over the past 14 months, I’ve lost 14 pounds. I wasn’t on a diet. In fact, I was on an anti diet. I ate more food than I had been eating and when I increased my calorie input, the weight started to fall off. You know all those articles that point out that if you are constantly on a diet, your body thinks you are starving and hoards its fat? Well, I’m here to attest that eating more food — not a huge amount more, but more than I had been eating — convinced my body to drop a few spare pounds.
During lockdown, my hair grew long. Since that’s the way I like it, other then twiddling with long bangs, I’ve merely trimmed the tips to keep everything from splitting. Losing weight makes me feel young. Blue jeans have become — again — the most comfortable clothing I own. Who’d have imagined that?
I looked in the mirror and there was the same old face. I haven’t gotten younger. Nothing will turn the tide. Note to self: I should take up surfing.
I don’t want to be a kid again. I didn’t like being a kid the first time. I have been noticing a lot of challenges on WordPress involving “remembering.” Many of these are written by people I think of as young, but they are suffering from nostalgia about high school and even before. For me, that was so long ago I really don’t remember most of it and have little motivation to go back and dig up the information.
Also, it just wasn’t that important in the great scheme of my life, though I’m sure it seemed a big deal at the time. It was long ago and far away. I remember a couple of exceptional teachers. One was a Ph.D. physics teacher (me? physics?) and a Linguistics doctorate who couldn’t find a job that paid real money at a university and settled for being a brilliant English teacher. By the time I was done with him, I understood word construction — how English is built — plus some solid basic grammar. Both brilliant high school teachers were PhDs. I’m not sure if that means anything, but they were the only two doctoral teachers at Jamaica High School.
Like all the other kids with whom I more or less hung out (Note: I was never accepted to any group until the college radio station), I’d never been taught grammar in school. We were the “smart kids,” so all of us were supposed to be geniuses who would advance the world with our great knowledge. Except when the annual competitive testing came around — which in New York it did long before it became a national trend — it turned out as a group, we might be ready to launch a rocket but no one could parse a simple English sentence.
I suspect my great donation to human knowledge is this blog.
We did a lot of parsing that year. It was also the year I had Dr. Feiffer teaching physics for the helplessly anti-numeric crowd. We were the kids who got 800 on the verbal part of the SATs and 500 (if we were lucky) on the math section. I was fine with science, but numbers and I didn’t connect. I always wondered if I had better instruction in math, maybe I’d have gotten a grip on it.
Dr. Feiffer was enlisted to teach we literary types some kind of science so we could graduate with the kind of diploma you need for college. He taught the “History of Science.” It was science for the non-scientific and was really a full year spent analyzing Stonehenge. With diagrams. I got hopelessly hooked on archaeology.
I feel young every time I yell “FEW, NOT LESS” at a television announcer and downright youthful and cool when something new and fascinating is discovered about Stonehenge. I feel young because my jeans are too loose. I have to wear a belt to keep them from falling off. Having my pants fall off makes me feel young too, but not in a good way.
I feel young on days when I wash my hair and half of it doesn’t wind up in the drain. I feel young on days like today, when the air is warm and dry, and my bones don’t hurt. When I am able to navigate the stairs and still be breathing when I get to the top.
I feel young until I realize that I can’t get life insurance (Note: They all say “no medical exam required” but if you mention that you’ve had heart surgery and cancer, it’s amazing how much they don’t want to give you insurance). This baffles me. Do people who have not had these issues live forever? The whole point of life insurance is to pay money to your selected beneficiaries when you die. Death is the expectation of “life insurance.” If they called it “death insurance,” it wouldn’t sell nearly as well. This way, we think that by buying it we are insuring our continued life. If only.
Garry is too old to get life insurance. I should be worried about who and how we will be buried since we don’t have burial insurance, but for some reason, I’m not worried. This is one of those issues I’m sure will work out, somehow. I assume we won’t be left to rot. Someone will do the job. We just don’t know who.
I don’t feel old, at least not in my brain. My body sometimes feels ancient, but it hasn’t felt a whole lot better than that for most of my life. My brain is still alive. I find the world hilarious when I’m not weeping over it. I hope to see these bad days disappear and better days come. Then I wonder if I will live that long? I might not.
I currently believe I will live forever because (a) I got vaccinated and am absolutely invulnerable to any and all diseases, and (b) I can’t imagine “not being.” That’s like knowing your memories aren’t real.
Age is not just a number, It’s definitely a number, but that number isn’t the answer to the equation. I’m not sure what the answer is. I guess I’ll know it when I see it. If you get a look at it before I do, give a shout. I’m madly curious.