Exercise, Day 9: Forever Young

January 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm 3 comments

My basement is like a deep freeze today, thanks to the winter storm that hit us last night.  Actually, it turned out to be far less an actual ‘storm’ and more a ‘disappointing drizzle’, since at least 3 of the predicted inches of snow have failed to manifest themselves on our lawns and streets.  Oh well.  The temperatures, at least, dropped according to plan, so we’re now officially BEHIND in school and I don’t even care.  I don’t want to spend any more time down here than the kids do.  It’s COLD.

Fortunately, walking keeps me warm, so I can still do that.  My fingertips are just going numb as I type while I wait for my body to warm up with the exercise.

I find myself reflecting upon the infamous quote by Tom Lehrer:

“It is a sobering thought that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for three years.”

Conversations with a younger friend of mine lately have had me pondering the various issues connected with age.    He is a younger guy, mid-20s, still figuring out which direction his life should take, and he apparently wishes he could just be older.  Admittedly, I don’t know that I would have guessed that he was as young as he is, but that’s one of the perils (and some might say ‘charms’) of interacting online.  He does say, however, that he’s always been accused of behaving far older than he is.  Whether that was self-congratulation or legitimate ruefulness over the fact that he doesn’t take much enjoyment from the pasttimes of his peers, I don’t know.  As I said: my only interaction with him has been online.

But this whole idea is so ODD to me.  Why would anyone want to be older?   Especially someone at age 25, when there are no more restrictions on you due to age?  I feel like I spend much of my life longing to be young again and debating how to interact with my younger friends without treading that dreaded line into Wannabeism.  It’s not that I don’t appreciate the life I have; I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything, and I’m happy with my life with Andy.   In fact,  I really wouldn’t want to be the person I was at 25 again.  As overjoyed as I was to reconnect with the COEPIS crowd, I am all too (painfully) aware of just how much of a mess I was back then.  I don’t think I made a single good decision, honestly.  I lacked confidence, I barely knew how to take care of myself, I dated people for the wrong reasons, I was incapable of taking a step back and looking at my future with any sort of practicality.   I’m not saying I’m a complete winner on all of these fronts NOW, but I hope to be able to say I have achieved the sort of internal grounding that marriage and motherhood and — yes — age tend to afford us.

So I guess it’s not so much that I wish I could go back.  It’s more the sense that if I could be young NOW, I could do it so much better than I did back then.  I could enjoy it more, I could do far fewer stupid things, hurt fewer people, accomplish more overall.  I could conduct myself with more inner security, which is what I know I lacked more than anything.

But alas, no.  Youth is wasted on the young.

Which tends to bring me to the fact that age is part of my bottom-line motivation here as I steam along on my treadmill.  I’ve said as much straight-out, but in clinical terms.  I say, “I’m 35 now.  I could be looking at health problems if I don’t correct this.”  This is true, perhaps, but that’s not really why age 35 concerns me.  What really concerns me is the uncomfortable knowledge that before too much longer, I’ll have wrinkles and gray hair and everything else to announce to the world that I’m skating down the far side of life.   I’d like, if possible, to have some time in between my matronly self and the day when that happens so I can maybe feel pretty again before that opportunity is lost to me by the natural ravages of time.

So apparently, at least part of me is trying to look young again before it’s too late.  Great.  I suppose my next logical step should be to go out and get a convertible and a little pink dog and put on too much makeup so I can drive around and wink at 20-something college guys.  Isn’t that what men do when they go a midlife crisis?  (Well, okay..maybe without the makeup and the little pink dog…and genders switched appropriately.. Oh, you know what I mean!) I should insist on a pool so we can hire the pool boy Andy always teases me about.  Paco the Pool Boy.  Or…OH! I know!  I’ll get a ton of plastic surgery done and then brag on a Bowflex commercial that I’m a 50-year-old grandmother and I’m still being asked out by 20-something guys.  Yes, that’s totally what I’ll do!

No.  That is not what I will do.  In truth, I do not know what my goal is here, other than to not be ashamed of how I look anymore.  I really will be satisfied with that.  I don’t need a Bowflex body,  I don’t want to fool anyone into thinking I’m 22.  Gah, can you imagine?  How would I explain my four children if I were passing myself off as 22?   I guess I’d have to go the route Pangie and I talked about once… lead everyone to believe I was actually Andy’s young, arm-candy girlfriend. 😉  I can just imagine the other teachers at Wydown seeing me at one of Andy’s football games with the kids and thinking, “Who is that girl kissing Andy’s cheek?  That’s not his wife!   I’ve seen Andy’s wife, and she looks nothing like that.  But look…all of Andy’s kids are with her!  Oh wow, and they’re calling her Mom!  Oh, poor Jen…she must be devastated!”  I said I’d have to be careful lest one of them be nasty with me out of loyalty to myself. 😉  Wouldn’t that be fun?

Well, it would be nice.  And look, I’ve now walked for 200 minutes!  It’s really amazing to me how fast the time can go when I’m thinking hard and busy.  Supposedly Dr. Daugiridas and his crowd walk an average of six hours a day using their treadmill desks.  They just walk while working and all.  I did that tonight, actually, because Zion’s website is down and the issue is clearly database corruption at the provider.   I called them up while I was walking, and it was no problem to talk and walk at the same time.  In fact, walking probably kept me from getting short with the guy; somehow the action of walking kept me from getting impatient and snappish.  Not that it did much good, but still.

Anyway…200 minutes/6.665 miles is plenty for one day.  I’m off.


Entry filed under: Exercise, Successes. Tags: , , , , , .

Exercise+, Day 8: Got to admit, it’s getting better… Exercise, Day 10: Noteworthy things


  • 1. Amanda  |  January 28, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    I am all too (painfully) aware of just how much of a mess I was back then. I don’t think I made a single good decision, honestly. I lacked confidence, I barely knew how to take care of myself, I dated people for the wrong reasons, I was incapable of taking a step back and looking at my future with any sort of practicality. I’m not saying I’m a complete winner on all of these fronts NOW, but I hope to be able to say I have achieved the sort of internal grounding that marriage and motherhood and — yes — age tend to afford us.

    Yes, exactly. You answered your own question as to why people want to age.. at least in my mind. Because with age comes (hopefully) wisdom, grounding, confidence, planning, etc. Ever since I was very young I have wanted to be older. I wanted a family, a house, a marriage, stability but mostly knowledge and wisdom. I admired those older than me.

    I haven’t very often been mistaken for being older, mostly because one look at me throws that misconception right out the window. But people do often comment about how I just ‘seem old’ or have an ‘old soul’ or what have you. And here I always thought I had a childlike soul. Eh. When I was younger I got along with two groups, those much, much younger than me or those much, much older. I typically wasn’t into the same thing my peers were. I was either into ‘childish’ stuff or adult stuff.

    I have thought a lot about aging, too. Especially now that I am 26. I have finally reached the stage that I have always wanted. I am getting married, buying a house and motherhood is a prospect just around the corner. This is it. This is what I’ve wanted all my life, right? And I am finally getting along with my peers. I’ve bent my idea of a ‘good time’ to some degree (ie, I now will go out and drink as long as it is with good company) so that helps. But I still find myself attracted to and spending time with those much, much older than me.

    I very often find myself in rooms of women when I am the youngest by decades. I often find myself finding and befriending ladies in their 50s or higher. I want to be friends with them because they seem to possess such wisdom, such experience, such understanding of the world and how it works and that’s why I long to grow old.

    I think growing old is beautiful and wonderful!! The only thing that scares me about growing old is that it is one year closer to dying of old age. I know that anyone can die tomorrow from anything but one thing is for sure, at the end, everyone dies and so by aging, I have less time left and that TERRIFIES me. I am scared of death.. but I love old age. Hrm.

    I am told I will feel differently when I start looking older. Today I attended a healthfair at a local college. Although I was a presenter and although I introduced myself as a presenter, people kept asking me about my college life. Granted, I am only 26 and college can encompass a wide array of ages, but it’s just that they almost refused to believe I was working a full time job and I had a few people express shock when they found out I am. I am not as young looking as I once was, but to say I look a few years younger than I am is probably still accurate.

    I could be singing a different tune when I am no longer mistaken as youth… that could be it. But as of now, I am absolutely enamoured with those in their silver years as much as I am by children. It’s the inbetweens that I could take or leave, I guess. 😀

  • 2. Jennifer  |  January 28, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    That’s probably the case for you, Amanda..but think in my friend’s case the issue is that he ISN’T suffering from the tribulations of youth. He is markedly level-headed and is not in the least bit interested in the activities in which his peers find most of their enjoyment. I think his attitude is, “If I’m already too old for these people, it would be nice if I were old enough to legitimately hang out with older people.”

    And this is where he boggles me. If I could go back and be my older self in my younger days, I think I could have ruled the world. As it is, it’s taken me until 35 to feel like I have a grip on what’s important and what isn’t, and I feel almost as if it’s too late now to make that knowledge work for me. 😉 That’s quite a bit different from, “I wish I were older so I wasn’t such a mess.”

  • 3. melalvai  |  January 30, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Just out of college, it seemed I was the youngest everywhere I went. I felt patronized by my co-workers. I wasn’t out for wisdom and maturity, but I wanted to be respected.

    I make an effort not to treat people younger than myself that way, now that I’m the same age as more of the people around me.

    I have less respect for my elders now. They were patronizing when I was younger. They don’t deserve the feudal academic powers they wield.

    The night my daughter was born I remember thinking “I’m a mother now. I don’t feel like a mother.” I was 21, but I think my reaction would have been the same at any age.

    When I was, oh, 28 or so, I called my old high school science teacher and asked him when I was going to grow up. I meant it sincerely. Interacting with my advisor was exactly like interacting with some of my high school teachers.

    At age 34, I can’t say I feel like I am grown up. But I don’t really care any more.

    I’m not sure any of that is relevant to the original post. It’s just been rattling around in my head a few days so I commented, to get it out of there. 🙂

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