Not to be obtuse, but I’m considering that I’m nearing an age where I have to take my age into consideration. I recently read a diary I wrote thirteen years ago that read: “got back from playing basketball and didn’t think ‘I played well’, but thought ‘I played well for being 31’.”
I am now a bit older than 31 – thirteen years older, as I might have mentioned – and still play basketball with (what seems to me at least) a comparable skill level with the requisite tricks, but it that just because we never notice the drop-offs until they’re glaringly obvious?
It has always seemed to me that there’s an incredible change that occurs around 30 or so, when you notice you are no longer “young”. It manifests in some of the following ways:
• you cannot drink alcohol without misery the next day
• a fashion you thought utterly dead from your past has now come back again, and you find it oddly depressing
• injuries heal after a week, not a day
• certain bands are now on the radio that you CANNOT FUCKING STAND
• where once you could sleep on the floor on an adventure, you now require certain creature comforts and medication
• you feel like “it’s about time for it to happen” although you don’t know what “it” is
me at 31: fat, stupid and at Denny’s
You get the idea. Many of these annoyances and perspective-shifts combine to make a good solid depression (or “Saturn returning”, or pre-marriage crisis, etc.) that abates, thankfully, upon getting to the other side.
Physically, at least, it’s a pretty even keel after that disruption – you know what your post-20s body is capable of, you know where to push it, and assuming you keep your shit together, there’s not much you can do at 32 that you can’t do at 45. But then the question is this… when’s the next shift?
Or is there one? Everyone’s different, sure, but is your physical and emotional stamina pretty set, with only slight degradations over time? Or is there that one day at 57 when you open the car door into your shin, gravy pours out, you collapse into thousands of shards, and suddenly you’re in the YMCA kiddie pool doing Old Fartz Yoga?
I desperately want to skydive, but it’s not my age keeping me from doing it, it’s my daughter. I just can’t seem to throw myself out of a plane when she’s counting on me. Most decisions stem from the same tree: I can’t drive like I used to, I can’t create a public nuisance, I can’t fight with cops anymore. As for physical things, my spirit is willing and my flesh is still seemingly strong.
But do any of you, even the younger lurkers amongst you, find yourself unable to do something you used to take for granted?