It was 13 years ago that I first uttered a variation of a phrase I use. I said, “Mind’s 18, body’s 32” when I returned to the softball field after many years away, having bolted out of the batter’s box upon hitting the ball. Why did I say it? Because my instincts kicked in to burst into a sprint to first base, but the 32-year-old quad of my left leg wasn’t so game. Ripppp.
See, my cocky little self didn’t understand the value of warming up as someone in their right mind in their fourth decade of life should. Well, battling that tear all season, I became a devout convert to running warm-ups prior to game time. In my mind, I was still 18. But my body had—and has—other ideas.
My soon-to-be 87-year-old mom has uttered the phrase “growing old isn’t for wimps” many times over the last several years. As she is battling her current and most significant health challenge, I know she did not reach this age by being a weenie. I hope that some of those genes are coursing through my body. So far, I think I’m heading in that direction, which is good because I apparently am a slow learner regarding the brain/body connection.
My latest time to use the aforementioned phrase was a few months ago…except this time it went, “Mind’s 18, body’s 45.” And this time it was a soccer field. And a kids vs parents game. I instinctually tried this sweet roundhouse kick move only to hear my knee pop. It felt like everything below my knee was glass and just shattered down to my toes.
As I crumpled to the ground, my husband looked over to me and asked if I was okay. “Uh…I think I’m done for the game.” I was pretty certain it would not be a good idea for me to shake it off and get back in there. Of course, all the rest of the parents immediately shifted their playing into low gear, intent on keeping the body count at one.
Long story not so long, I recently had knee surgery to take care of the damage that was caused when a 45yo woman tried to kick a soccer ball in midair while playing her son’s 8-9yo team.
I know, I know. That’s my point. My brain has not caught up to the idea that I’m getting old. Until now. I think. Within a month and a half I’ve had my gallbladder out and my knee “cleaned up.” I’ve definitely been feeling my age—and I think I may be feeling other people’s age, too—like I’m just gathering up years to heap on my mind so that it doesn’t pull this crap again.
Only, I don’t want to.
Even though I’ve been hobbling around and wincing or in pain for one reason or another for the last several months, I’m just not ready to throw in the towel and act my age. It’s just that it’s getting harder to ignore.
Thankfully, I’m a hardhead with strong instincts. After all, mind over matter, right? And maybe I will continue to use this phrase until, Lord willing, I’m an octogenarian like my mom, and I’ll be saying, “Mind’s 18, body’s 87.” Of course, at that point I may be in a full body cast, but deep down inside there will be a part of me that is smiling, knowing that the towel hasn’t been thrown in but is still in my corner, right where it belongs.