I turn 34 on Wednesday, and frankly that sucks.
It sucks for a number of reasons, chief among them is that I’m now too far on the wrong side of my 20s to have “fun” in any adolescent sense. “Fun” on this side of 30 is the local Saturday farmer’s market and a few beers at my neighborhood dive to shut down the workday.
I turn 34 on Wednesday, and basically everything in my body hurts. Especially in the mornings. My left foot/ankle don’t really work properly anymore, probably due to years of running track, which requires one to turn left at high speed every 100 meters. It doesn’t really matter the reason why, though, that my left foot kills me every morning, and I’m more or less okay with it.
My back hurts. My dad — bless him — slipped a disk some years ago, and as a teenager I couldn’t fully fathom the agony he went through every day. But I do know that my back fucking hurts, now today, along with my left foot and oftentimes my hips and shoulders.
I turn 34 on Wednesday, and I just ache. All over.
This, I gather, is what aging looks and feels like. Those of us who have been here before will constantly tell younger generations that everything falls off after 30 or so, and as a younger person I never really listened to that advice. And why should I? I was a healthy teenager. 30 was way out there in the future, never to arrive, and even if it did, it’d never be so bad for me.
And now here I am, and my back hurts. I’ll be 34 on Wednesday, and there’s no real turning back from this point. Aging means that you don’t heal right, if at all. Aging means you ache in weird places every morning without ever really recognizing why. I’m not even a parent, and I can’t imagine what aging as a father would even feel like. I imagine it’s mighty destructive, and dad, if you’re reading this blog, I’m so incredibly sorry for the physical pain I inflicted on you.
Your RCR guide to aging, then.
We don’t actually have one, here, other than: do all the right things. Exercise, stretch, don’t abuse drugs and alcohol. Read a ton of books. Take up yoga and enroll in free senior classes at your local college. Stay busy.
The immediate shock of realizing you’re growing old — mercy, I’ll be 34 on Wednesday — should serve as a wake-up call, perhaps. There comes a moment in your 30s — say your 34th year — that you realize there’s no going back. You’re just going to always feel this shitty, and that stupid damn foot is always going to ache.
That’s the point and moment at which you need to internally nod to yourself and acknowledge the world’s truth: “I’m old as hell.” Then shrug and take an Aspirin.