As I contemplate another orbit around the sun, cake and candles and blowing on tap for next week, one year older is on my mind. Aging shows itself in odd and unexpected ways. Like the small knot that sat in my stomach most of yesterday afternoon and evening, the results of a crunchy big salad at lunch. At age 8 and 15 and 25, I paid no mind to digesting raw vegetables or dairy. In inaugural drinking years (also known as college), I imbibed without concern of mixing beverages from the fruit family, hops and grains, clear and dark liquors; a large helping of pancakes wet with real butter or weighty cheese-and-chili-fries at Denny’s before sleep, then a quick chaser of fountain Coke in the morning, put me right the next day. Now that extra dirty or third glass of red leaves me fuzzy around the edges.
Last night, I played for hours at a private party held at Denver’s downtown amusement park (think Six Flags smack dab in the middle of tall buildings and rail yards, Interstate 25 busily humming alongside). Private party meant no lines and little waiting; we rat-mazed quickly through metal handrails and endless steps. We rode four roller coasters in a row, in less than thirty minutes, even stayed a couple of times for a double-go-round. I’ll take on anything that spins or flips or rolls and dips. I enjoy being suspended stories up and held entirely upside down, thrown about and manhandled by centrifugal force.
I woke up this morning sore. My neck aches from side-to-side slamming, biceps stiff from hanging on so tight; feet swollen from sandals absolutely inappropriate for this type of adult playground (then again, I never choose appropriate shoes, my only lace ups are those worn to the gym).
Aging is physical, flying squirrel-bat-wing flaps of under arm flesh and nipples requiring adjustment to an up and outward stance. The littlest and biggest toenails changing shades, taking on a yellowy hue. Gravity versus a ball sack. The gray creeps in my part every four weeks, as does the occasional budding of silvery southern stubble (luckily that pasture is strictly maintained and mowed). I’m somewhat wrinkle free after teen years spent in the shade or under a thick layer of SPF 50 to protect fair and freckled skin while other basted in baby oil. Been mostly spared deep lines and birds feet. Kicking the nicotine habit a decade ago helped saved my face, as does a daily intake of loads and loads of water (my motto? "Pee Clear").
Aging is emotional and intellectual, wisdom culled from years of lessons learned, showing in self-love and awareness and better orgasms. Bigger paychecks. Saying “no” (sometimes “fuck no”) and meaning it. Loving me more, allowing the inner bitch out when needed and feeling perfectly suited wearing her stiletto heels and cherry lips.
For all its turns and flips and bad behavior and broken hearts, I love the roller coaster.
“When I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride! I always wanted to go again, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.”