Amy Roberts: Young at heart, but a tad older elsewhere
September 19, 2018
Call it youthful ignorance, or maybe defiance. A cavalier approach to life beyond my 20s. Back then, the people warning me about getting old were always so old. My age now, in fact.
They instructed me to use sunscreen. Instead I spent my summers as a lifeguard, and my winters renewing my membership at the tanning salon. My parents never quite understood how we went through so much tinfoil, baby oil and iodine. I coated myself in that stuff.
A decade later there were other warnings I failed to heed. Mostly about my eating habits and how all that snacking and sugar would all catch up to me in my 40s. I shrugged my shoulders in nonchalance. Back then I ran marathons. If I wanted to drop a few pounds, I could basically just avoid bread for one day. I never really believed the "no carb left behind" diet I was chronically on might not be a realistic long-term plan.
I was also told, time and time again, how "things change" when you enter your 40s. I'll avoid details, but women were my informants in these conversations. And yet again, I dismissed the intel. I knew I wasn't having kids, nor did I ever expect trampoline jumping would become a staple of my daily life, so surely I would be immune to these concerns.
As it turns out, none of these people were lying to me. And while there’s no preventing the march of time, I now wish I had at least paid attention to its stomping progression.
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As it turns out, none of these people were lying to me. And while there's no preventing the march of time, I now wish I had at least paid attention to its stomping progression.
But I didn't. So the last few weeks I've been darting from one doctor's office to the next — having moles checked along with my vision. I've learned all about the nutritional needs for women my age. My blood pressure, blood sugar and hormone levels have all been tested, among other things. Somewhere in Salt Lake, a lab has made a lot of money off me this month. The testing and the checking comes with its fair share of wasted time sitting on impossibly unwelcoming chairs, next to fish tanks and artificial plants. I've spent so many hours in waiting rooms lately, I have every People Magazine from 2005 through this week memorized. (I was shocked to learn Brad cheated on Jen!)
So far it does not appear my 15-, 25-, and 30-year-old self caused any irreparable damage. Costly corrections yes; but nothing that can't be righted with a few lasers, prescriptions and meeting of my insurance deductible.
Throughout this process I have come to learn there's no such thing as aging gracefully. With better genes, or youthful obedience, or a lot of disposable cash, you can age better than others, and perhaps slow down the process. But suggesting there's grace to be found in it is a wild misnomer. There's nothing particularly graceful about a skin biopsy, blood draw or gravity.
Overall, aging has made me appreciate (if not relate to) comedian Sean Morey's famous stand-up act, in which he explained to a live audience at the Johnny Carson show in the 1980s how life's greatest unfairness is the order in which it happens.
"I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first. Get it out of the way. Then you live for 20 years in an old-age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work for 40 years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You go to college, you do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to high school, you go to grade school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities. You become a little baby, you go back into the womb and you spend your last nine months floating. You finish off as a gleam in someone's eye."
This sounds much more delightful than the way we're currently going about it.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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