or The Slow and Steady Decline, part 2.
When I was in graduate school, my friend Tamara and I attended a job fair at one of the shmancy hotels in Boston. Before heading over we thought we might grab a cup of coffee (and have a couple of smokes) at the dining hall (that tells you how long ago that was). On our way in, I fell. Just out of nowhere took a spill on the steps leading to Bartol Hall.
Funnier than the sight of me falling on the stairs, in a skirt, and ripping my stockings in the process (an expensive commodity for someone on an RD’s salary) was my composed response. I, Queen of Expletives, said “Oh, my goodness! How’d that happen?” Tamara couldn’t stop laughing she was so put off by my not saying What the f**k?! Those months of student teaching at Stoneham High had apparently taught me to control my language in front of students, and I was exercising great restraint even in front of college students who were walking in and out of the dining hall.
Tam and I still laugh about that, and still use the expression “Oh, my goodness. How’d that happen?” to demonstrate disbelief, or when something catches us by surprise, or any other time it remotely applies to the situation. We take poetic license just so we can laugh at it all over again.
Lately I’ve been having a lot of those How’d-That-Happen moments, most of them related to being in my mid-forties. I don’t mean to infer that just getting to be in my mid-forties is a miracle in and of itself, although, come to think of it, there may be a little truth in that. Clearly, I have an angel on my shoulder who co-pilots my life. And I am in the company of many with similar good fortune. (I think our angels are all friends, too.) What I mean is that one minute Friday afternoons brought on a Woo Hoo! and were celebrated in groups, with cocktails. The next minute Friday happy hours are spent supine on the couch, with bed time following close behind.
Deanna and I, in our weekly Sunday phone calls, share changes we’ve noticed in ourselves, like our hair having less body (foil highlights no longer providing that extra texture for long), and wonder aloud if they are related to being perimenopausal. When we share the same (dare I say) symptoms, we figure they must be. On our girls’ weekend in Vermont, there were three different versions of a daily pill case. Weren’t those only for old people? I have been in the company of friends as they experience hot flashes and am bracing myself for my first, wishing my friends the good grace of their angels getting them out of the way. Clearly, it’s not going to pretty. (Remember, I don’t blow dry my hair all summer because it’s too hot. Even in air conditioning.)
A year to a teenager can be interminable, especially if the prom is at the end of it. Time stands still during a 30 minute detention or a week of being grounded. They are incredulous [insert image of eye roll here and thought-bubble filled with “yeah right”] when grown-ups around them say “time flies!”
It was a lifetime ago that I was one of those teenagers. Now I’m a grown-up who knows that not only does time fly, but “the older you get, the faster time flies.” Now, could you pass me the Tums?