What Does Getting Old Feel Like?
We are all getting older. Every day.
I am getting old.
As I type this, I feel old today. I don’t feel like I have a lot of spring in my step this afternoon. My mind and body are both very tired. Not in the ‘I didn’t get enough sleep way’, but in the ‘I’m exhausted in my soul’ way. Maybe it’s better described in the ‘I feel like I’ve been through a lot and just need to rest for a while’ kind of way.
But that’s today. The other day, I was surprised at what made me realize I’m getting old.
It is not the white streaks I have along my temples. I received a compliment on those the last time I had my hair cut. Before they had turned into streaks, so a good 5 years ago, they were sparse and hardly noticeable. In the summer, my hair tends to lighten up and then it just looked like some excellent highlighting. That was 5, maybe 6, years ago.
A few months ago, the streaks seemed to come out of nowhere. I pulled my hair up in a ponytail and turned to walk out of the bathroom. It was almost like a flash of light in the corner of my eye! I did a double-take and noticed I had suddenly gone from sparse whites to full-on Frankenstein’s Bride style.
Apologizes for the blurry picture! My hair is brown, by the way. . .
At first, I was VERY unhappy about this development. When I first started getting some white hair, I had decided to go the natural route and just let my hair be. No dye here. Then the great white streaking happened, and I SERIOUSLY contemplated covering them up. I booked an appointment for a haircut shortly after I noticed them, and that’s when I received the compliment. My hairstylist told me she absolutely loved how my whites blended in and created a cool effect around my temples.
Well, I obviously am cool now. So, streaks of white it is.
Except, getting white hair is almost a rite of passage to getting old. We all know it will inevitably happen. Unless you’re an exceptional goddess of nature. Then, I don’t know what to tell you. So that’s why my change in hair color didn’t surprise me.
It also wasn’t the wrinkles all over my face. I’ve had laugh lines around my eyes forever. I’d like to think it’s because I’ve been a very happy person and had a lot of reasons to laugh over the last few decades. I’m not overly excited at the cavernous depths they’ve reached, but I’ve always been a firm believer that wrinkles tell the story of our lives.
The surprise came during a walk with my son. During this walk, I was telling him about a position I applied for and told him to cross his fingers for me. I went to cross my fingers to demonstrate, AND I COULDN’T. I had to use my other hand to get my middle finger over my pointer. The flexibility of my fingers had vanished somewhere along my life path.
A few days later, I was sitting in a chair writing and noticed I was slouched over. So, I sat up straight. As I did, my back made crackling sounds all along the spine and I felt like I couldn’t straighten out as well as I used to.
Lastly, my husband and I decided to try to bend and reach our toes. Once upon a time, and I’m talking maybe a few months ago, I could do this with no problem. I BARELY made it past my knees.
What does it feel like to get older?
It feels inflexible and surprising.
What about you? What has gotten older felt like for you? Was it a moment that caught you off guard? Or have you been keenly aware this whole time? I’d love to hear your answer in the comments below.