Twenty Years?

On PBS there is going to be a new program about aging. My favorite quote is from Dick Cavett. He says, “I don’t feel like an old man. I feel like a young man who’s got something wrong with him.” It resonates with me. And Dick’s old. He had his own show before I was born. If he doesn’t ‘feel’ old, is there any hope for me?

My twenty year high school reunion is tonight. The class of 1987 from the Academy of the Holy Angels will meet tonight at Kieran’s Irish Pub. I can’t escape the feeling that I am just acting like someone who is due for their 20 year reunion. But inside, I know I’m not what people think of as an attendee of a 20 year reunion. Why?

Might be because it seems like yesterday that I was on the hot lawn at Holy Angels in my white graduation robe. Like just a little while ago that I was telling myself that my 20 year reunion would be upon me in no time. I was really thinking that. I was thinking that the next 20 years would go by by accident while I was making to-do lists and eating breakfast.

Somehow I thought that knowing in advance would help with the shock. My logic went like this: “Holy shit! I’m graduating! When did that happen? Aren’t I still 7? Or 10? Oh my gosh, they weren’t kidding when they said time would fly by. That means that my twenty year reunion will sneak up on me in the same way. Nope. I see it coming.” I sort of felt like I was pretending to be a graduating, college bound senior, but I intended to keep better pace with my inner me from now on.

Is there a stage where you feel just as old as you are? Once you are done being a kid, I mean.

All you graduating seniors out there, let me tell you something: You will not be prepared for any reunions. The 5 year takes forever to arrive and the 20 year is only minutes after that. Except that in those intervening minutes things happen to you. Things that make you take your eye off the ball. The ball being your 10, 15, 20 year reunion. Yes, Cinderella, you will must keep your eye on the ball you hope to navigate tonight. The fairy godmother of time is sneaky and mean.
And even if you do keep your eye on the ball, by the time it arrives, your ass may have transformed into a 50 pound pumpkin (honky-tonk-badonkadonk meets bibbity-bobbitty booty). Your concave stomach and prominent hip-bones may have retreated under 20 years worth of leftovers.

Just as you walk through the door you may realize that your prancing stallions are back to mousy sedans or minivans. Your spouse may take on a decidedly lizard-like appearance and your kids may or may not develop rat-tails.
Your dainty little feet will have developed cracks, callouses and collapsed arches that make glass slippers everywhere cower and skitter backwards. Your skin may have started to do things you hadn’t anticipated. Like develop age spots, cherry spots and random bumps. And on top of all that, 20 years scrubbing the floors mayb have left you with (check this out) saggy knees. Nobody tells you about saggy knees.

Finding a ball gown that fits and flatters will be an ordeal, but Fairy Godmother will have bestowed upon you the mixed blessing of the return of your favorite teenage fashion to popularity.

It might not sneak up on you if you make sure to think about your impending reunion every day. I’m just kidding. It will still sneak up on you. The best I’ve been able to do is remember that I didn’t love myself enough when I was 7 or 10 or 17 or 25 or 30. Either my boobs were too small, my hair too fine, my skin too fair, my mind too disorganized, my mouth too big, my legs too hairy… It’s always something. It isn’t getting better, but I’m clearly able to see that I’d better love it now, because midnight is always just around the corner. Yikes.

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