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Am I too old for this sh*t?

Lately, I’ve been feeling older than I should. I’m certain it’s due to the creaks and pops my joints make or the involuntary groans that escape my mouth upon any movement. No, seriously. We’ve been doing this “boot camp” at the local YMCA for the past couple of weeks. Tuesday was heavy on the biceps (which I didn’t even know I had in my little bird arms), so here I am 2 days later barely able to lift much of anything. Of course, it doesn’t help my feelings of decrepitude that the Girl, who’s participating in the boot camp with us, can run 5 laps around the overhead track without breaking a sweat while I’m panting at the top of the stairs (i.e., the ones you take just to get to the track). I keep telling myself I could do that at 15 … but that’s been so long ago, I’m not really sure anymore.

Okay, okay, so I’m not really that old. But I heard something on the radio a few weeks ago that has stuck with me … in a bad way. It was the day I got uber-introspective and the DJ was talking about how experts have determined we really do get “too old” to do certain things. Like when you’re too old to suck your thumb. Or sleep in the same bed with your parents. The one that got me was these experts saying you’re too old to “start over” at age 40. The DJ elaborated that this meant switching careers and other major life changes like that.

On the one hand, I just kept picturing Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon series. So, he gets partnered up with the younger crazier cop, played by a mullet-sporting Mel Gibson, and refrains “I’m too old for this sh*t” at various times throughout the movie. At one point in LW2, he’s in the bathroom for his daily constitution and discovers that the commode has been rigged with a pressure-sensitive bomb. Here’s how I remembered he scene: there he is, pants around his ankles, newspaper in one hand, the other wiping beads of sweat from his brow and hoping beyond hope that his a$$ doesn’t blow up. And he says “I’m too old for this sh*t.” Okay, I don’t know if he actually says it in that scene, but, given the ramifications of his current position, the visual in my head gave me a giggle. And because this scene was in the first sequel, I totally almost typed number 2, but thought better of it. I guess sometimes I still have the mind of a 12-year-old. But I digress.

On the other hand, I’m flat-out offended that anyone would say I’m too old to do anything. I mean, here I am at 40-something thinking of going back to school. Yes, I made the career change (from lawyer to college teacher) in my 30s and going back to school would just be furthering that, but still. What about never being too old to be happy? Or sleeping when we’re dead? Or some other such cliché I can’t think of at the moment (not because I’m old and my brain cells don’t work as well as they used to, but rather because I’ve always had a terrible memory). C.S. Lewis said “You’re never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” So there.

From http://www.ets.org/gre/
From http://www.ets.org/gre/

Yes, I’ve decided that I haven’t really decided whether I’m going back to school. Read that again if you like. I’d made a decision to apply for Ph.D. programs, registered for the GRE, and then *decided* again (re-decided? Sheesh, changed my mind!) that I may not go right way (or ever). Instead, I’m supposed to be focusing on my writing. But the GRE is tomorrow. I’d put it off from December to give myself more time to prepare but have instead used all the extra time to psych myself out. You’d think that not even knowing if I’m going to apply to any programs would take some of the pressure off, right? Wrong. I never used to be afraid of tests; I mean, I’ve taken (and passed) 3 state bar exams; after that, everything should be cake. Of course, it’s been YEARS and I’m 40-something and my brain is TIRED and I’m too old for this sh*t.

My anxiety is the pressure-rigged commode. Here’s hoping is doesn’t blow up in my – face.

Published inKitchen Sink

2 Comments

  1. Steph, the beauty of living life right is that nobody but you gets to decide when you’re too old to reinvent yourself. Heck, now that I’m 50, if I needed external validation, let alone permission to call my own well deserved shots, I’d be in a heap of trouble. Lady, what others think about us is none of our business. That revelation in itself is kind of freeing, don’t you think? =)

  2. Every time I flush I’l think of you and Danny Glover.

    But hey, I think you’ve decided while writing this entertaining essay. It’s not that you’re too old at all…it might be that you are a writer and you don’t need to go back to school…just write every day. (That’s a lot harder than going back to school anyway.)

    I spent years chasing after other things besides writing & art (which translates to fear about writing & art.)

    If you are still not sure…write down “Go to school’ & “Don’t go to school.” Draw one out of a hat, read it and see what your gut reaction is.

    I look forward to your writing…hint, hint, Hugs-Darlene

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