Last week I had my much-dreaded annual physical. I was a bit worried because it was exactly one year ago, during my 2012 physical, that I had a serious cancer scare.
So there I was, in front of my primary care doctor asking my usual inappropriate questions ("Do you think obsessive compulsive dreams qualify for compulsive behavior?") so much so, that it would seem he was more of a therapist than a GP. To his credit, he indulges me and listens closely; a rare occurrence in today's health care climate.
I gave my doctor a rundown of all my worries and concluded with, "I think I might be very sick, because I feel myself being much less energetic than before."
"How so?" he asked.
"I am always tired, I am always exhausted, morning through night. I do the same things as always, I mean I have to (right?) kids, work, exercise, errands, running around the city, up and down and all, but for some reason I don't feel as good, I feel like I don't perform as before, so is it possible that I am sick and we don't even know it?"
He smiled and asked, "Ok Sofia, how old are you?"
I said, "Well I can't lie to you, while you are holding my file."
Then I burst into tears.
I'm not proud of this display, but cry I did. A lot. "I feel like this is the year I get old. It's happening and there is nothing I can do to stop it."
I went on with a litany of familiar complaints: you know, the lines on your face that weren't there last week, the pulled muscle, the rickety knee -- I know what I am going through is not unique, but why does it feel so lonely? Do I return home and bask in my 85-year-old grandmother's compliment that I don't look older than 30? (Ok, she has terrible cataracts). Do I submit to Botox? (Never).
After listening my doctor said, "But really, Sofia, would you rather be 20 again?"
My answer was a firm, "Oh god. No way."
I am content with the things I've done, proud of the woman I've become (most of the time) and happy with my life thus far; but the main reason why I wouldn't want to be 20 again is the fact is I don't think I could navigate today's youth culture. A 20 year-old girl is, as far as I'm concerned, an alien creature; she speaks an absolutely different language.
And kudos to them, these 20-year-olds, who have become the protagonists of our popular culture. They are everywhere; making us 40-year-olds (or 40 something's) feel like that whole "40'is the new 30's" attitude is an absolute lie. (One can't go to a bar in Brooklyn without feeling like a Cougar). When I read and see how the millennials conduct themselves, how they date, socialize and lead their lives, I have nothing in my own history to compare it to. That piece on "The End of Courtship" made me feel from another era.
I grew up in a time where people needed to be brave enough to ask for your number; a time where the girls called the guys they fancied and hung up at the sound of their Mom's voice; a time where there was no caller ID; when we were free to call away without being labeled needy or stalkers. We didn't have status, we didn't share what we where thinking unless anyone asked and when my friends and I decided to go out to different places, we could be surprised by who was or wasn't there. It was a time when the events of our lives were largely ruled by chance, or what we use to call it -- destiny.
And it wasn't that long ago. I swear it wasn't.
I started watching the first season of Girls and I love it. I find myself wanting to be Lena Dunham's best friend. Would she be willing though? I hardly think so. The gap between us is probably as big as the Atlantic Ocean and I think that even at my infamous high speed, I am way slower than Lena.
I am also a lousy texter. I definitely have no time to decipher other people's texts. Hell, I don't know what any acronyms mean! And I squirm every time my daughter uses the word "tots."
"No, definitely not 20 again."
I just don't want to get old.
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