Getting ready for yet another knee surgery, I find myself pondering this whole getting older gig. There was a time when women grew old gracefully by remembering to lace up their corsets before going out of the house and keeping their periwinkle blue hair color touched up. Now, as part of the Age of the Active Senior, I’m expected to partake in activities formerly associated with Boot Camp.
I was part of that in-between generation, the one that started with the Old Morality and ended up with Charlie Sheen. I started out thinking athletics was no occupation for a lady, and I’m growing old in the No Pain, No Gain Era. All in all, aging today is not for wimps. That sweet, little old grandmother has been replaced by Grambo, an aging Amazon intent on toning her core, even though it’s located three inches lower than it was in her prime.
You’ll recognize her when you see her. She’s the old lady who pours her Shar Pei-like body into a bathing suit for senior water aerobics. She blasts past you power-walking laps inside the mall. You hear her gaining on you as you climb Enchanted Rock, the scraping of her walker echoing around you.
Why is there no male counterpart for Grambos? There are a couple of reasons for this. First, women usually live longer than men, and nothing makes you want to live healthy like realizing you finally get to watch what you want on television. Also, I think men and women have a different aging processes. Women fall victim to gravity early on. Men age later than women, but then their bones dissolve, causing them to crumple up and eventually disappear.
We women secretly wait our whole lives for our golden years, because it means getting to say whatever we want, wear whatever strikes our fancy, and stop cooking three meals a day. (When your day includes four naps and going to bed for the night at 6:30, it’s hard to fit in more than one meal and a couple of snacks.) Men waste old age in a state of ever-increasing grumpiness. Women, however, even the sweet ones, become feisty, intent on making their marks on the world before they check out.
In the great Super Bowl of Life, the “Weaker Sex” wins. We get the gold in the Aging Olympics, with men taking the silver, bronze, or possibly the aluminum foil. Everyone has to age eventually, so those of you who aren’t there yet should heed my warning: Girls, woman up! Boys, get in touch with your feminine side and hang on! Aging ain’t for wimps; it takes guts to get old.