In three days I’ll be thirty-eight. Two years closer to forty. Two years closer to the age I once thought older than old, the age I once laughed at my parents for being decrepit enough to reach. Some people have a lot of angst about the big “O’s”. I suppose I had a little of it in the two years before I turned thirty. At that time the Architect and I had just moved to our new home, he had a shiny new job and I had an exciting lack of one. In exchange for taking care of the household’s daily operation (something I happen to do very efficiently), I was free to spend my days writing. Instead of a grim reminder of fleeting youth and eventual mortality, thirty became a gateway to a whole new chapter of my life, one where I was happier, healthier, and wiser.
Eight years have passed and I’m now looking down the barrel of that ridiculous, once improbable-sounding number. 4-0. A voice somewhere inside whispers it is the beginning of the end; forty will bring with it that inevitable decline, the knowledge that one’s prime is long past, the certainty of being bested by those younger and brighter. And then another voice surfaces. It is a fierce, guttural growling of a voice. It is the voice of Mortem.
Mortem doesn’t care about numbers, except the ones that show how many laps she can do in five minutes; how many of her points she withheld from the opposing jammer; and the three numbers on the back of her jersey. Mortem plays roller derby. When she falls, she bounces back up like she’s twenty. And although sometimes she makes me take ibuprofen like I’m eighty, she gives me the drive to come back every practice to do it again, intent on not just keeping up, but on excelling. Mortem doesn’t care that I haven’t participated in sports ever, or that most people might think it’s a little late to start playing a full contact sport on wheels. Mortem only wants me to shut up and play. I can’t say I disagree with that.
Mortem tells me thirty-eight will be a blast. I believe her. My body may get beat up easier and take longer to recover than my twenty-year-old teammates, but bodies are just bodies. Something deeper, more important has changed within me, something that age cannot touch. There’s a saying in derby. It can be seen on bumper stickers and tee shirts. It rings deeply true in me, not cheapened by its constant broadcasting. It is a saying that tells me I’ll be okay no matter if I’m thirty-eight, forty, or fifty.
Roller Derby Saved my Soul.
So, bathed in the baptismal font of derby, I arise anew to greet May thirtieth with a huge, stupid grin plastered on my face.
I’m going to have a good time getting old.
June 22nd, 2011 at 9:49 am
Wow nice sharing…Thanks…Shimla Holiday Packages –
June 10th, 2011 at 9:32 pm
Happy Birthday!! Check out some of the art I make on my site. I think you'd like it. RollerDerby is big in the Pacific NW. Your blog is great too.
June 9th, 2011 at 3:41 pm
Laughingwolf — I know you did. And it's taken me a long time to respond here, so that makes us pretty well square. Thanks for the wishes!
June 2nd, 2011 at 9:59 pm
typically, i missed your day here, but did wish you a gooder of fb! may you be as active when the big 5-0 rolls around, i'll never see it again!
June 2nd, 2011 at 2:01 pm
Spam about Chanel on a roller derbying, horror writer's website? You seriously missed your target audience with this one.
June 2nd, 2011 at 8:56 am
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May 29th, 2011 at 5:36 pm
Travis — It's tough to make time, but totally worth it!Charles — I've gotta keep you on your toes! *jazz hands*Wolfie Travis — Thanks! I just may have to try that approach.Walking Man — I know. I know. There will always be someone older than me, until there's not. And that is the realization that keeps me trucking. I'm stealing, "Crapping in your nappies." That's just hilarious. Thanks for the b-day wishes.G — Thanks! I'm glad you stopped by. And yeah, strangely enough, I feel better at 38 than I did at 27. And 46 is the new 35!!
May 28th, 2011 at 10:42 am
Happy Birthday!Look at this way: 38 is the new 27.Besides, it could be worse.You can be 4 years away from 50, just like me.
May 28th, 2011 at 10:37 am
You are still a child I was just about out of the military by the time you began crapping in your nappies.But in case I miss it…skate around the rink body slamming roller derby chicks while holding a five tier cake in one hand and have a wonderful birthday kid.
May 28th, 2011 at 12:55 am
Happy Birthday! You can do 38 standing on your head.
May 27th, 2011 at 4:22 pm
I thought this post was going somewhere else when it started, but I love the ending. Quintessential Avery
May 27th, 2011 at 1:49 pm
I'm a few months ahead of you. I turned 38 in December. Turing 40 beats the alternative, but I do miss my roller hockey days. Wish I had time to play again.
May 27th, 2011 at 1:48 pm
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