My husband and I went out for lunch today. Our server was a soft-spoken woman with dull brownish-blond hair shot through with gray. It was pulled back in a pony tail, but loose ends had escaped. They fell across her forehead when she sat our glasses of unsweetened iced tea on the table and took our orders.
“How old would you say she is?” Buck asked. I thought for a minute. “Early fifties.”
He looked surprised. “Really? You think so? She looked 20 years older than you.”
Some flattery there, no doubt, but I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t far off the mark, and Buck was right, at least to a degree. She did look older than my 59 and a half years, but if I had to stand on my feet all day carrying heavy trays and serving food to people, I feel pretty sure I would look a lot older, too.
We age at different speeds for many reasons: genetics, lifestyle, stress, and health status, among others.
I’m damned lucky. My life is one of productive work, comfort, ease, low stress, having a reciprocal love affair with my marital partner and best friend of almost 27 years, being fit and so far, in superb health. With regard to health, all the major systems are in great shape. Each year I have a cardiac stress test, basic blood work, a mammogram, and occasionally when the schedule calls for it (like this year in April), a colonoscopy (whoopee).
I’m not writing this to be congratulated. Except for whatever effort I put into staying fit, not much of my current happy state has anything to do with something I have deliberately done or not done. I’m writing it, rather, to establish a baseline for where I am at the beginning of this, the second decade of the millennium.
It is the world I know in this lovely moment in time, and sets the stage for all the acts to follow.