Sunday, February 24, 2013

Too Old for This

Midnight "glow" bowling
So, in a fit of I-don't-know-what, I decided February 22nd would be midnight bowling/lock-in at church for the youth group. At the time (January) it seemed like a good idea. As the 22nd approached, however, I became increasingly apprehensive. I am at the stage in life when staying awake through the SNL opening is a heady victory over the forces of aging. What made me think I could remain conscious through an all-nighter with 20 teenagers?

Treasure hunt winners--and wearing the clues as proof!

As it turned out, I could--barely. I took a power nap before leaving the house that night, which meant I could at least bowl without slumping over in the lane. When we closed the joint down at 2 AM, it was back to church for a massive treasure hunt I had devised, with 50 rhymed clues leading to a candy jackpot. Took the kids a satisfyingly long while to complete. Then it was movie time!! As I watched Jim Carrey's rubber face contorting on the screen, and kept a simultaneous eye on the young ladies and gentlemen, massive fatigue kicked in. 5:00 AM was lights out (at last!), and 7:30 AM was lights back on (oh no!) for a pancake breakfast and fond farewells. In a daze, I cleaned up and closed up shop, and went home, wondering if it was OK to call it a day at 3 PM.

Years ago, I was a true night owl. Between putting off term paper-writing until the last possible nocturnal moment, and working in a restaurant--where the fun began after the final patron exited the building--I was a wee-hours kind of gal. My life in the theatre meant that the work day commenced with an 8 PM curtain and went from there. Even in later years, after the babes were born, I didn't struggle (too much) with 2 AM feedings, and then often flipped on the light to read until nearly dawn. Never seemed to need that much sleep. I pictured a happy future of round-the-clock productivity, squeezing every drop of juice out of life.

But yesterday morning, I had to face the music. I am 56 years old, and, finally, too old for this. I glance in the mirror (only a glance, any longer would be too painful) and there are my myriad wrinkles. I am aware that, without my trusty dye bottle, I would be completely gray. My formerly hummingbird-like metabolism has slowed to a crawl, and now even photos of fattening food magically appear on my hips. My mail mocks me, with its AARP notices and invites to check out senior adult residences--and what's really scary is, this stuff is starting to sound tempting.

I may have just had my last all-nighter, and it hurts to realize that those days are probably gone forever. The kids, no doubt, grabbed a little snooze and were good to go, while I will be recovering for weeks.

In my heart, I'm still in my twenties. But, alas, the body doesn't lie. Yawn.

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