Creaky Old Man
It's the morning inventory I take now that I've landed halfway between 40 and 50. Which parts of my body are working today? Which ones are sore, or hurting, or just plain uncomfortable? Am I going to have to wear the comfortable, but not so stylish Dad running shoes if I have issues with one ankle and another toe? Will I be able to drink more than one cup of coffee without chasing it with a half-pint of Pepto Bismol? For the love of god, can't I drink even one beer the night before without becoming uncomfortably gassy? Will I be able to contort myself into position where I don't feel that twinge in my back all day?
To be clear, I'm past the point where I wake up and I expect all my moving and non-moving parts and bits to be 100 percent ready to seize the day. At 45, I have an equation of comfort where, if I can hit it, I'm more than happy to roll out of bed and not complain much.
I can accept one mild to moderately severe pain lodged in some part of my body. Or two slight to mild areas of discomfort. That ankle I sprained a few weeks ago? If all I have is some residual swelling or mild pain, I am good to go. But if I double down on the sprained ankle in concert with whatever the hell happened to the big toe on my other foot in the spring, with maybe a little bloating from eating too much fried food the night before, then I've crossed the line.
Those mornings when all I have is that pain in the exact middle of my back, or a knee that seems to exist only of bone grinding on bone, I count those as wins. On the good days, I consider it an Exercise Day. Not that I will necessarily exercise that day. Hell, I know I won't exercise on those days, but I tell myself that if I really wanted to, I could exercise.
There's also a similar inventory that takes place after a night of drinking, where in addition to all the real and imagined pains of living, I have to lay silently in bed, breathing deeply, and try to determine if there is any hangover element that will be added to my day. And this is why I hardly ever drink anymore, because that daily calculus of getting out of bed and feeling healthy doesn't need to be dragged down by the part of me that thinks I'm still 22.
But otherwise, I know its all small stuff and the aches and pains of getting a little bit older, and I'll gladly take a little discomfort in exchange for everything else I've gained as I've traveled through my forties.