Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Giving it Up


There comes a time, assuming you’re lucky enough to live that long, when you are forced to admit you may not be one of the young guns anymore. For me, that moment smacked me upside the head like a Louisville Slugger when I was still an athletic trainer. Upon being introduced to the incoming class of baseball players at Blue Mountain Community College, it occurred to me this was the first time in my career no one made the stupid joke about having a groin injury and needing a massage.

Wow. Right there on the third base line, I realized I was too old to warrant sexual harassment. Not that I missed the tired jokes, but still…it ranks right up there with when the construction workers stop whistling.

After a suitable period of grieving for my lost girlhood—which may have included an aborted and very painful attempt at taking up jogging—I came to terms with my new status as a non-chick. With acceptance came freedom. After all, if no one was checking me out, did it really matter how I looked?

Ah, glory days, those. At the rodeos, I no longer had to wonder if anyone but me would notice that this year’s jeans were a smidge wider between the back pockets. They were too busy eyeing the twenty-somethings. Makeup? Totally optional 

Sweet, sweet freedom.

Then this year, I went and joined the Senior Pro Rodeo Association. The masters division for cowboys in the over forty crowd, with the majority of contestants in the fifty plus range. Suddenly, I’m the incoming freshman all over again, stumbling into Senior Study Hall by mistake while all the other girls know exactly how to get through gym and on to English looking like they’ve never broken a sweat.

And the peer pressure. Sheesh. The quest to be the coolest girl in school was nothing compared to the effort some of these women put into being the hottest thing on the old circuit. Emphasis on the ‘old’.

Lucky for me, the senior rodeo season is fairly brief. I only have to diet and dye a few weeks out of the year to avoid being labeled a total loser and relegated to the table at the back corner of the concession area. Although it is nice and quiet there, an excellent place to observe my classmates and consider at what age I will once again be too old to worry about such stuff. Also to memorize the instructions on the box mounted on the wall that holds the emergency defibrillator because, well, at our age one should pay attention to those things, too.

I’ve decided seventy is my next give up the fight mark. And if someone tells me there’s a Homecoming Dance and a prom queen at the nursing home, I may just throw in the towel now.



Anonymous said...

I'm in my mid-thirties, married, and a 3-time mother who works on a college campus. My moment of realization came when the student groups in front of the Student Center stopped trying to convince me to come to the next party/important-social-crisis-meeting/walk-for-this-week's-charity.

You're right. Life is now much less stressful. Now I can read my book without worrying about walking smack-dab into some poor kid in a pink and green t-shirt.

Linda G. said...

It hit me a few years ago at the big fund-raising ball TG's employer throws every year. I realized the old leches in attendance were not trying to stare down my cleavage, but rather focusing on the twenty-year-old decolletages bouncing around the dance floor.

Worse, some of the young men actually called me "ma'am." Ouch. *grin*

Crystal Posey said...

As you know, I'm child rearing and home school and never leave the house. I embraced this freedom years ago!

Kari Lynn Dell said...

midnight: Hah. Yeah, nothing like spending time around college kids to make you feel your age.

Megan Coakley said...

My boys range in age from eight to eighteen. I went to Five's second grade Back-to-School night and realized I am now an "old mom." It was interesting and odd, because I don't mentally feel any older.

@Linda: I don't mind "Ma'am" but I do tip extra for "Miss!"