A couple nights ago, I realized how much I suddenly love bedtime. It made me recall the days I survived on 20 minutes or fewer of shut eye, depending on what I thought I might miss if I wasted time on something silly like sleeping.
“I think I’m getting old,” I said aloud as I snuggled under the sheets. I closed my eyes and sighed, thinking for a moment about how nice it felt to rest and … BAM … my eyes popped open and I jumped up like the bed was on fire.
“No,” I said. “I’m not going down like this. I can sleep when I’m dead.”
I ninja kicked the dream maker right on out of my head and left the bedroom. Then I sat down with a piece of paper and wrote a list of all the ways I now show my age. By the way, I’m not talking long boobs and triple knees. I couldn’t care less about the wrinkles, either. I’m talking about the inside stuff of aging … the stuff like risk, laughter and adventure … the stuff that too often fades as years go by.
In my mind, I scrolled back a decade to the first experience I had with getting old.
On that day, I was water skiing with friends. We anchored the boat in a cove where I was immediately dared to climb a gigantic rock, then do a Tarzan swing from a rope into the water.
Well, I never, ever blow off a dare.
So I climbed the rock and grabbed the rope. That’s when I had the first “old, un-fun lady” thought I have ever had in my life. As I gazed over the edge, the foreign thought floated through my chest like a grandma’s doily.
“If I lose my grip, I will be killed five or six times,” I muttered under my breath. “I will bash my head on all those rocks.”
My partner in crime — who, by the way, refused to go first — called me a chicken. I was 42 — too old, of course, to give in to peer pressure. But not too old to get honked off about being called a chicken. I might be lots of things, but I’m not a chicken.
My hands actually trembled on the rope. My legs shook as I backed up to get a running start. I didn’t know if I could do it. Me! Sherri Knievel! Was I turning into mush?
Witnessing my freak-out, my friend said, “You don’t have to do it.”
But I said, “Yes I do.” And I knew I did because I don’t want my spirit to turn into mushy oatmeal old stuff.
I took a deep breath and swung, landing in the lake with such force that one of my ovaries was shoved into my throat.
“I’m finally getting old,” I later said to my mom. “I almost backed out of a dare.”
“Oh for heaven’s sake, Sherri,” she said with a sigh. “You’re finally getting some common sense.”
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