Sleeping until 10:00 a.m. used to be a luxury, a decadent pleasure that I tried to partake of as often as humanly possible. And I could not, for the life of me, figure out why my mother got up at 6:30 every morning--even after she retired!! I always thought it was because my Dad was a diabetic and had to eat on a regular schedule and had chosen that ungodly hour to eat his breakfast. But now that the big five-OH NO! is just around the corner (September to be almost exact).... I have a greater appreciation for her reasons for greeting the day at such an early hour (I used to call it "zero-dark-thirty"!). I am not one who normally goes to bed at an early hour. Late evening is when I find the time to get on the computer to check my e-mail, look up digital camera prices, and keep track of e-bay items. Usually, it's after midnight before I leave the blue glowing screen to take my night's repose. Then around six a.m. the strangest phenomenum occurs. The bed suddenly takes on a whole new personality! The mattress puts on it's boxing gloves and starts pummeling my body. First it socks the lower back, then it punches the left hip, then the right hip, and then the feet. And my pillow! No matter which way I turn it or fluff it, it still is a hot thing which tries it's best to cramp my neck and make me sweat. By this point, my husband has either pulled all the covers off of me and I am cold, or else he has pushed them all to my side and I am sweltering. Once my eyes pop open, I'm a goner. No amount of self-cajoling (i.e.--"You don't have to get up for another hour!") can put me back to sleep. The little voice in my head becomes increasingly louder--"You need to get up and ___________ (feel free to fill in the blank)". And besides that most places on my body are now too uncomfortable to go back to sleep. So I get up. And the day begins.
This is only one of the changes that is occuring. Just yesterday I used to be the one with the small children and it was my mother who hosted and cooked the famly meals--oh, we would bring side dishes, but she would cook enough even if we didn't bring anything. Now I find that I have assumed that role. And for the most part I really enjoy it--it's the cleaning up afterward that I seriously detest. For one thing, by that time, I'm usually beat--another "benefit" of getting "more mature". I just don't have the energy I used to. But I love cooking everybody's favorite dishes. My menu usually starts out rather modest--but then someone will say "You ARE going to make mashed potatoes, aren't you?" or "What KINDS of pie are you baking?". And so the menu grows. When we all sit down at one big table to eat, it's all worth it. Everybody talks and eats and laughs and tells stories.
Change comes hard for me, so I guess this gradual aging is a good thing. It lets me get used to it in little steps.
I do wish the ole body was more like it used to be. But cling, I will (no wait, that's Yoda) to the verse in II Corinthians 4:16, "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, our inner man is being renewed day by day." And I refuse to act old--I still love to laugh and do silly things, play with the grandkids, jump up and down when I'm excited, and learn new things.
So just maybe, the big five-OH NO! won't be so bad after all. And when the big six-OH! comes, maybe I won't have to do the dishes anymore!!