The other day I needed a small plate that sat on the highest shelf of my kitchen cabinet. There was no way I could reach it, even with a maximum stretch. And no one taller (i.e. ALL three of the other members of my household) was around to assist. My 46 year old auto pilot immediately engaged. I placed my hands on the counter’s edge, bent my knees, and prepared to hoist myself up to a standing positioning atop the granite and retrieve the plate.
This maneuver has been my method of choice to reach things in the kitchen since I was old enough to do so. But as I stood there ready to make the leap I thought better of it. Both my brain and my body whispered to me that this was no longer a good idea. I could pull a muscle, fall, or injure myself when I jump down. I chose instead to pull a kitchen chair over and stand on it to get the plate.
As I easily stepped up, I was overcome with the realization that the ex-gymnast, proud black belt, high energy girl I was will never climb atop the kitchen countertop again. I stood there in that moment and realized that this is what life looks like at the Top of the Hill.
It’s an interesting vantage point. I’m not ready to concede that I am Over the Hill, but I’m certainly not engaged in the same climb I was in my 30s and 40s. I’ve been noticing signs for months now – and it’s truly fascinating how life evolves without your permission. A few examples for you:
My entry and exit into parking spaces has become more of a process. More often than not, I open my car door and feel like my park job is unacceptable. If I were Over the Hill, I’d just go with the first attempt and leave my van on (or slightly over) the line. But at the Top of the Hill, I climb back in and take my Mulligan (or two) to get it right.
There is technology out there that I will never use – not because I don’t know how (that would be Over the Hill) but because I have no need or desire to SnapChat, YikYak, or (truthfully?) ask Siri anything.
The music my kids play has gotten a ton louder. Or maybe the space in my head where that particular stimuli gathers has gotten much smaller. The latter reasoning is quite possible considering all the thinks and thoughts that swirl around my brain these days about life at the Top of the Hill. Regardless, “Turn it Down, please” has become part of the conversation. I don’t say “Turn it Off.” Yet.
If I were Over the Hill, my kids would think it cute for me to talk about how my “BAE was totally on fleek today.” But at the Top of the Hill, I am forbidden to attempt these words in public because that would be trying too hard.
I no longer panic at every pain, discomfort or feeling of weariness when it sets in. Most mornings, something hurts when I wake up and climb out of bed, but it usually wears off in short order. At the Top of the Hill, I have started avoiding trips to the doctor. I’ll know I’m Over the Hill when I look forward to those appointments so I can get out of the house.
I have stopped worrying when I am going to have sex and started worrying about when my kids are. Nothing to say here but Oy.
At one time, People, US Magazine and Cosmo used to be my not-so-secret vice. In the last year I’ve become decidedly not-so-interested, mostly because I don’t recognize half the celebrities in the Who Wore it Best feature. O Magazine is too touchy feely and Real Simple is pretty complicated. I have become cynical, but proud to note that I have not replaced any of these magazines with Redbook or Good Housekeeping.
Leaving the house with my “readers” has become almost as mission critical as remembering to bring my cell phone. I haven’t misplaced them yet (only to find them hanging around my neck). And I secretly like popping them on when I want to look more seasoned. But there is nothing cosmetic about my need for these puppies.
While life at the Top of the Hill may seem bleak, I assure you it is not. I have plenty of company up here and I have found that the true melding of each generation occurs in this scared place. We are ALL going through this getting older phase – and with shared experiences comes greater understanding and empathy for one another. Even though we don’t have an official name (unless you count Those People Between Baby Boomers and Generation X), I think my generation will embrace these universal truths together – as those who did before us.
For right now, I think I’ll stay up here for a while longer and enjoy the view.