Aging Ungracefully

by francine Hardaway on May 31, 2013

Every once in a while, I am reminded that I’m not the indestructible girl I used to be. I hate those moments.

This morning I went to a Pilates Studio in Chiswick and walked into an intermediate class. Now, I’ve done a fair amount of Pilates, but not at THIS studio, and not for the past year. Lo and behold. The 30-year-old Asian dancer looking types in the class outshone me easily. The instructor actually had to modify things for my diminished upper body strength. I was furious with myself, but at the end of the class I told her my age and she was impressed, although she told me to go back to beginners.

By the time I walked home, I’d gotten over it. But then I headed off my meet a friend of a friend for lunch in Kensington.

I got off at West Kensington, followed Google Maps, and realized I was walking in the wrong direction. So I retraced my steps and headed off again in the other direction. I kept on walking through some dodgy neighborhoods, and I knew I was on the wrong track when after 45 minutes I still hadn’t passed a Starbucks. I then compounded my error by turning right on the street I should have turned left on, and walking west instead of east. Map reading skills were never my strong point.

By this time I had used up the hour grace period I was planning to spend at Starbucks, and summoned Uber. Brian explained all my errors and dropped me at Riccardos, a tony Tuscan restaurant that actually had…a vegan, gluten free me menu.

Ecstasy. But it gets better. And worse.

I had a great lunch with a very British investment banker to whom Tery Spataro introduced me.  He raises money for tech companies and has some startups in familiar spaces– broadcast technology and low-cost tablets for emerging markets. I was actually able to lend some expertise, because he hadn’t heard of kickstarter, indigo-go or We left on a high note, promising to help each other.

And then, marching with determination toward South Kensington, the station I should have gotten off at,  to go meet my daughter in Central London, I hit a crack in the flagstone sidewalk and pitched forward. 

Fortunately my hands broke my fall. I haven’t fallen in several years, but I skinned both knees and destroyed my hose. Two young men picked me up and asked me if I was okay. All of a sudden, I was revealed as a Senior. They didn’t ask about my dignity. I felt like one of those old ladies I never want to be.

In this moment of extreme vulnerability, what to do next? 

I stopped at Boot’s and bought some opaque hose. Then I took myself to the “South Ken” Starbucks, which I knew would have wifi and a ladies’ room. I restored my GUI with the new tights. Now, I’m back in full drag. Can’t be identified as a fallen woman.

Just for curiosity’s sake, I synced my JawboneUp and learned I had already walked 4.5 miles. And taken a too-difficult Pilates class. So I had no wish to move. I ordered a soy latte–in the afternoon. This is tantamount to drinking at lunch.

I texted my daughter: “Happy to have everyone meet me here, but I’m not moving!!! I feel old and battered.”
And my son-in-law wrote back: “I will carry you home on my shoulders.”

Family. The people who will carry you on their shoulders.

On to dinner.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Josh Liu May 31, 2013 at 8:57 am

Oh no….

Sorry to hear that your day did not go that well. Hope you will recover soon from the injury.

I would not say you are aging ungracefully at all though. You have high positive energy, which is stronger than a lot of young people. I wish I could be like you at your age: healthy, fully of great hype, and still love all kinds of challenges in life. That is “ageing gracefully” to me. :)

Get well soon!!


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