Pin It Not sure if you ever knew, but once upon a time I was old. I couldn't get the tops off the bottles. I lost my balance trying to swing one foot over the side of the tub into the shower. I looked for the wheelchair dips in the sidewalk to avoid another step down. I needed that railing you were blocking to lean on just to get down the stairs. I limped every day and I popped pills constantly. I needed to lean on the shopping cart to get through the store. I was old once.
I had to ask for help to get the gas cap off the car and learned to never swipe the card before taking the cap off, just in case no one could help and I'd have to come back another time. I had to be sure I was home no more than fourteen hours after my day started, or else I'd never be able to get ready for bed before my fingers stopped working. I needed help sometimes just to get dressed. I learned how to button and zip and snap in different ways. I said no to stylish shoes in favor of supportive, even though they didn't stop the limp.
I was old once. But not anymore. But I still remember. It's not something you forget. When you look at me now and laugh and say, oh you can do that, you're young! I laugh inside and think, yes, I am now. For now. When you talk about your aches and pains and tell me someday I'll understand, you don't realize I already do, and that I may have them again much sooner than you know. When you wonder aloud why that seemingly healthy person needs that disabled parking spot, I know that their suffering may not be visible to you. I laugh inside at your assumptions about my abilities based on my age.
I am young now. But I am wiser, too. And I know I will be old again. Perhaps I will be better at it the next time. I am certainly better at being young now. Maybe you will be too.