Unless they used sorcery, as my parents have, to make you feel the agony of accelerated decrepitude, they haven't messed with your head at all.
My mom is 74 and my dad is 75. Those are their chronological ages anyway. But if you met them, you would never believe that.
"Your parents are so...limber."
That's something my youngest sister-in-law actually said about them. I passed this compliment on to my parents, and their somewhat huffy responses were along the lines of: "Well, Jeez! What...are we supposed to be shuffling around with canes or something?"
But the thing is that they are remarkably...limber. Both of them gracefully squat down to play with the grandkids, then pop back up with no discernible crunching noises from their joints, or grunting, or grasping for support, or massaging of their lower backs.
Would that I could say the same for myself.
The "limber" thing was a new one for them, as far as I know. But a word that they have taken umbrage with for almost two decades now is "still."
As in, "Oh, wow. You guys still ski?"
They get that a lot, because they do still ski. Like maybe sixty to a hundred times a year. And when it's not ski season, my dad goes mountain biking three or four times a week while my mom hits the gym or works in the yard. That's when they're not hauling concrete and rocks down the side of the mountain to make improvements on our family cabin in Montana, which is what they do every year for their summer vacation.
The reason I'm resenting my parents so hard right now is that they are currently ripping through epic powder in Telluride, Colorado, while I'm nursing an aching hip that I injured by coughing (yeah...coughing) during this cruddy cold I've had for the last two weeks, and which prevented me from even considering taking a few runs at the rinky-dink Southern California ski resort where we just spent three days. (Of course, we were there to let the twins have some fun in the snow, not to let me attend to my winter sports jones.)
So, you may wonder, how does it happen that a dude reaches the age of 43 and finds that his parents are actually younger than he is?
I have thought long and hard about this, and determined that there are a couple things going on here: 1) Taking care of children wears you down to the point that a simple cold can turn into a crippling condition; and, 2) My parents have a portrait of themselves tucked away in their attic that depicts them as if they had aged in accordance with passage of time, while their actual bodies have not changed since 1985.
It's irksome to me that my parents have not introduced me to this artist who can suspend my aging process as he did theirs, and instead have let me watch myself fall into disrepair. If I press them on the issue, they'll surely claim that I'm being ridiculous, and that it just takes a while to recover from the early years of childrearing; and that when I'm their age, I will have forgotten about this brief episode of infirmity.
I ask you, could there be anything crueler for parents to do to their children than to deny them the secret to everlasting youth, that they have attained through their dabblings in the occult?
That's what I thought. So stop complaining about your mom's guilt trips and your dad's emotional distance. At least they aren't practicing black magic to suspend the aging process, and throwing it in your face.
This is what my youthful parents are doing right now:
And this is the most extreme winter sporting that I have done in a couple years: