Hernias in the Hot Tub: What REALLY happened to the Hot Chick You Married?

Sometimes I wonder what happened to me.  A bunch of us girls were in a hot tub the other night and the conversation was delightfully kid free.  We had wine and chocolate.  We laughed, we talked.  We marveled at how we all knew each other and our lovely hostess.  Then it happened.

We talked of ovarian cancer, plantar fasciitis, hernias and the like.  We talked of all our surgeries and heartburn and whether Mephisto or Dansko shoes where best for hammer toe or plantar fasciitis.  We stopped ourselves and laughed.  What had become of us?  We were  all mid thirties to mid forties, and if one of us wasn't, no one knew the difference.  We were vibrant wild women and yet here we were sounding off on physical maladies like we were in a Bingo Hall.  What happened?

My only guess is after having kids and being married awhile, we don't have the same self indulgent energy we might have had when we were younger.  And though we do not feel like we are middle age, we are awfully close and physically adjustments must be made.  And of course we then talk about such adjustments with horror and morbid fascination.  We stand toe to toe with OLD AGE and possible BLUE HAIR and A GROWING DESIRE not for our hubbies but to watch TV and eat dinner at 4:30.  

Really?  Already?  I'm only forty two years old! 

All it takes to recalibrate our conversation is one of us getting sick.  One of us has to look The Worst in the face and all the rest of us stop worrying about the size of our waistlines and grow intensely interested in the size of our LIVES.  We suddenly see what really matters, and that our physical health is a barometer of our quality of life.  We mature under trial by fire, and we are grateful to our friend even as we are worried for her.  We pray it goes well for her, and we pray it won't be us next.  We are once again reminded life is fleeting.

We caught ourselves and I spiced up the conversation and we moved on.  We all dyed a streak of our hair teal blue to support a pal going into surgery and keep ourselves from crying for two hours.  We drank wine, snacked on the snacks and hugged each other.  

I do not think it is having kids that drains us of our lavish youth, but rather life itself.  In all the living our bodies wear down, our minds mature and we are more interested in each other than we are in ourselves.  I think this is OK.  I think it is easier to stop obsessing over myself and to see the broader world and my place in it.  Getting older doesn't mean I am old.  Not yet.  I enjoy doing more for others and I talk about myself less now that I have heard my own stories enough.  I'd like to hear your story instead.  

And that friend of mine, the one we dyed our hair for?  She got a miracle and does NOT have cancer.  She had surgery to make her feel better and there will not be weeks of treatment to follow.  She is blessed, and so we all are.  Our colored hair streak remains to remind us of our greatest fear.  Hopefully in remembering we will celebrate each day to come as the gift it is.   

And if you have some free time and an open bottle of wine, let's get in the hot tub again and lemme tell you about my menopause...

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