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  • Writer's pictureJane Rubin

Rip Van Rubin

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

While I was sleeping...

I got 10 years older - that’s what happened!

The last time I took stock of my actual age was before I was diagnosed with a second cancer a decade ago. I was fifty-five years old, could easily work ten hour days, go home to make dinner and head out for an evening commitment. I could play tennis for an hour and want more, walk a few miles for fun in the morning and climb off the floor after playing with children. My kids were starting out in their professions, falling in love and getting married. I was at the cusp of the harvest years.

And then out of nowhere - my diagnosis. I submerged into a world of holding it all together - distracted by learning a vocabulary of medical words, my treatment options and my limitations. Then, last October, ten years later, I retired. 'And have things changed! Somehow, I completely took my eye off of the aging reality. By taking better care of myself, I had expected to regain my 55 year old self. The joke is on me, life has zipped by.

I am surprised is how much I have physically aged. People tend to tell me I look youthful, but my body tells me otherwise. Starting with waking up, I try to stretch like Richard Simmons instructed years ago, and end up with a calf cramp. So instead of a natural infant-like stretch and then gently easing out of bed, I am jumping recklessly onto the floor and hopping the cramp out - an accident about to happen. And that is exactly how I fell onto some rocks last week. Thinking that I could prance about setting up my sailboat, I lost my balance and slipped backwards onto a pile of large rocks under the lake surface. Now, I know what it’s like to bruise the coccyx, otherwise known as the tailbone - not fun....

But the biggest change is watching my kids catch up and begin to pass me in their careers. They are no longer children. Comfortably inhabiting their mid to late 30’s, they now are more facile in their fields and advancing into some very challenging positions. My successor at work is my eldest daughters age! How in the dickens did time pass so quickly! My only comfort is my treasure trove of hard-earned wisdom that is occasionally sought. Every once in a while, I am tapped into for a little counsel on professional issues.

It seems like yesterday that I looked in my rear view mirror and checked on the three of them sitting in the back seat - sometimes playing, sleeping and more than occasionally annoying eachother. Now, when we head off, and there is a full carload, it is me, sitting in the back seat with the grandkids. Have I taken a U turn in life?!

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