I spent the vast majority of my life weighing less than 150 pounds. I never had to watch what I had to eat because I quite literally couldn’t gain weight.
Some time around my nearing the age of forty, something began to change. One day, I caught a side view of myself in the mirror and I thought for a moment that someone other than me had left their belly in the bathroom . . . . but no! After some poking and inspecting, I was able to determine that it was in fact MY belly, it was attached to me, and it was much bigger than what I remembered it being.
It used to be that when I went through a door, my whole body entered the room at the same time. Now when I enter a door, it is my belly that arrives first in the room. If I were to stop before my head and legs made it through the door, whoever might already be inside the room would end up wondering, “Whose belly is that hanging around by the door?”
Now this belly situation wouldn’t be a problem if I hadn’t spent my entire life eating whatever I want, whenever I wanted it. I could just stop eating so much and slim down a bit.
But I can’t stop eating.
Many is the time that I have said to myself, “I am going to start eating better and get rid of this belly. . . . . tomorrow, so pass me another plate of Chicken Alfredo.”
When I was young and skinny, I used to think that over-weight people just needed to stop eating so much. Problem solved. I now have to apologize to all over-weight people who were the target of such thoughts.
Some unexpected events and signs that I have now reached middle age:
1. I don’t know why or how, but at some point after reaching the age of forty, I began to catch myself walking around with my zipper down. It’s not like it never happened in my youth, but the frequency it happens now is alarming. I don’t know if it is the onset of dementia, or perhaps the jeans that I so proudly buy at the thrift store for pennies on the dollar are there in the first place because of mechanical failure.
2. I nearly got into a fist fight with a friend who casually mentioned that it had been 31 years since Van Halen released their album 1984. I argued that his statement was ridiculous and that it didn’t seem that long ago that the cassette had arrived in the mail with my other eleven albums that I had purchased for one penny. It wasn’t until I actually did the math that I had to apologize for my insolence:
“If that album was 31 years old, it would have had to have been released in nineteeeeen eighteeeee. . . . . four.”
1984. Just like it says right their on the cover.
3. The last two times that I caught a woman staring at me like she thought I was attractive, I later found out that one time I had a booger hanging, and the second time I had forgotten to finish shaving the left side of my face.
4. This morning when I woke up and began walking to the bathroom, I realized that I was walking the same way I used to walk when I was making fun of old people.
5. And finally, an embarrassing and personal one that I can’t figure out how it could be caused by middle age, but I can’t deny the onset around the age forty.
When I wake up and go to the bathroom for the first time in the morning, what normally used to be one stream, is now sometimes two streams that end up on either side of the toilet. It happens enough that I know that by quickly turning slightly to the left, I can adjust my aim so that one stream lands in the toilet, and the other lands in the bathtub which is next to the toilet.