The surest sign of getting older is the fact that you cannot sleep through the night without at least one trip to the bathroom. Well, that and the fact that your birth year starts with something lower than a seven.
I am not talking about the “I guess I’ll get up and go because the cat is driving me crazy and this is the only time I can inflict harm on her with out repercussions from my wife” kind of go. I’m talking about the kind of having to go that people getting older and kids in the backseat of a car (or minivan, they are cooler than you think, you know) for more than 20 minutes can understand. I’m talking about the “I’ve tried all of the positions I can think of and am still very uncomfortable” having to go. I’m talking about its only 5:30 and how many cokes did I have kind of go.
I have a newly acquired understanding of this phenomenon. I thought just a few short years ago that my “old” friends were crazy with their senile rantings about not being able to sleep through the night business. They would tell me, “just wait. You will understand.”
I had given up peeing in bed sometime in the Nixon administration; I’ll save you some math, I was young. With the exception of being ill or having had many adult beverages the evening before, I have always been able to sleep through at least until my alarm gets me going. Of course, the first thing any man does when he gets up is goes to the bathroom. Now I am told that this is the case for women, but I have no direct evidence of this, outside of the occasional “Don’t you dare go in there, yet” from the former Ms. Waller.
Back to my own aging problems. I have noticed that as I rapidly push my next birthday, making it through the night without having to go is becoming an issue. I know, I have plenty of signs that I am getting old. For example, my head declared an emergency over 10 years ago, as my hair started evacuation procedures in 20’s. I have my share of aches and pains, but I am fairly active and still have been known to do stupid things like run for fitness and challenge guys much younger than me to full contact basketball. I have to wear my glasses more. I find myself thinking about body piercings and tattoos and how in the world could young people do that to themselves. I even admit that an enjoyable evening with a good book can be preferable to $2 Maker’s night at Murphy’s.
The problem remains. I have to carefully time the last potty break of the evening to coincide with right before I am to drift off. To go earlier is tantamount to setting my bladder’s alarm clock to Just Early Enough To Be Annoying, but Too Late To Go Back To Sleep.
I guess what I am saying is that I am aging, but gracefully, I might add. I will not fight it. I didn’t use any hair restoration agents when my hair began to take flight. I shall continue to play basketball with younger, more athletic people and go as hard as I wish. But under no uncertain terms will I be playing 40 and over softball this season. Well, I might. I just am going to reconcile myself to the fact that it is still dark when I have to go for the first time in the morning. Maybe aging gracefully and not rushing to find a miracle cure for all of the symptoms of getting older is the first sign that Gen X will change the way we perceive getting older. We shall mature, well, maturely.
Or maybe we’ll just get less sleep, like everyone else.