I am getting older. I know we all are, but I didn’t think that would happen to me. This is something that happens to others, like dreadful misfortunes or freakish good fortune.
I mention this obvious fact that I am ageing, because my students laughed at me. Finally being able to be with real live people in the studio is joyous, and you get to hear their reactions, even if it isn’t what you expected. Once upon a time they laughed with me, but not this time. We still offer the live streaming option via zoom and I saw BRB in the chat box. Initially I thought a cat had pounced on the keyboard, but as everyone knows, that usually spells wqghejkl;###############/////////. But when in the second lecture it was there again, I knew my cat theory was wrong.
I asked the class what BRB was. They laughed, all of them. A good ol’ proper belly laugh. I wasn’t expecting that. Just like I wasn’t expecting the young boy on the train that same morning to give up his seat for me and call me ‘Ma’am’. Do I really look a 95 year old royal?
‘Be Right Back’. Just in case you too have missed the BRB thing. Now I can LOL and LMAO at you too for not knowing that. But of course you did, everyone knew that. (Unless you’ve been recently addressed as Ma’am). Two years ago I had to stop most of my jokes, because people didn’t get the references. 80’s & 90’s TV and pop culture is now called ‘history’, probably studied in school between the Iron and the Middle Ages. Admit it, even my LOL and LMAO sentence shows how aged and uncool I am. Incidentally, in the 1960’s LOL stood for ‘little old lady’. That is where I am heading.
Admittedly, there are a few wiry greys sprouting from my bedraggled bonce. And I now do the ‘reading boomerang’. (This is where you move the object you are trying to read back and forth, in the hope that your eyes catch at least 3 of the letters so you can guess what it says). In Tesco, I placed the jar of pickles on the shelf and did a version of the Do-si-do to check if there were any E numbers in the ingredients.
Getting high and randy
If I am honest, I often ‘just don’t get it’. Last week I stood confused, staring at the ground in the public car park. There were a number of silver nitric oxide canisters and even more mussel shells strewn everywhere. I was baffled how the mussel shells fit into the equation. I concluded that mussels are considered an aphrodisiac and that is the latest craze- get high and randy. However, after watching various YouTube videos on ‘how to get the best high with laughing gas’ and ‘the beginners guide to coastal foraging for mussels’. I still don’t get it. I can only assume that in leafy suburbia our teenagers have a penchant for Moules Marinieres.
What about the two 25 year olds? They were discussing how they are ‘old and responsible now’, and no longer able to do the things they once did in their youth (!) As they passed a bottle of plonk between them on the train, they seemed to genuinely feel as though their salad days were over and the end was nigh. I wanted to tell them they were wrong (and to please take their feet off the seats). Instead I bit my tongue. The old guy next to me laughed quietly to himself, I presumed at them. Couldn’t they see that he was old, not them? (He really was old, with white hair and proper wrinkles.)
In hindsight, I wonder whether the old guy was laughing at them after all. I imagined him going home and recounting his train journey home. “Well, there were two funny 25 year old girls who were having a laugh on the train. And this miserable old bat, who looked so disapproving at them with her spectacles perched on the tip of her nose, reading the ingredients of a pickle jar. It made me laugh out loud at her”.
Be more Madonna
I feel as though I am at an important crossroads and I need to make a decision. Either I settle into middle age, get the bouffant hairstyle and accept that the world is going to leave me behind, or like Madonna*1 I keep reinventing myself in the hope of staying hip and en vogue.
I do yoga because it makes me feel invincible. I can touch my toes. I can hold my breath. I can make rectus abdominis churn in both directions. I can do a handstand and upload it onto Instagram. If that doesn’t mean I am untouchable, I don’t know what does. It won’t be long until I get the siddhis (powers) promised in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
Due to the current travel ban, I’ve shifted my focus and now am aiming for the superpower of Prapti, the ability to instantaneously travel or be anywhere at will. No quarantine, nor vaccine passport needed.
Usually I think Prakamya is the best siddhi to have, the ability to realise whatever I desire, as this feels more useful. However, with my newly found old age, apparently, it comes with an ounce of wisdom. Suddenly, I am not sure if I would stop time and stay ever youthful and realise everything I ever wanted.
“It doesn’t feel sensible, does it dear?” Nudges my inner voice.
Fine, I’ll just accept aging and stay focused on astral travel instead.
Every phase is important and a life lesson. It is the transition into the new phase that is disorientating. You are neither one thing nor another, you are in the ‘change phase’. You want to cling on to what you know, your old identity and ideals, but they no longer fit. You are in a void. Floating around space without a home to latch onto. Without a definition. Without a new label.
But that is the point of yoga, isn’t it? To find out who we are beneath all the labels we identify with. And realise the truth. TAFN*2
*1 Madonna, a popular American pop singer
*2 That’s all for now