Hurt my Knee, I’m Getting OLD

I was just reading a book review, and the reviewer said the book (Heather Havrilesky’s How To Be A Person In the World) was corny and sentimental, but it still worked. One of the things she quoted from the book:

“The world has told you lies about how small you are. You will look back on this time and say, ‘I had it all, but I didn’t even know it. I was at the center, I could breathe in happiness, I could swim to the moon. I had everything I needed.'”

It’s similar to that famous graduation speech that was going around years ago, about how you won’t know until later how perfect you are right now. I looked at a picture of myself in my 20’s a few years ago and I was floored (I probably posted about it). I remember what I *thought* I looked like at the time, and I realized I was so totally, totally, totally wrong. I realized I had had it all. I could have ruled, but instead I let some people walk all over me. (I’m just talking about romance in this example, and looks, but I let others walk all over me in other arenas. I had it all in other ways I didn’t realize at the time either. I don’t believe Havrilesky was talking about looks, and her quote applies to everyone. You know, screw “looks” anyway. That’s an insight I just realized I’ve gained at 60. I’m not saying I don’t care. I’m saying it’s insane that I do to the extent that I do.)

Anyway, what I realized looking back then, and what I realized reading the quote above now, is that even though I may not have quite the “all” I once had, I will look back at today and realize how wrong I was about how I look now, and everything else. I am still at the center, I can still breathe in happiness and I can still swim to the moon. (I loved how she put it. Yes, corny and sentimental but it really worked for me.)

I hurt my knee the other night, and I was thinking it’s all downhill from here. And yes, it’s a sucky injury, but if I’m still around in 20 years I will look back at today and think how vigorous and young I still was, regardless. So I really should try to enjoy it now. My 20 year old self didn’t have this awareness, but I do now. I should take advantage of it! I can still swim to the moon.

My cats with extended paws. I call it: I Want to Hold Your Hand.


Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

3 thoughts on “Hurt my Knee, I’m Getting OLD

  1. So very true! I used to be anorexic and my health suffered for it, which was really dumb — but “looks.” Sigh.

    I’m about to turn 65 in December — and I’ve kidded I’m going to shut down the street and have a party. Because I will FINALLY get medicare! Ha, ha. I have some issues I’ve been putting off, such as knee/feet/back problems because I have a huge deductible on my insurance now. Hopefully with a good medigap policy I can see what can be done; I’d be happy just to take the dogs for long walks on pavement again (which I can’t, due to the knees).

    With your regular swimming, I think you are doing the BEST exercise with low impact on joints. I can’t swim, near drowned when young, but wish I could. All other aerobic exercise seems to create joint issues as you age — and I’ve done them all at some point: running, biking, now reduced to walks in a wooded park with gravel paths.

    Anyway, great post.

  2. Ha. Yeah. You know, just listening to that song makes me happy. I’ve been singing it to my cats all day.

    Cara, thank you! I’m sorry about your aches and pains and that you have had to put them off. I understand the swimming issue for you, but there are people in my pool who never swim, they just exercise in the shallow end, and seem to have a great time. I took a class they take once and had fun.

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