COLUMN: Anti-aging tactic rolls away years

Farm Forum

When your youngest child turns 13, the veins in your arm pop out, your hair whitens and you start to hunch over.

I suddenly aged last week at that critical birthday.

When Laurie was 12, I chugged along at a decent pace, with only an ailment or two reminding me of my mortality, but suddenly my youngest daughter’s a young lady and liver spots materialize.

I caught myself a time or two in the last month discussing health problems, something I swore I’d never do because nothing says “old fogey” like a person discussing health issues.

My husband has aged quickly, too, mostly in his hearing.

“What?” he asks, when we ask him something. His “What?” is so predictable that my daughter joins him in unison after she asks him a question.

She wanted a skating party when she turned 13, so we celebrated at the rink.

Parents skate free.

“Would you like to skate?” the rink manager asked. My husband immediately said yes.

But me? Skate? I loved skating when I was 13. I spent whole days skating up and down the sidewalk. But the last time I tried to skate, it was a crushing disappointment. Everything I knew about skating disappeared, and I floundered and fell. Instead of the freedom of gliding gracefully around the rink, I staggered, flopped and tried simply to stay alive. That was when I was in my 40s, and now I am 54.

“No, thanks,” I said. “But wait!” Maybe I could wear the skates and just roll safely around the carpeted area.

My husband, brave soul, blithely ventured out to the rink.

I watched as he tottered and held close to the wall. It was suddenly apparent that having a 13-year-old daughter aged him more than I thought. I watched his tentative, old-man steps, his careful, slow movements. I could see his white hair bobbing at a distance. Every step was shaky and cautious. No gliding, no freedom. Just care and teetering.

I might not remember everything, I told myself, but I can glide when I skate.

I strapped on wrist guards and practiced skating on the carpeted area. I turned and stopped, slowly remembering how to skate again. I longed to move freely on wheels.

Soon, I was ready to hazard the rink.

The first lap was awkward. I stayed near the wall but did not creep. I remembered how to move from side to side, rhythmically. I completed the lap without falling and with a certain victorious thrill. Long unused muscles ached, however.

After a rest, I went out again. Glide, sway, fly! The moves were back! I’d skated off a decade of stiffness and age. Another lap and I’d be back to my 30s.

My husband, done skating after one lap, held the movie camera. The third time around I rolled and swayed in time to the music. I hadn’t felt this free and young for years. I skated alongside my daughter and kept going.

And then — disaster. I lost the beat and leaned too far back. My arms flailed and I felt my feet lose it.

Down went the 30-year-old body, smacking the floor as a 50-year-old carcass.

Ow! The elbow. And how do you get up again?

“Mommy, why is that old lady crawling across the rink?”

Creeping to the wall, I scrambled upright, then rolled off the rink in defeat.

To have soared for even a few minutes, however, was worth all the pain and humiliation. Maybe I’ll do it again when I’m 60.

Donna Marmorstein writes and lives in Aberdeen. You can contact her at