By Suzanne Sparrow Watson
Today is a sad day for me – the Olympics are over. Champions were crowned, losers were consoled, and the women’s hockey team grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory. I am a huge fan of the Olympics – Winter more than Summer. I think that’s because I relate more to winter sports. Oh sure, I was on the swim team in high school and did some gymnastics well into college, but let’s just say I wasn’t too graceful at either sport. In fact, someone rather close to me commented that I moved like a hippopotamus in three feet of mud. But the winter sports! Just strap something on my feet and put me on a slippery surface and I’m golden. So for the past two weeks I have watched the skiers and the skaters with envy and unbridled enthusiasm. I have to admit that the slopestyle skiing and snowboarding of any ilk is way beyond me and my knees hurt just watching the aerial skiers. But I actually commented to my husband during the downhill ski race, “I could do that!”. He ignored me, sure that I was just making another of my Walter Mitty-type comments. But in my heart, I really do think that I could ski an Olympic downhill course. Because even though I’m 63, I think I’m 45.
I mentioned this to a friend the other day and she told me she had suffered from the same delusions until she took the Real Age Test. She suggested that I go online to Dr. Oz’s website and see just how old my body is. Simple enough. I began by answering some obvious questions – Do I Have Aches and Pains? Do I Suffer from Digestive Tract issues? Am I Often Anxious? I was sailing through these questions – any moron could answer this stuff. But then wise Dr. Oz started throwing in some trickier subjects like “How Much Do You Drink?”. Hmmmm….this was a stumper. Our doctor told us that he automatically DOUBLES the answer his patients tell him when asked this question. So my first quandary was to determine if Dr. Oz is as wily as our doctor. Not that I drink that much anymore but still…I was trying to determine my Real Age here and I didn’t want to have the alcohol algorithm adding any extra time. Secondly, there’s the whole seasonal factor. I drink more in winter because we go out more in winter. So do I average the number over the whole year or answer for right now? This was not going to be easy. I moved on to food. Fruits and vegetables have never been my strong suit. We bought a VitaMix a couple of years ago thinking that we would make green smoothies every day but so far I’ve found that it whips up a pretty mean ice cream gin fizz. Actually, we’re fairly healthy eaters but when faced with a piece of cake or a fresh piece of sourdough bread I have all the willpower of a six-year-old at a birthday party. Finally, the smartypants people who devised this test ask about your “feelings”. But not just depression or how often you laugh inappropriately. They ask you to rate your belief in statements like “Most People Would Lie To Get Ahead”. Jeez!! OF COURSE most people do that. I worked in Human Resources for 32 years and I could tell you stories about made up crap on resumes that would make your hair stand on end. But…I could see the sneaky Dr. Oz baiting me on this one – if I answer truthfully he will “age” me because I am a negative, cynical, old bitty who always sees the glass half empty. So I lied.
When I completed their barrage of questions I felt like I’d been grilled by a prison guard at Gitmo. I was sweating bullets, just waiting for them to calculate my Real Age. Turns out I’m not 45, I’m 57. They gave me all sort of pats on the back for some healthful living and congratulated me on being younger than my actual age. Still…even at 57 I guess I’m too old to ski the downhill course. So instead I’ve decided I’m going to focus on Figure Skating. A few years ago I laced up some skates in Sun Valley and made it around the WHOLE rink once before falling. Oh sure, it wasn’t exactly a double Axel but it’s a start. And my new hero is Yvonne Dowlen, pictured here, who is still figure skating at 87 years old. She says that if she can walk, she can skate. I like her attitude; I’d venture a guess that she’s never even come close to taking a Real Age test. And I suspect that when the doctor asks her how many drinks she has per week she gives him a steely-eyed look and tells him to mind his own damn business.