We’ve been having a heat spell in San Diego, and everyone is complaining about the sizzling temperatures that have suddenly developed after a cool and rainy May. As my fellow San Diegans search out cool drinks to sip in the shade, I chuckle at the amateurs trying to combat the rising temperatures. You see, heat has been in my life for many years now as I added fluctuating hormones to my list of age related conditions that affect my quality of life.
In my youth, hot was a sexy term. Hot bodies, hot cars, hot chicks and dudes were all the height of desirable compliments. Hot weather conjured images of summer freedom, convertibles, tans and cool shimmering water at the pool or beach. Young nubile bodies didn’t sweat as much as they “glistened” in pursuit of the perfect tan before the effects of the sun were known – or taken seriously.
As I age, the sun has become more risky as I slather on sunscreen to armor exposed limbs that can’t be covered or shaded to protect from skin cancer. The convertible has long since been sold, and my tan comes from a bottle applied to pale, freckled skin that bears the scars of those carefree summers spent without sun protection.
Hot has taken on a different meaning at this stage of my life as I straddle the middle lane between the fast lane of youth and the slow lane of my golden years. For much of my life I was always cold. I made sure that a jacket was always in easy reach as I shivered in air-conditioned theaters and restaurants and added blankets to my bed at the slightest hint of a cool down in the weather forecast. So, it was a surprise when the heat overtook me suddenly, much as the recent heat spell that arrived in our area. Now my jackets collected dust in the closet, and scarves and necklaces were ignored as I sought to keep myself cool. As I learned all about moisture wicking pajamas and portable fans, I also learned new terms such as “hot flashes” that were not nearly as positive as the heat terms of my youth. Now sweaty bodies were just…sweaty, no glistening involved.
I am trying to find the positives in my new world. I try to remember that warmth implies cozy and comfort. I now have more empathy for global warming. I notice a woman in my age range with drops of sweat on her brow in an air conditioned sanctuary and we nod to each other in sisterhood. My wardrobe is easier now that I only need short sleeve tops with light jackets that can be easily discarded, no matter the forecast. I can spend five minutes at the gym and look like I’ve spent an hour in an intense workout just from walking into the building.
Yes, my new stage of life is a grand adventure as I revel in the anonymity that comes with blending in with the hordes of sweaty and glistening San Diegans in the recent heat wave. I have found my people!
Maybe I should move to Florida?