I don’t know why the day came when it came, but when it did it did so with a vengeance, and nothing was ever the same after it. Up until this fateful day I had just been going about my business, carefree, frolicking through the fields of youth, rebounding from failure and injury with rubbery joie de vivre.
And then came the day.
The day I got up from a comfortable seating position in a sofa and suddenly, for the first time ever and with no warning, I felt a sound come rumbling up from my chest and heard it pass out through my lips with no conscious control: ‘Aaahhhhrgggaaa.’
Not pain, not a scream, not an indication of any discernible state of being other than: Older.
Older than what, exactly? Whatever state existed before the need for The Noise.
I’d recognised The Noise immediately, of course. It was the same noise I’d heard a thousand times growing up. My dad made it. Other adult men made it. Often, I noticed, when exerting themselves—though mostly, and this was key, when exerting themselves to no great degree. This wasn’t the noise you made when deadlifting a new personal record. No, this was reserved for sitting down or picking something up off the floor. I never understood that. A part of me probably derided it to some extent. ‘Come on. Why the need for The Noise? That was not an activity that warranted any noise.’
And then the day came. I was dismayed at first, making The Noise while getting up from a sofa. It certainly wasn’t an exertion that demanded a noise. I was fit enough to not make any noise whatsoever. And yet there it was anyway. It came of its own volition, and it set up shop and simply refused to leave. Now, it’s a constant companion. I’ve come to see it not as what I thought it was—a sign of exertion—but more of a punctuation mark, a way of subtly breaking up the ever-increasing thread of life. Gonna sit down now? ‘Aaahhhhrgggaaa.’ Need to get something down off the wardrobe? ‘Aaahhhhrgggaaa.’ Retrieved something that fell under the bed? ‘Aaahhhhrgggaaa.’ Why not? Life is an oft-interminable assault course of stress and grief. Go on, give yourself an ‘Aaahhhhrgggaaa.’ You’ve earned it.
At this point I should mention what sparked the above thought process. Naturally, it was a Reddit thread. This time one asking the question’ ‘What’s your most ‘I’m turning into my parents’ moment?’ It features the answer from which I shamelessly nicked the spelling of The Noise—
—so thanks for that, u/[account deleted].
You can check out the full thread here, and below are some highlights:
Header Image Source: Getty Images