My body doesn’t like getting old. Or giving in to old age.

Two weeks ago, I let myself go. it was a deliberate thing. My dance partner was leaving KL. I spent two weeks in the Philippines eating and hardly exercising. I was suffering from a knee injury that I acquired while forcing my turn out, dancing with Jack. A 20- something was flirting with me in a way that was so real, I became so ashamed of my dirty, old self. It was unlikely that I was dancing anything important in January. Time to retire? Time to let the fat creep onto the bones and, oh horrors, stay? Time for my body to let age catch up? Time to be 41?

Body says no. In the most painful way possible.

After a week of just eating, a week of letting the belly fat creep over the abs until there are no abs to speak of, a week of no physical exercise whatsoever (except for the mandatory walk in and out of campus, which I do because it calms me, rather than it counts as physical exercise), a week of no dancing, I spend 4 hours sitting in a car on the way to Penang, the rest of that day sitting in several restaurants, the next day sitting in an arts conference. And my back started to hurt. SO BAD that I could barely walk.

I googled my symptoms and the resulting pages all said, you sit down too much. Or I sat down so much after a lifetime of refusing to sit down (even when I was working in an office, I was hardly ever sitting at my desk; also, I drove officemates crazy with my sit-stand desk). At first I thought, oh no, my body is succumbing to its old age. I lay sadly prone in my hotel bed, in pain and unable to move, thinking, this is probably what 41 feels like, and sighed as I accepted the rest of my life.

Today, I was coerced into dancing in the closing improv jam at the arts conference I attended (one does not simply say no to Joseph Gonzales), and we joked that nobody could lift me and I should just do stately walking around with my arms, and my body upright. But the energy was such that walking around upright was out of place and, next thing you know, I’m rolling on the floor, and doing grand allegro around the ballroom.

And then… my back was fine. Not 100% okay again, but better than before I started dancing. As if dancing was the solution. I did try to stretch the day before and continued to try the next day, and simply bending forward was just death. But when I got up to dance, it’s like the God of Death said, Not today.

So now, I’m thinking, maybe my body hasn’t given in to old age. Maybe it’s angry at me because I considered it. Okay, okay.