Independence Day signals not only the full onset of summer, it’s also the prelude to the anniversary of my appearance on this earth. My birthday is coming along soon and this year I started noticing signs that I’m getting old(er). Here’s the top of mind list:
1. “Teh Yearz, They R Gud 2 U” Last year, on my birthday, I was leaving my parents’ house after a lovely birthday dinner when a neighbor stopped me on my way to the car. It was the son of the people across the street, the man whose sisters had babysat for me when I was little. I only vaguely remembered him, but he knew my name so I figured I must have known him better at some point. I asked politely after his life – wife? kids? Yes, yes, he said, and then he told me I looked great and blurted “the years have been really good to you.” I’d never actually heard anybody say that to anybody’s face before so I sort of stood there wondering if this was a joke, a kid, of some kind. He was very sincere, and I thanked him and went home.
It was months later that I realized I’ve hit the age where people start commenting, “You look good for your age.”
For my age? What does this even mean? Are there standards that get lowered the older you get, such that if you make it to forty without too many varicose veins then you get a gold star for having 35-year-old legs? I know there’s all this pressure to look young, to look good, blah blah blah. And I get that, I feel that pressure too. I just find “you look good for your age” vaguely insulting though I can’t exactly put my finger on why. Is it a backhanded compliment? You’re old, but we’re not going to set you adrift on an ice floe just yet.
2. “Chunky. It’s not just for peanut butter anymore.” I have wobbly bits, yes, and it’s true that I woke up on my 30th birthday to find that the Cellulite People, led by Her Royal Highness Queen Golf ball Bottom, had colonized my entire thigh area from tush to knee and I haven’t been able to launch a successful coup against them – but this is really all just about insecurities. I went to the doctor a few weeks ago because I noticed an alarming increase in my weight. Cause for alarm, no? My doctor, in her kind way, suggested that we cannot eat in our thirties what we ate in our twenties. She also said this is typical in America where we have a typical American lifestyle. She suggested more exercise – 6 days a week. I panicked a little because I think this means something about slowing metabolism and even though I eat well and exercise more than most people I know IT’S STILL NOT ENOUGH. EEGAWDS.
3. “You’re Doing That Old-Lady Thing…” So I’ve developed a Knee Problem. Not a knee problem as in, I need anthroposcopical surgery or a brace or what have you, but my knee has been…let’s say it’s making itself known. Like, I’ll be at work, sitting at my desk, and I will need a drink. When I stand up, my knee is suddenly 80 years old – stiff, a little ouchie. Walking around helps. Yoga helps. And it’s not bad enough that I feel a doctor is necessary. I’ve heard of this stuff happening though. Knee Problems and Hip Problems. I want none of it but my knee isn’t listening. I’m also doing that old-lady squat thing. I drop something on the floor and instead of bending from the waist to pick it up, I sort of squat by bending my knees and put one hand on one thigh and pick up the dropped item with the other hand. I have never seen an 8-year-old do this. Only people who mostly wear things called ‘Housecoats’ all the time, even to the store.
4. “You Must Be This Old to Ride This Ride” I’m so glad I’m not 21 anymore. Or 17, or 12. Really. I don’t care if I have a colony of Cellulitists on my booty, I’ll take everything I’ve got now over everything I didn’t have a clue about then. I was talking to a young lady at work who is 21 and bless her heart, she’s adorable, and she reminds me every day that I’m thankfully far from wearing pajamas to class at 8 am and trying to decipher what boys mean when they want to take you to a mud bog* on a date. I like who I am a lot better than I did then and I really hope this trend continues until I’m 85 and I’m like SUPREMELY AWESOME, at least to myself.
I’m sure in the next few days I’ll be adding to this list, but it’s what was on my mind recently.
*Yeah, I don’t know…don’t ask me.