Weird shit happens when you age. I know, I’ve been watching it happen to my friends and family for years. And I knew that i would happen to me, one day, when I was in my forties or fifties. Then Mother Nature waved her magic wand and suddenly, I was there… And I’m in my thirties.
Some things started early and I just had to go with it. I had grey hairs in high school. Not a lot, but enough to make me self-conscious about them. Now, I have Vincent Price’s greying temple hair. And for every brown hair, there’s a pigmentation challenged hair hanging around it, just to make it obvious that my hair color needs to come out of a bottle. A few dastardly chin hairs showed up, black in color and as coarse as steel-wool, but it was only a few, nothing tweezers and an expletive couldn’t fix. But that’s common for aging women, so I just deal with, while wondering why they are black while the rest of my hair is whitish-greyish-brown.
My bladder muscle seems to have developed a mental illness. It can empty that receptacle on command no matter how little it contains and hold it at full capacity for extended lengths of time (like plane trips), but you let a sneeze happen… The muscle goes “nope, I’m on break, but good luck to you!”
Wearing the wrong kind of shoes is painful. I used to be able to buy just any old tennis shoe. Now, they have to have arch supports, heel supports, a soft inner lining (I love memory foam shoes and I’m still adjusting to the goga insoles), and be made of breathable material, or else. My new shoes are designed so that when you are just standing, the heel is actually lower than the toes, taking the weight off the balls of my feet and putting it on my heels. Taking a step, any step, is like walking up stairs. When I wear them for several hours, the muscles in the back of my legs start to hurt. If I wear them all day, that ache extends into my buttocks. I’m sure I need to tone those areas, but every time I take a step? They have soft insoles, but they are still torturous.
If it drops below 70 degrees, I’m searching for a hoodie. When it gets below 65, I’m looking for a hoodie, a lap blanket, thermal underwear, and insulated socks. Let it get above 75, and I’m ready to take my freakin’ skin off. I spent 31 years not wearing shorts. A few years ago, I realized that if I didn’t buy a few pairs, I was going to die of heat stroke. Last year, I had to break down and buy canvas shoes and very thin ankle socks to go with the shorts because if my feet get a little toasty, I pant like a St. Bernard in Death Valley during July with no shade. Let the wind blow and chill that sweat and I’ll start shivering. I used to be comfortable at a whole range of temperatures. Now, I’m only happy when in a very narrow window and it occasionally fluctuates.
And chin hairs multiple. Holy shit. That is a massive design flaw in the human body. Women should not grow hair in strange places just because their estrogen levels begin to drop. I’m not using an electric razor every day to get rid of my 5 o’clock shadow, but the plucking now requires more time and more swearing.
There are phantom aches. I’m sore, I know it, but I can’t actually pinpoint where I’m sore. Sometimes, I think it’s just my brain going “I don’t have enough to do today, I should crank up the sensitivity of the pain receptors, randomly, and see what happens.” There are days, I walk with a stoop. There are days when I shuffle-walk because my legs hurt for no reason except that they exist. I know I have arthritis in my hands, but what the hell is up with the other stuff? My hands ache, so a random muscle in my back must also hurt? Is it some sort of sympathy pain?
I used to love going to see bands in concert, now I wonder why they can’t turn the volume down. And I most certainly do not need or want the elaborate light show they are undoubtedly going to have. I hate movie theaters for the same reason. I’m not yet deaf, turn the blasted sound down. And why am I watching a movie in the dark? This isn’t improving the movie, if it sucks, it is going to suck just as much if the lights are on.
My tolerance for public behavior has changed dramatically. I used to roll my eyes and move on. Now, I fantasize about shoving the cell phone down the throat of the person who is talking far too loud on it in a restaurant while her dinner partner eats in silence. Just to clarify, too loud is at all. Phones do not belong at dinner tables. We bitch when telemarketers call during meals, now we make phone calls from restaurants while we dine with other people. I’m also the annoying customer who will ask for a different seat if I find I’ve been seated near a child (or two) who is 1) having a tantrum 2) turning around in the booth to stare at the back of my head or 3) has no inside voice. I’m eating, I do not need a child suddenly shouting “Mommy, I gotta poop” during my meal. One of my nieces is a waitress. Recently, she had a family dining in her section and the child was obviously not feeling well… It vomited all over the place. My niece had to clean it up and the family didn’t apologize or leave. Her tips dropped dramatically during their time in the restaurant. My thought: What the hell!?!? Your kid just puked up pancakes and you want to stay and finish your breakfast, while it cries loudly and whines about not feeling well?!? Uh, no… Not only am I now unable to finish my meal, but you’ve ruined my day, the day of the other customers, and the day of the waitress that had to deal with you and clean up your kid’s puke from the dining room floor.
And foods I used to love that loved me back, no longer even like me a little. I still love them, but they are determined to induce as much pain as possible. I used to eat my food with as much spicy heat as possible, now green peppers tear me apart. Anything with the words “cajun,” “blackened,” or “barbecued” are absolute disasters to my digestive system. I’ll curl into a fetal position and cry from the pain. I really miss these foods and peppers.
Just some thoughts on aging…