Welcome to middle age.
I begin most stories with, “I can’t remember if I told you this or not.” I don’t exactly know when this started- but I think it was a part of “pregnancy brain” that never went away- just morphed into new and different forms of amnesia.
Ah, it feels like just yesterday I was making fun of old people for telling the same stories over and over. I’m sorry old people, I am you now. The other day I was listening to Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 hit, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and I felt like she was referring to Middle Age.
Every now and then I get a little bit nervous
That the best of all the years have gone by
Every now and then I get a little bit terrified
And then I see the look in your eyes
I’m assuming that "look in your eyes" she refers to is cataracts, but I haven’t gotten to that part yet. Oh joy.
I’m too young to shop at Chicos, and feel a little ridiculous at American Eagle. I’ve created an imaginary teenage daughter backstory in case anyone asks if I’m lost and wonders what I’m doing there. Comfortable wins over fashion 7 days a week.
I can’t lie- sometimes I look around and think- Is this it?
I’m not famous. I never wrote a best seller. I gave up on climbing the career ladder thirteen years ago when my boys were born. Those tiny babies grew into a a 12 and 14-year-old who feed and clothe themselves. My very existence annoys them. Forget singing along, I’m not even allowed to tap to the beat of the oldies music (90’s gangsta rap) playing in my car. I’ve been chastised for looking at them too long. “Mom, Stop,” is a common phrase in our household. One day I’m wiping their butt after they poop, and the next I’m not even allowed near the bathroom if they are in there.
I’ll never have flat abs or perky breasts again. Most nights I prefer my bed, a book, a heating pad and my three dogs to anything else the world at large has to offer. And then I wonder why I’m lonely.
I’ve come to the realization that I never did get to marry George Michael- I fondly remember my 8th Grade self obsessively reading the Faith Album’s cassette tape cover lyrics. He in fact will never be my Father Figure. (sigh)
And marriage is positively nothing like a John Hugh’s film. Think more co-parenting and less rom com. It’s hard as hell and frequently leaves both of us feeling under-appreciated and misunderstood.
A big hobby of mine is attending Doctor appointments. At least that’s the story I tell myself because I go to so many.
“Are you still getting your period?” the had to have just finished medical training Physician Assistant asked me at my annual appointment. “YES,” I answer defensively with a scoff. (I mean the nerve, never mind she’s holding my chart with my date of birth on it and the question isn’t as out of line as it feels.) Menopause. I picture a kind and cuddly looking grandma. She is knitting and on the front of some brochure for Menopause. She is NOT me. I am not her.
Aging. There is discussion about this topic at every single Doctor appointment for every body part that I attend. Every single doc. I can’t get away from it.
You are offering me bifocals?! Where in the Costco did you get your optometrist degree? I’m too young for those even though I now can’t see near or far apparently. That’s not the point. I AM A YOUNG COOL MOM.
Aging is front and center at my Orthopedist office where I go for knee injections. My Doctor said– “Well, as we age Inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints leads to osteoarthritis. Did they teach you to use “we” in med school Dr. Doogie Howser? You aren’t a day over 30 and I can tell from here your cartilage is doing just fine. Enjoy it before it hardens and wears away!
At least my tastes have become more refined, I lamented to a friend when stating that I now liked red wine and dark chocolate. She informed me that our tastes buds DIE AS WE AGE. I begged Google to prove her otherwise. It refused.
“As we age, the number of taste buds that we have decreases. This usually begins to occur in our 40s if we're female or in our 50s if we're male. At the same time, our remaining taste buds also begin to shrink, or atrophy, and do not function as well.”
Listen, sorry to be a buzz kill. I don’t know where the silver lining in the Golden Years lies. The Cosmo magazines I dog eared in my 20’s, promising I’d have my life and confidence perfected by my 40’s was a crock for me. Many days I still feel like that insecure teenager trying to figure out how the rest of the world seems to know how to navigate life with much more finesse than I possess.
But I do know there is power in sharing the most vulnerable parts of our soul, and maybe, just maybe you feel this way too.