On Turning 49...
On Turning 49
There is nothing about watching the Olympics on tv or watching Miss America in person that makes a girl feel good about examining herself as she turns 49. Unless you are that Olympian who was competing at the age of 42 (a fact which was more announced than her actual name, Jo Pavey) or one of the former Miss- something’s (they have designers who still want them to wear their dresses and still get to wave at everyone), you tend to feel a little has-been or used-to-be. Especially when it is summer and you’re pale and puffy and have been desperately trying to suck in your arms since May. And don’t even get me started on that new thing a happening to my neck skin. But I digress. Why does getting older have a tiny twinge (ok, somedays a major stabbing pang) of sad that comes with it?
I am all too aware that growing older is a privilege that many don’t get, and I’m not ungrateful for the life I have behind me and (hopefully, God willing) in front of me. I know there is an 80-something year old woman somewhere shaking her head at me in a scolding “just you wait, honey!” manner. And I’m a generally happy person with a lovely life that still feels full of promise and possibility. I don’t take any of that for granted. What I was NOT expecting, however, is the kick in the gut feeling that turning 49, which is pretty much 50, brought with it. I got sad. I wasn’t sure why, and then it came to me.
I was using other people as a measuring stick for what I should look like. I was using other people as a measuring stick for what I should accomplish or have accomplished already. I was using other people as a measuring stick for what I shouldn’t love about myself or my life. I was apples and orange-ing MYSELF. And that, my friend, will make anyone sad.
Being sad about who WE are compared to who we think OTHERS are is pretty much just asking to be sadder. So I’m going to try to stop it. I’m going to try to offer myself the same kindness and acceptance I would offer anyone else. I’m not going to let what the dismal odds of having a great career in my field for women of my age are, what the amount of scrolling down to find the year I was born on those online forms does to my finger, or what the frequent exclamations of, “Wow, I didn’t think you were THAT old” conveys about people feel about the number 49 get in my head. Because they can only make me as sad as I let them. I won’t let them. I will, however, accept any samples of neck cream you care to send me.
Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. Sometimes, there is a glitch. Glitches come in the form of a thunderstorm that knocks the power out, rendering your TV and fridge useless. Glitches come in the form of a stomach bug that keeps you on the potty all day, pretty sure you will never be able to leave the house again. Glitches come in the form of a forgotten wallet that you have to explain to a non-English speaking nail tech after you’ve already had your manicure. Glitches come in the form of your husband having a psychotic break that makes staying married to him an impossible task. And there is really only one way to handle a glitch. Get over, around or through it.
No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it: Divorce is not delightful. In my case, neither was dealing with the mental illness that took over my husband. Horrible things happened, not limited to but including various visits from police, crisis intervention, and neighbors curious about the yelling and proliferation of lawn ornaments and rocks my husband kept buying in his manic state. Hard stuff. And I have no profound words of wisdom for those of you going through anything similar. Only this: Get over, around, or through it.
How do you do that? I’ll let you know once I’ve done it. But here’s what I know so far. It’s ok to be upset that your forever didn’t actually last forever. It’s ok to take a minute to cry. It’s ok to move forward while glitches try to hold you back. And it’s ok, even necessary, to believe that there is still reason to laugh. It’s ok to believe there is still magic and love waiting just for you. And it’s ok to know, as sure as you know the world is round, the dryer eats socks, and global warming is really a thing, you can make it over, around, or through.
Happy Holidays & Stuff
Ho ho ho, etc! As I sit here slumped on the couch in my Christmas pajamas and try to pull a piece of tape off of one of the dogs and figure out which cat pooped under the tree, it seems like the best time to wish you and yours a lovely holiday season and stuff. I hope that you are filled with peace and joy, enjoying time with the ones you love the most, and not feeling like you to want to rip the head off all people competing with you for parking at the mall. May the spirit of Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) be with you as you greet the morning, stub your toe and try desperately not to yell the “f” word within earshot of the kids, and may your day be merry, bright, and less annoying than you fear it will be. Peace.
I Think Its A Trick
I bought some new make up today. I’m not sure what I’m expecting, but clearly I’m expecting some sort of miracle, as I paid $62.50 for it, “it” being a tube of something that claims it is going to “exactly match my skin.” Now that I think about it, I think it’s a trick. After all, my opinion of my skin as it currently looks is what spurred me on to buy make up in the first place, so I’m thinking that the fact that it will “exactly” match my skin” may not be it’s best quality. Seriously, how did THAT become its big selling point, people? If we are going to “exactly match our skin,” why the heck do we need it? Our skin is exactly what we see as the problem, and we have let ourselves be tricked into thinking that what we need to fix our skin is something that, well, looks exactly like our skin. Why do I fall for that? People, please. If you see me fall for clothes that try to convince me to buy them because they “exactly match my naked body, “ stop me.
Better Homes And What?
Somehow, I have ended up on the receiving end of a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens magazine. How this honor was bestowed upon me, I’m not sure. But it keeps showing up, this monthly reminder of my inadequacies as a person who is not the least bit concerned with better homes or even the very existence of a garden. I’m not sure why I keep leafing through it, this pretentious pusher of ideas for making decorative vases out of gourds and snow globe centerpieces out of stray socks. All it does is make me feel insecure about my lack of interest in crafting of all types, and my bucket of crap to feel insecure about is already pretty full, thank you very much. What is it about magazines that make us feel that the pages within will offer us some insight as to how our lives will be more fulfilled and more organized if we pay attention to the advice offered by writers who are also probably feeling just as unfulfilled and unorganized as their target demographic? I don’t know, but I’m not going to let myself keep feeling this way. So damn you, Better Homes and Gardens! Keep your crafting, cooking, and gardening tips to yourself. I’m going to put you in the pile of stuff in intend to recycle when I’m not too busy to get organized, and I’m going to feel fine about myself . Well, I’m going to feel fine about myself until the Victoria Secret catalog arrives…
I know that I am getting older, and that is fine. In fact, there are many ways in which it is downright liberating. But I HATE what’s happening to my knees. The crackling and creaking and strange changes in range of motion are disconcerting. Add to that an old injury that contributes to the wear and tear of one of the dastardly joints, and I have a right knee that is actually about 87 years old in, well, knee years. As a result, I’ve been hobbling around and experiencing pain. Which is interfering with my exercise habits. Now, I should mention that another part of the aging thing is an increased need for the aforementioned exercise habits, as it turns out my body only needs about 17 calories a day to live, and my muscles go slack if I miss a day of Jazzercise. So the knee thing is REALLY disruptive. According to the x rays and the doctor who read them, I have lots and lots of bone spurs AND arthritis. The “good” news is that there is apparently something that can be INJECTED INTO MY KNEE CAP to make it feel better. Oh goody. But hey, I’ll take it- sign me up!!!! But this is America, I have health insurance, and it’s not that simple. First, the insurance company people (who have never actually observed my knee) have to decide if they agree with the orthopedic doctor (who has indeed observed my knee) and will pay for the injection. Then and only then can I schedule the appointment to have the stuff jammed into my knee. So after studying paperwork, the insurance company folks have decided (after a week, during which I’ve been in pain, braced, and hobbling) that the injection is a good idea. Yay! I will call the doctor to schedule the procedure!!!! But nope- again, not that simple. You see, apparently, the insurance company does not want the doctor to use the drug he already has in stock in his office in my knee. They will only ship the EXACT SAME MEDICATION to MY HOME. Because clearly a person with no medical training whatsoever is the best choice to send injectable drugs to. And for this shipment of medication, the doctor’s office that already has the drug and is eventually going to put it in my knee must fax the insurance company to authorize them to send another dose to my home. Which will take about 10 days. Now, I have questions. WHO set up this system, first of all? WHY do I have to have medication that can only be administered by a physician delivered to my home? HOW can any of this be cost effective? And WHAT is going to happen as the rest of me falls apart? To be continued…
Oh good, spring is here! Which I am thrilled about in all respects except for one: getting dressed. First of all, I’m not ready for any of my parts to show yet. Please note that by “parts”, I mean arms and legs. They’re not ready. Hours and hours of Jazzercise and occasional denial of a potato chip craving have been fairly helpful, but my parts are still not where I think they should be. So I’m having a hard time selecting clothes that are seasonally appropriate in appearance, but offer coverage much like those I’d wear when visiting a religiously conservative Middle Eastern nation. Of course, I have nothing suitable in my actual collection of clothes, so I stand frowning at myself, wondering if bigger hair will make my arms look less like thighs…
There's a lot to be said for an ordinary day. An ordinary day with no show, no appointments, no elaborate plans, just a normal, uneventful day. An ordinary day is what I was having when I heard the news of the unspeakable tragedy Newtown, Connecticut. While I was wondering about the mundane issues such as what to wear, what to eat, what to work on, what homework to grade, what presents to buy, and who to confront about the lack of toilet paper on the roll in the downstairs bathroom, there were those who were in the throes of a horror I cannot begin to wrap my brain around. I can only let myself even try to imagine the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School for fleeting moments; any more than that levels me completely. I am blessed to be in my ordinary day. And I am wishing, hoping, and praying for some semblance of peace, healing, and strength for those people whose loss is beyond measure. Those lost in this most heartbreaking act of senseless violence will hold a special and revered place in the hearts of so many, mine among them, forever. Please, let us be good to each other.
Yes I Am That Lazy
So I have been wearing a skirt sideways all day. See, I didn’t really pay attention to how the skirt went on after the battle with the twisted tights with holes in the toes that I’d wrestled my way into prior to any skirt application. And after deciding that I could totally get away with the stain on my sweater buy using the “oh wow, that must have just happened trick”, even though the stain has been present for over a year now, the skirt just seemed like the easy part. Sigh. It’s sideways placement unnoticed by me until I removed it, wondering about the odd new location of the slit. I’m wondering if I wear in the correct direction tomorrow, will anyone notice it’s the same one I had on today? Yes, I am that lazy.
I Do Not Cook
I do not cook. And I don’t understand how millions of people seem to take on the task, as often as three times a day without losing their minds, blowing something up, or punching a hole in the wall. First of all, where does the TIME to cook come from? Seriously. By the time I am showered, dressed, fed dogs, changed clothes after being jumped on by said fed dogs, remembered to tell the kids to get up, packed up like a Sherpa to teach middle school, the idea of COOKING is downright comical. Not just breakfast, either. People I have met have already considered DINNER before leaving for work. And you know what? That just pisses me off. Because I am celebrating the fact that I found a left AND a right shoe that match each other, and anything beyond that would just be showing off. So when I tell my kids to “grab something” and go, I clearly do NOT measure up to the women I know who walk into work not only with matching shoes, but regaling tales of the herb crusted chicken they are actually EXCITED about to make for dinner…. And they also COOKED breakfast and PACKED lunch. Who ARE these people? Now, understand that my kids are old enough to figure this out on their own… If by the age of 12, you are hungry and can’t figure out what to do about it, you don’t necessarily deserve to live. The way I see it, it’s a pretty basic thing. Hungry? Well, eat. I do not see why I need to be involved in the process. Is that so wrong????