Category Archives: aging

No, DMV. Lie to Me. Oprah Was Wrong. I’m Not Ready…

Standard

This came in the mail today:

 

When is it ever a happy time to hear from DMV?

 

I have been saying the past few months that I’m 45 (except when I feel desperate enough to cling to 44). I do this to prepare myself for the inevitable crest of the iconic Hill that I am supposed to be going Over.

Sneer.

In Virginia, when you’re 45, you have to get your driver’s license renewed. When I turned 40, I was very excited. I still desperately believed in Oprah then.  I can’t anymore.

I stopped in 2008, I remember the day, I joined a Facebook page called “I Bet This Goat Can Get More Fans Than Oprah.” I think I’m still a fan of that page. Oprah became a caricature of herself — first it was the meat wagon and the skinny jeans, then it was the car giveaways, then it was the roadtrip with Gayle and then it was for me… the ultra slap in the face of being out of touch with her fans: the “Oprah’s Favorite Things” list in which she pimped a $300 Coach leather dog collar. She had 5 dogs at the time. $1500 in collars. She built a school in Africa when Chicago’s are in the crapper… not sayin’ the school in Africa isn’t a good idea, just sayin’ some help in her own backyard woulda been nice too.

But I’m not going to make this about Oprah, she has enough problems and I certainly don’t want her to hear about me bashing her.  If she had a Book Club anymore, my book would definitely not be in it, simply because of this stance, nothing else.  My point (which completely derailed itself) being that I was still YAY!, naïve and OK with turning 40, because Oprah idealized it by saying turning 40 was one her Favorite Things (but she couldn’t hawk an age so it didn’t make the actual list) because she said all the falseness dies away.  Really?  Methinks the lady doth protest too much.  I still know a few false people in their 40s, Op-RAH.

As I said to one of my beloved sisters-in-law, whose birthday is exactly a week before my own, that “40 is the new 30.” And that was exciting then, but if 40 was the new 30 then that could mean that 45 is the new 35 now and that’s… not really gonna do it for me anymore.  I desperately want to go back to 23. CARD ME! I’ll buy booze! Card me! Look at me being irresponsible and immature in the cigarette section… CARD Meeeeeee!

I loved going to the DMV when I hit 40, because of Oprah.  I enjoyed having my picture taken then: I was in excellent shape and had treated myself to a new yoga hoodie which I wore in the shot.  I know this year, DMV doesn’t take a new pic, but they might have to because I smiled in the last photo and smiles aren’t allowed when you drive in Virginia. I do know they want to take other information from me: such as my pulse and my ability to stay awake and also see things with my eyes open.  So I get to get my license renewed by the end of September. These are two months that I am going to savor, desperately.

Thank you.

ps – tomorrow: the follow-up / guest-blogger review of my earlier post about the first page of my novel.

when you’re 44: aging and habits.

Standard

A few months ago, I wrote a post called, “When You’re Five Years Old” and it was wildly adored by both my fans.

Actually, four people liked it. It was a fun piece to write because I remembered those days when I was riding my big wheel bike and getting into all sorts of trouble.

These days, I imagine my big wheel is not rotting at the bottom of some massive landfill or beneath an apartment building in Buffalo, NY where I grew up. There is no big wheel in my life anymore. There’s a massive SUV in my driveway and peeling out in that isn’t nearly as fun as the big wheel. It’s freaking terrifying.

I’ve spent the past four days in the midst of some technological administrative duties. What’s seamless to you (my new blog address) is a life-caustic, DNA-shattering death knell for me.

I am old.

I know: 44 isn’t old.

But it is. I feel like the old lady at the bus stop complaining about the loss of the horse and buggy. My recent experiences with technology have shown me how much I hate technology. I feel like channeling Gilda Radner’s Emily Latella lamenting the transition from rotary dial telephones, “What’s all this I’m hearing about touch stone clones?”

The literal heavy lifting we have to do when we move from one home to another: the downsizing, the getting rid of crap we can’t believe we ever held on to, the things we have that don’t make any sense even if you think about a time when they could have made sense (I think my mom has 16 copies of “I’m OK, You’re OK” and myriad miniature inlaid wooden pegboard chess sets), is almost as taxing as the mental heavy lifting of moving a blog.

I don’t know why I “tagged” the words I did. Reformatting and sorting through it all at the moment is a nightmare, but it does show me one thing: despite my supposed lack of interest in being a known, successful writer: the tagging proves otherwise. The tags are like Hansel & Gretel’s breadcrumbs in the forest: I want people to find me. Fixing the tags to make sense is a lot of work.

Waah-waah. I hear you. No one made me start to write a blog and no one made me keep it up and no one made me move it. Google did. Because for my needs: Google stinks. The email updates of new posts weren’t going out to both my readers.

All the moaning aside, I’m happy I’m at this new site and I’ll never move again unless someone does it for me.

Being at WordPress means I can create categories. And once I figure out why that matters, I’ll let you know. Actually, I know: it’s because I write a lot of stuff that’s all over the map. I’ve published 64 posts. Many of the posts have similar themes: humor (I THINK SO), parenthood, mindfulness, authenticity and others. I want people, who might come here to browse, to be able to look for something that might interest them and read it and THEN decide I don’t know what I’m talking about.

I’m good, it’s cool.

So today’s newest category is going to be: Aging.

“Yay!” my mother said when I told her. “Creating a neeew category meeeans you’re expaaanding your writinnnng, Maaaally!”

“No. Well, yes and no. Creating this new category means I’m preparing to die.” I said. “Creating this new category means that I’m experiencing cellular failure and preparing for age-related organ death. I’m being proactive. I don’t want to be caught unawares. The last thing I wanna do is leave this blog for my children to clean up.”

“Ho! Maaaally, you’re so fuuunnnny! You’re nooot dyyyying! You’re tooo yaaaaung!” (And then she changed her voice. It dropped an octave and sounded like a scary almost female John Wayne), “You’ll live forever, kid. Ya gohht good gennnes.”

Woah. Insert my pensive smile and shallow breathing, an old coping skill from my childhood.

“Well, mom, it’s true. I’m dying slowly. My eyes are shot. Taking a splinter out of a toe is an act of futility; I can’t see it so I have to wear reading glasses now.”

“Everyone does. I have fifteen pairs all over the house. What’re you doing going barefoot?! I remember when I started …” she said.

“Aaaaand I creak and moan when I get up from the bed and I have lower back stiffness.”

“Everyone does. I have at least fifteen joints that you can hear two floors down. Just stay in bed. I remember when I started …” she said.

“Yyyyyeah. I … well, I also have to wake up to pee …”

“Everyone does. I pee at least fifteen times a night. I remember when I started …” she said. I guess she had no advice for avoiding the nocturnal peeing trips.

The conversation couldn’t go much longer because I end up doing all the listening. I had to hang up.

So. . . .

When you’re 44 years old, you fret about tomorrow because you can’t remember what’s on the calendar.

When you’re 44 years old, you drive to run halfway around the park you used to run to and then run around.

When you’re 44 years old, your eyes need to adjust between near and far vision and during the transition, everyone looks fuzzy like mold.

When you’re 44 years old, 25 push-ups take as long as doing 15 used to but don’t give the results that 25 used to.

When you’re a 44 year old female you don’t want anyone to touch you because you might burst into flames due to random perimenopausal hot flashes.

When you’re 44 years old, your body is what it is. Chances are you can improve it; it’s worth it if your health is on the line.

When you’re 44 years old, you’re very likely on the downward slope of the rest of your life. If you don’t like how your life is going now, you better get yourself together and fix it.

When you’re 44 years old, you’re the only one in your way. Really, there is no one else to blame. Forget blaming your parents: you’ve been a cellular adult (26) for at least 18 years; it’s time to grow up.

When you’re 44 years old unload the dead weight: stop hanging out with people who drag you down and stop ignoring the sensations we know as intuition: they will never steer us wrong. Even if near-term experiences prove otherwise, in the end: the intuition is right.

When you’re 44 years old live for yourself and stop being who you think others want you to be. If people decide they don’t like you but they can’t say why, give them a reason.

When you’re 44 years old if you’ve got some bad habits that affect your health, change them. It takes 21 days in succession to create a new habit (break an old one) and that’s 21 days of consciousness and awareness.

I’m gonna harp on this habit thing for a moment because I’m really talking to myself, you’re just listening in: regardless of your age, did you know that it takes between 8 and 14 minutes to fight an urge or break a craving? So if you’re fighting an urge to break into a box of Oreos (we get the huge ones from Costco) or have some ice cream or smoke a cigarette or take a drink or buy something you don’t need, know that if you distract yourself for 8 to 14 minutes, if you say to yourself, “I’ll come back to this …” or “Look there’s Elvis!” and start a hunt to find him, you will be able to beat it.

I’m saying all this because while I know 44 is relatively young, my elderly relatives that were still alive when I was in my teens and mid-20s all died before they fully experienced 90. They had some habits that were very hard for them to break and they were also completely immobile when they died as well. I don’t want to be like that. So Mom, if you’re reading this: get up and walk around.

And you guys, if you’re 26 or 16 or 48 or 37: live for yourself and get ready to savor the triumphs and learn from the lessons. Habits can be broken. When you are an adult, you are in charge of your own life.

Thank you.