10 more ways in which I feel old and feeble

You know when you start to notice things and you can’t stop noticing things? These are more of the things I’ve noticed about my ever-aging self.

  1. I fall asleep at 9 p.m. To be fair, when this does happen, I realize I need to check my iron and B12 levels, but I definitely do have a no-plans-after-9-p.m. rule because I just can’t do it anymore.
  2. I worry about the level of my caffeine consumption. One cup of caffeine in the morning, decaf coffee and tea for the rest of the day. If it gets around 4 p.m. and I’m offered a cup of caffeinated coffee, I decline because I don’t want to be kept up at night. These are the boring things elderly people talk about. And now I’m doing it, too.
  3. I drink strategically to avoid headaches and hangovers. It’s just not worth it. Not that it ever has been worth it, but somehow youthful stupidity told me it was. And it’s not even drinking to excess. It’s being careful not to have a glass of red wine too close to bedtime because I’ll wake up with a sugar high and a wine headache. After one glass!
  4. I think about desk ergonomics. Constantly. It’s a constant thought when I’m sitting at my desk, wondering if my heart is above my hip and if my neck is where it should be. Am I stretching forward? Crouching? Sitting too far back? What is an ergonomic, anyway?
  5. I have a standing appointment with a chiropractor. Every month I go in for a 5 minute appointment and get put back together like a broken toy.
  6. I watch – and thoroughly enjoy – travel documentaries. I’m this close to finding Rick Steves, I swear.
  7. I have purchased one of those daily pill holders. Thanks to my recent foray into vitamin and supplement overload (as mentioned in part one of this list), I have found it necessary to purchase an aid to remember my pills. I did buy a cooler version than the classic snap-top Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. one, but it’s still a pill box purchase akin to that of my mother.
  8. I garden. This may not be an old and feeble thing, but considering the green thumb of both my mother and my grandmother, the connotation, to me, is there. Not only do I garden outside, but I’ve purchased real, living plants for my living area. And to add to the connotation, I even have my grandmother’s old brass plant pots to hold them. If you can’t beat them, you copy them 60 years too early.
  9. I forget people and events. Just straight-up forget them. If you’ve come up to me and I’ve spoken to you in an overly friendly, non-specific tone, it’s because I’ve completely forgotten you. Or, if you’re a friend who reminds me of a thing that happened 5, 10 years ago, and I use a tone of voice about an octave higher than my normal tone of voice, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Life is getting too long to remember all of it.
  10. I refuse to give up a good night’s sleepAs a young traveller (you know, like, five years ago), I was totally fine with staying up all night to catch a 4 a.m. flight or sleeping on someone’s floor to save from spending money on a hotel. That is no longer an option. I will pay as much as is required for a proper hotel room with a proper bed. You can keep your hostels and your couch-surfing. I will take comfort and security and a good night’s sleep, thankyouverymuch.

Movies that make me cry: Finding Dory

Not all movies make me cry. I’m not necessarily a major weeper, but if a movie or a TV show strikes just the right chord, then my tears are a melody of all my feels.

That being said, there are some movies that make me cry more than most – and make me cry every time I watch them. This is one of those movies. (Beware: there are obviously spoilers.)

It’s almost not even worth it writing this one because of course Finding Dory made me cry. It’s like Pixar is actually Monsters Inc., but instead of discovering that they can turn laughter into a reusable energy source, they’ve figured out how to do the same with our tears.

Because every Pixar movie has made me cry in some way or another.

So really, it’s no surprise that the sequel to a fish movie that made me cry would also make me cry. I missed seeing it in theatres, so Netflix it was. I was pre-warned by my friend that I’d need a box of tissues near the end, but about halfway through the movie I started to get cocky.

I won’t cry this time. I wrongly thought to myself as Ty Burrell-as-a-beluga made me laugh again. Maybe I don’t cry as much at these kinds of things as I used to.

And by “used to” I mean last month.

But then Dory was lost again. And she trying to remember who she was looking for. And she saw the kelp and went to the kelp. And she saw the sand and went to the sand. And then she saw a shell and remembered she liked shells.

Then she saw another shell.

Then another one.

Then I gasped. And without warning, two dams broke and tears comically poured down my face, down my neck and all over the front of my t-shirt.


Rows and rows and rows of shells. Lined up by her parents who knew that one day she’d come back and one day she’d follow one of the many paths of shells they had been laying out every day since she went missing.

And now, for the foreseeable future, every time I think about that one scene, I’ll just break down crying. If you see it happening, just do me a favour and politely ignore me.

10 ways in which I feel old and feeble

I’m not sure if it’s age or being an adult, but either way there are certain things I’ve noticed in the last year that have made me realize I am now old.

These are some of those things.

  1. Too much sugar will give me an instant headache. I used to be able to eat candy with no noticeable side effects. Granted, my mother probably noticed side effects, but I didn’t. But now I’ve recognized those side effects. And since cutting down on sugar – even in my coffee – I eat three Skittles and get a headache and feel ill.
  2. I now have to stretch to feel like a normal human being. I wake up in the morning with the immediate need to stretch out. I make a slight movement with my shoulder blade and cracks go up and down my spine. Young Me, you took for granted the ability to flit through life, unhindered by sore muscles and skeletal deficiencies.
  3. I have back and hip problems. And that’s a thing that I have to say to people to explain shortcomings. “Can we not go for too long a walk? My hip is out again.” My hip is out again? Yes, it is. I went for a long walk yesterday and today I’m limping – I repeat, limping – from bed to couch to kitchen.
  4. I make noises when I stand up or sit down. This has been happening for a few years. I didn’t really notice it until one day I was babysitting a three-year-old niece and, after a few hours of hanging out with her, I noticed she’d make little grunting noises when standing up and sitting down. And I realized she was parroting me.
  5. Exercise has become a necessity. I hate exercise. I’ve always hated it. P.E. was the bane of my existence even more than Bane is the bane of Batman’s existence. When I was in my early 20s, a friend tried to get me into running. I did it once and decided that was enough to last a lifetime. But now if I don’t regularly go for walks or do at-home-YouTubed yoga, I can feel it.
  6. When you see yourself through youth’s eyes, and feel ancient. I’ve never had an appreciation for youth culture. They’ve always scared me a bit, even when I was a youth myself. But the other day I was out for a brisk walk in mom yoga pants and sensible walking shoes and I walked past three teens in plaid shirts and crop tops sitting on the ground on a cement path. As I power-walked past them, I saw their stares of horror. As if they couldn’t imagine being that old. I was not a cool 20-something to them. I may as well have stopped to talk about the war and chided them on their clothing choices the way they were looking at me.
  7. I watched Poirot, and I liked it. To those who don’t know, Poirot is a British TV series based on Agatha Christie’s novels. They’re murder mysteries set in the 1920s that are a favourite of the over 40 crowd. Or possibly over 60. Forty-somethings are increasingly becoming cool. Jennifer Aniston has probably never seen Poirot. I watched one episode as a bit of a joke because a now-famous actor was in it 12 years ago. But then I realized I enjoyed it. And it’ll probably continue popping up on my Netflix recently watched queue.
  8. I’m considering taking night classes to keep my mind sharp. No joke. Art classes, pottery classes, writing classes, Bible studies, history courses, linguistic classes. These are all things that have at one point or another been googled by me. My aging mind needs stimulation and night classes seem to be a viable option.
  9. I take vitamins every morning. For years, my mom would start her day with her set of vitamins. And that always seemed like such an elderly practice to me (sorry, Mom!). But now, every morning, I open a little tin recipe box on my counter and pull out – not recipes – but a set of vitamins to keep me healthy. Vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B, multivitamin, omega-3… is this the beginning of the end?
  10. I fear falling in the tub. You’ve see the commercials. An elderly woman with white hair can’t face the trials of getting in and out of a tub, so she purchases a bar or one of those tubs with a door and a seat. Almost every time I shower, there’s a moment of extra concentration when I step out of the tub. It’s even worse when I take a bath because standing up not only requires strategic movements, but it’s coupled by the grunt I make when getting up anyway, which makes me feel that much more ancient.

Sadly, this list could continue – and probably will continue – as I hobble nearer the end of my third decade and stare down the big 3-0 ahead of me.

Movies that make me cry: Fundamentals of Caring

Not all movies make me cry. I’m not necessarily a major weeper, but if a movie or a TV show strikes just the right chord, then my tears are a melody of all my feels.

That being said, there are some movies that make me cry more than most – and make me cry every time I watch them. This is one of those movies. (Beware: there are obviously spoilers.)

Every now and then, you find a gem of a movie.

Some movies masquerade as gems, when in actuality they’re just dull rocks that make you really bored. Some are dirty rocks that leave you feeling gross. Some are hopeless rocks that leave you feeling, well, hopeless. Some masquerading gems are too weird to comprehend. Some seem to be going well and then they rip your heart out (I’m looking at you, Frank!)

And then Netflix offers you a buddy movie that’s sweet and funny and, yes, heartbreaking, but it’s also redeeming. It doesn’t leave you drowning in a pit of tears. I mean a pit is involved in the movie, but it’s not a pit of tears. Actually it’s kind of a pit of piss, but it’s quite sweet, you know, once you’ve watched the movie.

Paul Rudd is of course lovely as Ben. Not just because he’s had my heart since his Clueless days and he astounds me with his agelessness, but because he brought a comfortable realness to the role that showed, as his character says, a decent guy just trying to help people out.

Craig Roberts is not someone I was previously acquainted with, so he has no claim on my heart like Mr. Rudd does, but he was so great as Trevor, a young man who voluntarily lives a small life with an uneventful routine, only seeing things through his TV, assuming his Duchenne muscular dystrophy is limiting his life. That is until Ben shows him otherwise – through a week-long road trip to see a few of those hideous roadside attractions Americans seem to love so much.

Their relationship is wonderful and quirky and sweet. But if I’m being honest, that’s not what made me cry. Actually, quite the opposite. Their relationship is what made me laugh out loud several times in the form of everything from a chuckle to a guffaw.

No, the thing that had me crying was when you find out what happened to Ben’s son. I’m shaking my head even as I write this. That’s what had me crying.

Movies that make me cry: Away We Go

Not all movies make me cry. I’m not necessarily a major weeper, but if a movie or a TV show strikes just the right chord, then my tears are a melody of all my feels.

That being said, there are some movies that make me cry more than most – and make me cry every time I watch them. This is one of those movies. (Beware: there are obviously spoilers.)

John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph. Not enough people know about the brilliance of this movie. As if it didn’t have you at John and Maya, there’s also Jeff Daniels, Catherine O’Hara, Allison Janney, Jim Gaffigan, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chris Messina – need I go on?

All right, so I know just because the cast sounds amazing, that does not an amazing movie make. Just look at Rise of the Guardians – not the owl movie, as I originally suspected. It’s an animated flick boasting the likes of Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin and Jude Law. Rise of the Guardians may be great for kids who think they’re about to watch owls, but it’s not a real tear-jerker. It’s quirky and strangely cute, but it doesn’t leave you a mess in the same beautiful way Away We Go does.

Away We Go is like a diamond in the rough. The kind of diamond you look at and end up curled in the fetal position with an emptied box of tissues dialing your mom’s phone number to tell her you love her.

A bearded Krasinski and a preggers Rudolph (as opposed to a pregnant Rudolf) are faced with the decision of where to live when his parents, curly-haired O’Hara and bespectacled Daniels, decide to move to Antwerp two months before the baby is to be born. Do they live in Arizona near her crazy ex-boss, Janney, and her unhinged family and a short drive from Rudolph’s sister? Do they move to Wisconsin to be near his childhood hippy friend Gyllenhaal with her seahorse-obsessed husband? Do they live in Montreal with their college friends, Messina and baby-in-a-bar girl from Sweet Home Alabama, who have a perfect adopted family? Do they live in Miami with his brother who’s recently become a single dad, Mark Brendanawicz from Parks & Rec?

There are a couple points that make me bawl. First, when her and her sister are bathtub shopping in Arizona and they both climb into a showroom tub so her sister can pretend to wash her hair like their mom used to before she died. That whole scene just kills me and the halted conversation they’re having by talking about it but not really talking about it just teems with so much pain I can’t even begin to imagine.

The other scene is when they’re in Miami and he is trying to track down his brother’s runaway wife who left her husband and her daughter. He’s pacing back and forth on a trampoline at midnight trying to track down this woman who he says tore his brother’s family apart and broke that little girl’s heart. And then she climbs onto the trampoline – while very much pregnant in the comfiest muumuu I’ve ever seen – and for the first time, you find out why they’ll never get married and it starts to break your heart and open the floodgates of your tear ducts. And then they exchange vows. The sweetest, most wonderful, most tear-gland-splicing vows I’ve ever seen in a film. Even as I type this I’m getting choked up.

Krasinski: Do you promise to let our daughter be fat or skinny or any weight at all? Because we want her to be happy, no matter what. Being obsessed with weight is just too cliché for our daughter.
Rudolph: Yes, I do. Do you promise, when she talks, you’ll listen? Like, really listen, especially when she’s scared? And that her fights will be your fights?
Krasinski: I do. And do you promise that if I die some embarrassing and boring death that you’re gonna tell our daughter that her father was killed by Russian soldiers in this intense hand-to-hand combat in an attempt to save the lives of 850 Chechnyan orphans?
Rudolph: I do. Chechnyan orphans. I do. I do.

It’s so sweet!

And then the final scene, well, the last twenty minutes or so because the final scene happens right after the trampoline scene so the tears are already a-flowin’. They go home. And throughout the movie the director Sam Mendes has been cutting between the travel scenes with “AWAY TO ARIZONA” or “AWAY TO MONTREAL” and then this scene just says “HOME” and the tears start going. And then they pull up and see the tree with all the plastic fruit on it! My face is a mess. And then they slowly drive up the overgrown driveway and see the house – the wonderful, beautiful, magical house with chipped paint and old windows and a chain-link fence, and I start to lose it again. And then they silently, all so silently, pull open the door and it’s huge and monumental and I’m a complete mess. I’m not even watching the movie right now and I’m a mess. I need to lean away from my computer lest I drown my tears.

And then they sit. And it’s perfect. And… excuse me. I have to go watch this movie right now, but first I have to make a Costco run for bulk tissues.

Confession: Sometimes being courageous is picking a chocolate blindly

Courage can manifest itself in many ways.

Sometimes it’s having a difficult conversation with a difficult person.

Sometimes it’s going to the top of the Empire State Building when you’re terrified of heights.

Sometimes it’s going to an interview for a job you really want and trying not to let anxiety get the best of you.

This Christmas, it was working my way through a box of assorted Purdy’s chocolates without using the included guide.

You may not think this is courageous, but you would be wrong. Forrest Gump told us life was like a box of chocolates because you never know what you’re gonna get, but that’s just not true. For the entirety of my lifetime, I have been able to stare at the little guide in a box of chocolates and try to match up the little picture with the little chocolates. Is that a cherry or a caramel? You stare with great concentration at the swirl in the picture and stare at the swirl on the chocolate. You then decide it is caramel and move on because caramel is not your favourite. Is that an almond cluster or a peanut cluster? You stare at the shape in the picture and compare it against the shape in the box. It’s great detective work, but it’s a little cowardly.

So this year, I decided to risk it all by going square by square, row by row.

It has been a wild ride, guys. I highly recommend it.

Confession: I sometimes believe in Santa Claus

Not normally, I assure you. I’m well aware of the difference between fiction and reality. And I understand that the ever-changing history of the myth and the cultural differences in the tradition negate the idea of a universal Father Christmas figure.

However, whenever I watch a Christmas movie that aims to help children understand the magic of Christmas, there’s always a moment when I find myself believing.

In Miracle on 34th Street, there’s that moment when Kris Kringle is on trial and everyone is saying “we believe.” A little girl puts a poster in her window, union workers share their support, and even the CEO of Cole’s Department Store shares his belief in a commercial. I know Richard Attenborough is a psychotic dinosaur lover in Jurassic Park, but he’ll always be the real Kris Kringle to me – if only for a moment.

In Elf, when a blonde Zooey Deschanel starts singing to spread Christmas cheer, there’s a small part of me that wonders if my lack of belief 99.999% of the time is causing Ed Asner to crash his sleigh in New York City.

In The Santa Clause, I better understand the skepticism Tim Allen has at the beginning of the movie now that I’m a grown-up. And I also better understand when he hides that doubt for the sake of his son’s imagination. But then he’s forced to start believing. The weight gain. The facial hair. The reindeer following him. The hundreds of bright red boxes containing the list that best-character-ever Bernard sent him. And then he shakes the snow globe and sees the magic of Christmas and becomes Santa, and I think, “Yup!”

In Arthur Christmas, I get pretty excited when Arthur finds his Christmas spirit again and stops at nothing to bring Gwen her present. And when she sees him covered with snow with his red windbreaker puffed up by the wind, I find her childlike belief contagious.

In The Polar Express, I spend most of my time trying not to look directly at the animation. It’s just a bit odd, and the whole sequence with the Tom Hanks hobo on top of the train is somehow unsettling. But then at the end, you find out that you can’t hear the bell unless you believe, and I want to hear it, too. Plus, Josh Groban is singing at me to believe, so I do.

And then the moment passes and I remember that Christmas isn’t about Santa and presents and the commercialism of modern festivities. So I watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and cry when Linus drops both his blanket and some serious truth.