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.

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.

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.

Confession: I feel the need to constantly cite my sources

It’s a problem. And it’s a problem I don’t know how to fix.

I blame a guy named Ken.

I told a Demetri Martin joke in high school and he laughed so hard, I thought he was going to pass out. As the laughter died down, I mentioned that it wasn’t my joke. The look on his face was one of betrayal.

Ever since then, I’ve cited my sources. When I make a joke that is someone else’s, I preface it with, “There’s this hilarious comedian John Mulaney – you should watch both his Netflix specials – who has a joke about shushing animals.”

Sometimes it’s even worse. Like when I make a reference to a TV show and immediately have to explain the premise of the show and characters’ backgrounds. What follows is often an awkward period of time in which I quote the scene verbatim to fully explain the reference.

Even though I know no one cares.

*Why am I like this meme*

Confession: I might be a hoarder

I like to keep things because of sentimental reasons.

I’ve got it totally under control, though. When I moved I even recycled my four-foot stack of magazines.

Well, okay, I mostly got rid of them. Now it’s just two feet of People StyleWatch and Glamour. And it’s a decorative element in my TV stand, so it’s totally legit.

Today, though, I decided that my collection of heels should be dealt with, considering I never wear them anymore and some pairs I’ve maybe worn once.

For a while, heels were my weakness because they made my feet look so damn good (even if, after a few hours, they’d make my feet hurt so damn good). Some people impulse buy gum. But I impulse bought heels from the clearance section. But it’s time. It’s time to be honest that these shoes are taking up precious shelf space. It’s time to say goodbye.

So, cue music, an ode those heels that murder my feet within seconds of putting them on.

Confession: I blow-dry my hair in my car

If you tell me you’ve never done this, you’re a liar.

Or you’re a classier person than me.

The problem is I really like sleep and I am cursed with an incredibly comfortable bed. So when I shower in the morning, sometimes I don’t always make it to my ancient hot tools.

Nope, I have to stop myself.

The problem is I don’t know how to use my ancient hot tools.

I never mastered the skill of blow-drying my hair. A good blow-out is not something that’s within my long list of notable capabilities (e.g., reaching the top shelf, opening jars without the help of a man, starting and never finishing DIY projects, sometimes not biting my nails, etc.).

So I often try to shower at night because then it’s like the lottery when I sleep on wet hair – what will my hair look like? Will there be an inexplicable wave to it because it was scrunched a certain way onto my pillow? How many bobby pins will be required to manage my mostly dry hair in the morning? Will my part be channeling trends from the 1990s à la Kelly Kapowski so I can put it up in a bun like the 1890s à la Agnes Towler? That’s a lottery I’m okay with playing.

90s hair

The other option is to shower in the morning and either go to work with obviously wet hair like I’m some kind of weirdo or put it up in a bun that keeps my thick hair wet all day long so that when I take the bun out at the end of the day, it’s still as though I just showered.

The solution, I’ve found, is to utilize the air vents in my car that point at my face. I usually reserve these for really hot days when I need air-conditioning blasting at my gross, sweaty complexion. But on some mornings, I turn up the heat, open the vents and dry my hair as I drive to work – just enough to make it look as though I have dry hair, even if it’s not fully dry (the hair at the back of my head will never be completely dry within 24 hours of washing it).

And voilà! Blow-out achieved.

No one need know how.

(Except you, dear reader. But please keep it a secret. It’s a tad embarrassing.)