Monday, September 27, 2010

Visible Signs of Aging

Age used to be so simple—for years, I was always the youngest of any group of people I was with and that made me … YOUNG. Which, for a long time wasn’t what I wanted to be.

I couldn’t wait to graduate from high school, to take my first (legal) drink, to drive a car. I DIDN’T wait to get a fake ID (but I swear, pinky swear, that I never used it to break any laws—you do believe me, don’t you?).

Some in my generation were mistrustful of those over 30—I just thought the over-30s were completely irrelevant at that point, so who cared? When I passed that milestone, I was so mired in working two jobs to support two kids that I hardly even noticed. Thirty, shmirty, I only got two hours of sleep last night and I’ve got to make lunches before the school bus comes!

And the reality is that after 30, the years blur by. One day you’re 30, the next day you’ve got almost two hands worth of grandchildren, and they’re doing all the things you thought were so ambitious and edgy. (And given the number of mistakes I made, let’s hope they do it better than I did!)

I’ve come to terms with my age. After all, 50 is the new 30 and 80 is the new 60 and as long as I’m somewhere in between, it really doesn’t seem to matter at a certain point. I can still cut up my own food and I forget my own cell phone number relatively infrequently. I’ve adapted to cutting edge technology pretty well and am almost ready to buy an IPhone. I actually tweeted one day!

But let’s face it, I’ve got wrinkles in places where I didn’t even know I had places. I’ve accustomed myself to finding gray hairs in surprising places. Don’t look at me that way—I meant my eyebrows and my chin! And I have noticed that all the beautiful people in People magazine are … well, I don’t know who or what they are. I’ve never heard of any of them! But they sure are pretty for the most part, especially that Gaga person.

On most days I feel pretty young, about 40 or so. Looking good, feeling good. (OMG! I just said 40 is young! OMG!)

Until I go to the grocery store.

You know you’re REALLY old when the child who’s bagging your groceries puts it all into separate, small bags that an old fart like yourself can carry to the car. I went through the 10 items or fewer line the other day and had 8 bags to carry out. The eggs in one bag, the rotisserie chicken in one, the package of Prilosec (which probably weighs less than a gram of cocaine, not that I’d know) in one. Thank God I didn’t buy anything in a can or a jar or they definitely would have had to have their own bags.

Now at my advanced age I don’t want to make two trips from the car into the house. Too hard on the knees, you know. So I had to grasp my 8 separate little baggies, along with my purse, my knitting, my half-consumed Diet Pepsi, and the bag of yarn that I needed to sneak into the house because Mr. Pug will have a conniption if one more skein of yarn comes in the door.

Got the picture? Me, struggling to carry all that crap? Not a pretty picture.  I swear I heard my neighbor mutter “what’s that crazy old woman doing NOW?”

So I guess the verdict is in. I’m old. Oh, well, at least it isn't a condition that lasts four hours or more and requires a trip to the ER.