Saturday, February 13, 2016

Middle Age; The Short List

Several truths of middle age that no one will ever tell you about (until it is too late); these are the things I think about when I am stuck at my desk fulfilling the tasks that are required of me to be a successful adult (When really, I would rather be outside playing).

1. You will drown in paperwork. You will spend hours of your life sorting through applications for health insurance, sports team sign-ups, vehicle registration, employment forms, school permission slips, jury duty surveys, mortgage applications and tax documents. You'll hate it and wish you could pawn it off on someone else but find that there is actually no one who can save you from this dreadful fate.

2. In your late 30s your skin starts to loosen. Those small, fine ridges that you observed on the arms of your grandma have now become the same topography  you observe on your own arms. Suddenly, your evenly toned pigment begins to dissolve to reveal every scab you ever picked, every sunburn you ever regretted, every cut or scrape that you forgot you even received. Its all there, written out in the colorless blotches that now begin to spread over your hands.  Your veins begin to fatten and pucker; popping up like a hidden mountain range in purple and green.

3. Hair grows at an astounding rate. Your eyebrows, nose hairs, chin hairs, lip hairs, mole hairs, shoulder hairs, back hairs, ear hairs, belly hairs.... all take on a life of their own as the hair on your head that you are accustomed to caring for coarsens, grays and may eventually fall out. Slowly, you spend more time managing all the funky unwanted hairs than the hair you actually like on your body. You invest in multiple pairs of tweezers and stash them in emergency locations (like your purse).

4. My God! You own a purse, and its getting bigger. Probably to hold all that paperwork....and all the other odds and ends that you now seem to require on a daily basis just to make it through life. Gone are the days of a tube of chapstick and a $20 bill stuffed into the front pocket of your jeans.

5. Your favorite music is at least 20 years old. Yep, it happened. Somehow along the way you stopped spending your life's energy keeping up on the most popular, most hip, most cutting edge new bands and found that really, all you wanted to listen to on this beautiful sunny day was the Cure. You still attend shows but have found that even your favorite bands are now touring acoustically and with assigned seats. Eventually, your kids will discover that everything that you have been forcing them to listen to all these years is actually Not That Cool when you are under the age of 30. And, even more cruelly, when you do start to find yourself gravitating toward modern day talents, you start to feel awkward and creepy; like that old dude who always stood at the back of the show and you wondered why the hell he was still hanging out with a bunch of kids. Congratulations, that is now You.

6.You want to go to bed early. Your parents weren't actually as lame as you thought they were. You really do get tired more easily as you get older. Must be all that shitty paperwork....

7. It's harder to stay strong. Part of the loose skin issue mentioned in #2 comes from the ever-decreasing muscle mass that actually took up space under all that skin. Take pictures of yourself in a bikini now...your days of  looking good in it are numbered. You feel every major injury you ever received and realize that if you stop moving now, you will remain forever stuck in an arthritic stupor that will never loosen its grip. You decide to start drinking lots of water just to keep your eyes from sinking into your skull, exposing the dark circles that show exactly just how old you are becoming.

8. Sugar doesn't taste as good. Probably because now, every time you eat it, you feel it gnawing away at your receding gums, the root canal you should have gotten last year or the cavity that seems to be forming just to the side of your last filling. Your teeth are f*d up, but at least they haven't started falling out....yet....

9. You now know with certainty that you are never going to retire. All those aspirations you had when you were younger of putting aside enough money to quit your job when you turned 45 to travel the world, are laughable now. Mostly, you are hoping that you will be able to save enough to get your kids though college and maybe hold on to your house long enough to die in it and not in some housing complex above the senior center.

10. You never knew you would have so much happiness and heart ache in your life. You never knew the world could be so deceptive and so kind at the same time. You never knew how lucky you would be or how hard you would have to struggle. And now that you know it, you can't help wondering how you will make it through the second half of your life without suffering a mental breakdown. But you also know that time seems to move faster as you get older and, in a way, you wish it would all slow down and that summertime would last forever the way that it did when you were a child.

And lastly, and most importantly, you realize that although your body will eventually fail you faster and faster with each passing year, your soul will go on forever. And beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and that youth is a state of mind. And that nothing is certain in life except death and taxes. And that the only way I am going to finish mine so that I can go out and play, is to get back to work.....Happy Saturday.

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