Tag Archives: old

There is no escape

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“Old Lady of Havana” shot by Mark Daniel, 2009. I feel like we’re kindred spirits.

Still counting down to 50.

40. The fact that I had to reread the first paragraph of most of my “This is Fifty” posts is a sad reminder of why this particular post is relevant.

No matter how good you feel, no matter how much you’re not dreading entering a new decade of life, no matter how much you avoid letting the sun give you wrinkles or you color the gray out of your hair, there are some things about getting older you just can’t run away from.

  • A failing memory is at the top of my list. I don’t worry so much about Alzheimer’s or dementia, but it’s the more routine memory fails that really piss me off: the name of my neighbor’s mother, the movie that that one actress starred in, going to the store to buy coffee and spending $50 – without buying coffee, wondering why I came into a room.
  • 50 for molly3New aches and pains. I’ve always been a clutz and had my first serious knee injury when I was 10. Still, excruciating pain in my left knee last fall kept me from work some days, made getting around with the dog absolutely horrible, and made it next to impossible to sleep through the night. I went to the doctor expecting a torn meniscus and was right – but also have osteoarthritis so bad that fixing the meniscus would ┬ábe moot. Lovely.
  • Taking naps. I never realized the luxury of the nap until I was well into my 40s. They’re not a daily requirement, by any means – but most days I could fall asleep at any time, in any place, if given the opportunity.
  • Seeing my daughter post a link to a “Most kids today won’t know how hard it was” list, and then realizing that NONE of those things were issues when I was a kid. The trauma of having to carry a phone AND an mp3 player in your pocket?? Yeah, we spent our youth moving in stealth with no tracking device or means for our parents to find us. It was luxurious.
  • Bifocals. As though wearing glasses wasn’t hard enough, but having to discern whether you should tilt your head backward or forward or to just peer over the top of your glasses without losing your line of sight or still being able to see at all. And using bifocals on the tiny screen on your cell phone? Yeah – that’s a treat.

In all honesty, getting older is just about doing your best to feel good where you are. For the most part, I do.

Unless I’m forgetting something.

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It’s not all sunshine and rainbows

50 for molly3

Part of a sporadic countdown to 50

67. (It’s only fitting that I end the brief break from the countdown with 67 days to go – as in, ’67 was the year that really got this countdown started …)

There have only been a few times I’ve let my age bother me.

I was fairly traumatized by 25 because I was a whole quarter-of-a-century old. As a kid you don’t really think of your age in relation to a century, but 25 – that’s a different story. That’s a common fraction and you are that common fraction of a birthday most people never see. You’re 25 percent of your way to 100.

Thirty bothered me only temporarily before the actually birthday – but once it arrived I realized 30 wasn’t so bad. It’s like once you lost that “I’m 20-something” attitude, people started taking you more seriously.

Then the 40s came, and I wasn’t too disheartened at all. A co-worker was once amazed when I wrote a blog for work about having had to go to driver’s school – not because I shared my penchant for speeding tickets with the public, but because I included my age. But as I neared 45 – and my first mammogram – I suddenly started wishing I was younger. Or that they’d moved the recommended age of the first mammogram to 75.

Tools to Get You Through Your Colonoscopy.pngA new fear has replaced the mammogram fear, and I’ve made the irrational decision to talk to friends and relatives who have been through it.

At 50, it’s highly recommended that you have a colonoscopy.

Yuck.

From what I’ve been told, the procedure itself is simple. You’re given anesthesia, and you wake up an hour later and it’s over. But the 36 hours before it?

No. Just … no.

I was the recovery buddy for a friend, and saw how loopy she was when the procedure was over. Both she and another friend have offered to give me a ride to the hospital and be my recovery buddy after, but have both assured me they won’t be with me during the prep period.

“Trust me,” says my friend who just had hers in January, “you won’t want anyone there for that. You won’t even want your dog there.”

Oh. Goody.

Wanting to get a more medical explanation of what to expect the night before, I turned to WebMD (yes, I know I work in a hospital …), where I was cautioned to “stay in the bathroom — bring something to entertain yourself, like a book, television, or laptop.”

Ummm …

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50 isn’t all that old – is it?

50 for molly3

Part of a daily countdown to 50.

86. Migraines are the devil. That’s my post for 86 days out. They’re evil.

85. I got a text this week from a high school friend who said she’d been reading these posts and they were making her feel old, that it “doesn’t seem possible” that we should be this old.

I totally agree. I certainly don’t feel the way my younger self perceived 50 would feel, I don’t think I look like I’m nearing 50 – at least, others seem surprised to hear that I’m close to that milestone.

Actually, I still kind of think of myself in my late 30s-early 40s. You know, not a kid anymore but nowhere near retirement age, either.

And then I think of my kids. And their friends.

How is it that I can have kids that are going to be 25 and 22 this year? (When I was 25, I had been married for two years and had just given birth to my first child.) How is it possible that several of my kids’ friends have kids of their own? Or are buying houses?

How has it been 30 years since U2 released “The Joshua Tree”? I remember several of my friends from college were going to see them in their concert stop in Kansas City that year and I begged and begged my parents to loan/give me money to buy a ticket. The concert came and went I didn’t get to go – only to learn a week later that my parents had, in fact, given me the money for the tickets. (We didn’t have ATMs then, and forget about online banking.)

How has it been 34 years since I first got my driver’s license in Missouri, or 32 years since I cast my first vote? How has it been 36 years since I first started paying into Social Security with a non-babysitting job? I should be 36, not have 36-year-old memories.

Now, suddenly, I feel old. I need a nap.

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The backside of 40

Funny-Old-Woman-smokingIn a few short hours – less than three, actually – I will officially end the first half of my 40s and get started on the back half. I say “officially” because I’ve not yet decided whether I will accept what the calendar says or simply remain 45 for as long as I can get away with it.

I have, through the duration of my 40s, proudly exclaimed how wonderful this decade was. I found myself. I discovered new things about myself. I accepted myself for who I am, and realized that in reality, I’m a pretty cool person to know. I’ve flirted with the gym, quit smoking, ended a 30-year relationship with Diet Coke and vastly improved my eating habits. I built strong, lasting relationships with my kids and guided them into adulthood, ready to spread their wings. I’ve reconnected with those I thought I’d lost, and have a renewed sense of reality about lifelong relationships I had mistakenly put on a pedestal.

In short, I’ve lived.

I expected – and was fully prepared – to spend the last half of my 40s the same way I’d spent the first, enjoying life as it happened.

Then came May.

I have no misconceptions about aging. I know it happens to the luckiest of us, in some way or another, and we can choose to let it happen gracefully or fight it. For the most part, I fight it. People ask if my red hair is my natural color and I smile and say, “Yes, and no. This is my natural color, but not all of this color is natural.” I don’t color my hair, I just refresh the red. I’ve been blessed with the fair skin of the Irish and, somehow, have managed to keep my face smooth and young looking – people are often surprised to hear I have a child who is 17, and they are really surprised when I mention her 21-year-old brother. I look at myself and think back to when my mother was my age and know that I am not my mother’s 45.

But May – May had something special in store for me. A lot of somethings, actually.

It started early on in the month, when I began to notice a greater difficulty reading scores on the TV or even some street signs at a distance. I went to the eye doctor in late April expecting to get a stronger prescription for my reading glasses and was given a different kind of prescription: for bi-focals. And yes, I opted for the invisible line. The glasses came May 3, a Friday.

That following Monday, May 6, I got a text from my Man/Friend – his pregnant daughter, due at the end of the month, went in for a doctor’s appointment that morning and was told they were doing a c-section that day. The baby, an amazing little girl, has stolen all of our hearts. She is simply fabulous. I posted a photo of me holding the beautiful girl on Facebook, where a friend promptly asked, “Does this mean we can call you Grandma Molly?” Ummm …

A week later my son turned 21, and my daughter and I were summoned to pick him up from the bars his co-workers took him to for celebration.

A week after that, my daughter – my own baby – graduated from high school.

Then I worked with a photographer on a special project at work and discovered I knew his parents – I worked with them a decade earlier when this photographer, now a married professional with two small children, was still in high school.

If I didn’t know better I’d swear May was a month full of Mondays.

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Dear Father Time: Bite me

For the record, I love my 40s. I’ve been saying it for, well, five years now, and it’s still true. I was a little intimidated by them before they got here, but once I turned 40 I realized the number isn’t the same as it was – or how I thought it was – when my mother was 40.

That was, until recently. Suddenly I feel old. Not put-me-in-a-nursing-home-so-I-can-chase-birds-with-my-walker old, but old all the same.

It started in March and seems to have made a monthly progression to now.

March – My son, then 19, started looking at apartments and for a roommate, found one of each and made plans to move out the first of April. <ding>

April – I met a great guy on Match.com, we started talking and decided we should go out. I was 44, he was 49. Both in the same decade, I didn’t think anything of it. Two days before we went out, he went and had a birthday. Suddenly I was going out with a 50-year-old man. Am I old enough to date a 50-year-old man?? (For the record, I am – and he’s fabulous. Even if he is 50.) <ding>

Oh! And Man/Boy moved out as planned. <ding ding>

May – The then-19-year-old son turned 20. TWENTY. <ding>

June – The then-44-year-old turned 45. Any time there’s an age that ends with a “5” that means you’re halfway to the next decade. So there I am. Halfway through my 40s. <ding>

July – July almost went without a hitch. Usual summer activities, got with friends, hung out with the Manfriend (hey, he’s 50), lived life and enjoyed it. Then my then-16-year-old daughter and I went on a whirlwind trip to Chicago, where she met with several modeling agencies and had three express serious interest. Suddenly, I saw her as her 3-year-old self living in Chicago – and wondering if she’d know what to do. <ding>

August – Now we’re here. Tomorrow morning that same daughter starts her last first day of high school, her senior year. She’s giddy, has spent the last week wondering what to wear (she actually contemplated sweats so it wouldn’t look like she thought it was a big deal) and is ready to get the year over with and start her life. <ding>

I, on the other hand, am ready to go whimper in a corner and wish the clock back 12 years.

Or maybe just five. Because I really do love my 40s.

**Disclaimer: Because I have guilt (hey, I’m Irish. Guilt is what we do). I by no means think 50 is old. I have many, many friends who are 50 and older, a few who will hit that magic number this year, and well, it’s just not old. Thinking of myself dating someone who was 50, though – that just seemed odd. Because I am, after all, still in my 20s. And 30s. And … well, you get it. Don’t you?

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