Time keeps flowing like a river

I’m getting older and there’s really nothing short of drastic and highly unappealing I can do to change that. I’ve been told I don’t look any older than I did ten years ago. Or maybe it’s that I can pass for ten years younger than I am. In any case, I do have good genes in that regard but looking young doesn’t change the date on my birth certificate. I don’t know why it upsets me but I feel as if society has painted getting older as a bad thing and that I should envy someone simply because she was born after me. But why? I’ve already been where she’s been and it’s not like time will stop for her either. I wouldn’t give up the wisdom I’ve gained on my journey so far to go backward. No way. I didn’t like who I was when I was younger nearly as much as I like the woman I’ve become.

That being said, sometimes I feel ashamed of getting older as if it’s something dirty.

There are a lot of things that do suck about aging besides the obvious, “closer to death” aspect. Since I’m still relatively young, most of the side effects of getting older I’ve experienced thus far are from an emotional standpoint, stemming from the impending transition from “younger” adult towards middle age.

1. The whole biological clock thing. Ok, this is an undeniable physical side effect. I don’t even know if I want children but it’s scary to think that with each passing year, my chances of conceiving the natural way are decreasing. At the same time, being younger doesn’t guarantee the ability to have children either. I try to live my life with a “what will be, will be” mentality. I just try to be happy each and every day on the assumption that everything else will take care of itself but it’s hard when not a day goes by where someone doesn’t whisper about “this one” who better start trying now if she has any hope of getting pregnant or “that one” who miraculously got pregnant at 45 or “this one” who had twins at 38 and “it was probably fertility pills.” It’s deafening.

2. The implication that a man who would otherwise be interested in me won’t pursue me out of fear I won’t be able to bear his children or simply because society considers a younger woman more of a catch. I’ve never experienced this first hand (as far as I know), yet the idea has haunted me for years. Interestingly enough, it’s other women who have instilled this fear in me; not men.

3. Raised eyebrows, inquiring questions and “woot woos” about my younger boyfriend. Yes, he’s younger but the age difference between us is many years less than the age difference between me and the guy I dated before him who was nine years older than me. Funny, there were no comments then and the age difference was several years greater. It makes me uncomfortable because I don’t think of him as younger than me. I just think of him as “Jason.”

4. Gray hair. Um, ok, I definitely have more grays than I did ten years ago and it costs more money to hide them.

5. Slowing metabolism. This has not affected me too much yet, probably because I am extremely active, but there are a few areas that seem to require more attention than they did a few years back. But I’m fighting gravity with everything I’ve got.

6. Feeling unrepresented by society. I can rarely relate to books featuring female characters my age because they are all either married with children, married trying to have children or in the process of separating because their husband left them for someone younger. Where are the books about the fabulous, haven’t-been-married-yet women who dated a lot but didn’t find “the one” and settle down until a bit later? Or those who had long term relationships that just didn’t work out like so many of my friends? Or those who aren’t even desirous of getting married? Where are the books and movies about sexy, attractive and intelligent women who are in the realm of 40 and single whether by circumstance or choice? We’re out there but because we are not represented in the media, it’s like we don’t exist. 

Aside from societal stereotypes and that damn biological clock, I don’t think younger girls have anything on me. But it’s hard sometimes not to get sucked in. Maybe some women do peak in their twenties and so as they get older, they wish they could go back. As for me, I know that I have improved in every way imaginable since my twenties except, perhaps, for my ovaries. For the following reasons, I wouldn’t go back to my twenties for anything unless I could take the new and improved, older and MUCH wiser me along for the ride:

I used to think I had all of the answers and that everything that went wrong in my life was someone else’s fault. I know better now. At the same time, since I had a more “all about me” mentality back then, I also thought someone’s mistreatment or disinterest in me was a reflection on me. Now I know that most of the time it has nothing to do with me. Someone who would mistreat me would mistreat others and I didn’t “cause” the behavior. And sometimes things just don’t work out and it’s not because I’m not pretty enough or smart enough or interesting enough. (Admittedly, I still have to remind myself of this on occasion and have a few friends who do it for me from time to time, but I didn’t have the tools in my twenties or early thirties to examine things that way.)

When I was younger, I wanted to be like someone else or like everyone else. Now I appreciate the things about me that make me different from others and I showcase them. Who wants to be like everyone else?

When I was younger, I thought wearing bigger clothing make me look thinner. Looking back at pictures, I realize I was wasting my “youthful” speedy metabolism by hiding my shape in non-flattering clothing. I work very hard to stay in good shape, as I did back then, but now I appreciate my body and wear clothes that allow others to appreciate it too. In a respectful, non-slutty like way of course 😉

When I was younger, I was too afraid of what others thought of me to openly express myself. I never would have had the guts to write and publish a novel. Not only have I written two books, but I publish a weekly blog, opening myself up to public ridicule.

I definitely make more money now!

When I was younger, I was too afraid of confrontation to speak my mind. My friends know that I still don’t like confrontation but I am much more likely to stand up for myself and not take crap I might have swallowed down a decade ago.

Back when I was younger, I had a tendency to run my mouth in the professional environment. I had a sense of entitlement I hadn’t earned. I’ve since learned to keep my mouth shut and swallow my pride in certain circumstances.

I was so afraid of rejection when I was younger that I rarely stepped out of my comfort zone and took risks. I still hate rejection but not as much as I hate the phrase “what if.”

I used to think life would just happen and I wasted more time than I care to admit just waiting. Now I know that while many things are out of our control, sometimes it is up to us to move things in the right direction.

Maybe some “girls” know all of this instinctively, no matter their age. I bet some of them sure think they do. Nevertheless, if my wisdom had to come with more years of life under my belt, a few more gray hairs and questionable ovaries, I consider it a worthy exchange.

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the waiting is the hardest part

I started this blog while I was trapped on a 6.5 hour flight to Seattle, sandwiched between two people with barely enough room to extend my arm to grab my two bottles of pinot grigio from the flight attendant. (I only asked for one bottle, but the flight attendant must have taken pity on me because she said, “two for one. It’s happy hour somewhere.” Thank you American Airlines.)

 

I can’t say the flight was “bad” since I did make it to my destination alive and there was minimal turbulance, but it was not “pleasant.” Case in point: As if being in the middle seat was not bad enough, the person in front of me reclined his seat all the way back as soon as we were allowed and his head was practically in my lap the entire trip. I dropped my ipod on the floor about halfway through the flight and being sandwiched between two people as described above, could not maneuver to reach down and grab it and so I went without music for 3 hours. I ordered a sandwich, took one bite and decided it was the most ill tasting sandwich I had ever let touch my lips. I took another gulp of wine and a gummy worm and put the sandwich back in the bag. I looked down and saw that I had crumbs and mayonnaise on my leggings. I wasn’t that surprised since I’m typically a slob but upon second glance at the bag, realized it was open on both ends and each time I picked it up by what I thought was the open end, bits of sandwich fell on my lap through the other open end. It was disgusting and of course this was the one time the flight attendants weren’t walking up and down the length of the plane asking if we had trash. The man in the aisle seat next to me got up to go to the bathroom and I took the opportunity to go as well. We both walked to the very long line at the back of the plane. It seemed the flight was full of folks with weak bladders and the line took up the entire length of the coach section. I thought it was ridiculous that we were all waiting on that one line when there was another bathroom in business class.  The flight attendants must have read my mind because they eventually told those of us towards the end of the line to make our way towards business class. Of course, those behind me in the first line ended up in front of me on the new line since they got there first. I wasn’t happy about that, but I crossed my legs and hoped for the best. I finally got back to my seat and tried to sit down only to realize that my pants were caught on the seat of the guy sitting next to me. He was still in the bathroom and did not witness this spectacle but by the time I un-caught myself from the seat, I had two holes in my pants. When at last I arrived in Seattle, I had low blood sugar as a result of lack of food, two mini bottles of wine and too much sugar from the gummy worms. I was sweaty and shaking by the time I made it to baggage claim.

I write all of this to say that I hate waiting to get from destination A to destination B, especially by airplane.

 

Among other things I hate waiting for are the following:

A publishing contract.

A parking spot. I don’t drive but I have some impatient friends and family and being in the car with them driving around a packed parking lot is not fun.

The person in front of me at the ATM. Especially when she waits until it’s her turn to remove her card from her wallet, especially when her wallet is at the bottom of her gigantic handbag.

Some guy to ask me out after flirting with me and expressing interest. This is a non issue now but I’ve spent hours, DAYS of my life wondering and analyzing when some dude was going to go beyond pouring on the charm and making me think he was interested only to never pull the trigger #wasteoftime. (Twitter speak.)

My food to arrive when I am starving and grouchy.

My traditionally late friends

A drink at a very crowded bar

My bed at the end of a very long, exhausting day.

That’s not to say I always hate waiting. I quite like the delayed gratification that comes from such things as vacations, gifts of any kind, a satisfying end to a book, reuniting with people I haven’t seen in a while, and kissing and *stuff*.

Anything to add to my lists?

New Year’s Resolutions 2012

I often complain that our society lacks originality, at least from an entertainment perspective. Movies from decades past, like Footloose, have been remade, television shows from the 70s have been modernized for today’s world, like Hawaii Five-O and the epic fail, Charlie’s Angels, and covers of older songs are created every year in the double digits. Under the presumption that my blog could also be considered “entertaining”, I am going to be a hypocrite, forsake creativity and do a remake of my first blog from 2011 – New Year’s Resolutions.

I opted to first read my list from last year to see if I actually stuck to any of my resolutions. Here is a representative progress report:

Finish my second novel – check

Really get into football and not just use it as a an excuse to drink beer on Sundays – Uh, nope. It is still just an excuse to drink beer (and sometimes do shots) on Sundays.

Live in the present and stop worrying about the “what-ifs” – partial check (work in progress.)

Stop taking everything so personally and let go of the things and people who have hurt me in the past – three quarters check -I am not holding any grudges currently, but I am still super-sensitive.

Become an awesome cook – Well, I did make a broccoli soufflé for Chanukah Dinner. While it probably wasn’t “awesome”, it was more than “edible” and second helpings were had by all.

Not too shabby. So here’s what on the list for 2012 in no particular order:

Rather than regret the past and worry about the future, I resolve to focus on the present. (This one is particularly difficult for me.)

I resolve to run another half marathon.

I resolve to watch a baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago – live.

I resolve to finish the first draft of my 3rd novel.

I resolve to write more often. I am not going to put pressure on myself to write every day, but “more often.”

I resolve to cheer on the New York Yankees to their 28th World Series championship. Ok, I cannot really be of direct assistance to the Yankees but there are a handful of tricks I have up my sleeve to increase their chances of success. This includes, but is not limited to, doing topless jumping jacks during pivotal moments in a post season game. Yes, you read that correctly, topless jumping jacks. And while I am only a B cup, trust me, continuous jumping up and down without support hurts the girls. But I do it for my boys 🙂 (By the way, I only do this when watching games at home by myself! I know it seems weird but it worked in 2009 and so I try it every year when I’m desperate. Don’t ask me why I tried it in the first place.) I can’t believe I just admitted that in writing.

I resolve to try to get to work on time, emphasis on try.

I resolve to strength train, take calcium and drink milk. Just because my grandmothers shrunk down to under 5”0′ doesn’t mean I have to!

I resolve to continue to grow up but not grow OLD. (Shout-out to my old roommate and sorority sister, Laurie Zaneski, for this one.)

I resolve to appreciate the people in my life who continue to love and support me and return the love and support in spades.

I resolve not to snap at my patient boss. Just because he’s put up with it for 15 years doesn’t mean he isn’t nearing his threshold level. And besides, he’s a great guy and doesn’t deserve my ‘tude. (most of the time.)

I resolve to stop putting unworthy people on pedestals. I actually resolve to stop putting anyone on a pedestal. No one deserves to be on a pedestal, except for my niece Sarah.

I resolve to make a brisket, with the help of my friend Abbe.

I resolve to mention my niece Sarah more often in my blogs as per her request. (See above.)

I resolve to mention my mother less often in my blogs as per her request, although I think she secretly loves to be my muse.

I resolve to stop selling myself short. I’m fabulous!! (Of course, now I feel conceited!)

I resolve to feel conceited more often.

So, there you have them – my resolutions for 2012. Wish me luck!