Category Archives: Age

Anything to do with noticing the differences between one age or stage of life and another.

No one has the right to have a crisis over age

For some reason, I’m becoming more and more obsessed over my age. I can’t decide if I’m growing old, growing immature, if I’m right where I’m supposed to be, or even if the subject is really worth the energy and attention I keep giving it.

Case in point: I was checking out at Whole Foods recently and the cashier was telling me all about her quarter-life crisis. She’s 23 and had just finished reading a book that told her she was a prime candidate for having a quarter life crisis. Several things about the conversation had me brooding over the whole age thing.

The first: it seems like I’ve prematurely turned into one of those Old Grocery Groupies (OGGs) — the old ladies who frequent the market so much they know everyone and all their business there. When I was 16, I wore a bright red polyester uniform as a cashier at the Piggly Wiggly in Ocoee, Florida. I knew several OGGs. I knew how many grandkids each one had. I knew who were Crackers and who were Yankee transplants and they knew just about everything about me. I remember them being much older than I am now, and yet I was so relieved the other day when J___ in produce told me she broke up with her loser boyfriend (finally), I know which of the women cutting meat behind the deli counter is a vegetarian, and when the 23-year-old cashier told me about her quarter-life crisis, it wasn’t the first thing I learned about her. I’m sure they all know quite a bit about me, too.

The second thing: my gut reaction to the quarter-life crisis issue was “What the hell is wrong with America’s youth today?” They shouldn’t be taking life so seriously at that age, should they? I didn’t. I don’t even think I’m taking it that seriously now. But really, how could it be that they’re that disillusioned with who they’ve become — when they haven’t really had time to become anyone yet? At her age, her biggest crisis should be running out of cheap wine before the party is over, right? After all, at my age, I consider a crisis to be running out of good vodka before cocktail hour is over.

But, it hit me that having an age-crisis is a luxury, pure and simple. Only people who have very little else in their life to complain about seem to have them. Do you think folks in Japan, Lydia, hell for that matter most of Africa, Haiti, and Greenland (before you go checking the front page news, I put that last one here because it’s so damned cold there all the time) have age-related crises? I don’t think so. I think they have real ones to worry about.

Which explains why, when said cashier was telling me about it, I told her the answer wasn’t to go skydiving, as she was intending to do to heal herself, but to go out and celebrate her age. Because I think that’s really how we put meaning into things and how we value them in the long run, right? We celebrate them. If all you have to complain about is that you’re twenty-three or that you’re forty-three, you should throw one hell of a party about it.

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Still complaining after all these years

So my lovely husband has started reminding me lately that I’m still complaining. He has a point — I am still complaining, but I gotta say, life has the deck stacked against me.

It’s not that I want to complain; I really don’t. There’s just so much shit going on around me that it’s hard to make a comment about anything without it sounding like a complaint. My allergies remain so severe that all I want to do is take a hand-rake and rip out my eyes because they itch so much and there are days I sneeze so frequently that I’m afraid to drive as I might lose control of my car. My PMS is so bad these days it’s telling me I’m peri-menopause, actually it’s shrieking it to the world with me completely unable to control it. There’s oil spilling out in the gulf and all that is happening about is fingers are being pointed instead of someone shoving them into the hole to plug it up (that metaphor was a stretch, I know — I’m talking about the boy with his finger in a dyke).

And I’m getting old. It’s official. I’m officially getting old. Proof came with his latest comment a few minutes ago, “boy you’re sure complaining a lot this morning.” All I wanted was for his help in making the text on the emails in my in-box look bigger. No, I didn’t rearrange my desk. I just can’t seem to see what’s in my in-box like I used to. I’d love to say that the entire world is using a smaller font, but I have a feeling that’s not so true. So he changed the resolution and yes, the letters are bigger, but now they’re fuzzy. All I said was, “thank you, but now they’re blurry.” And oops, I did it again. I complained.

What’s a girl to do? Should I remain mute? The only way that’d be possible would be if I completely alienate myself. And the odds of my butt exploding and blasting me into the milky way are better than thinking my kids would leave me alone in my room undisturbed for longer than 30 seconds. But I could try. I could lock myself in my bedroom with nothing but good literature and vodka. The thing is, if by some miracle of miracles and not a screamed “MOM!” is heard, I’ll sit around reading and drinking all day, which on the surface sounds ideal, but eventually I’ll have to pee and when I stand up after all that lounging, I’m sure I’ll be stiff and sore. Add a little drunk into it and soon enough I’ll be saying (complaining) “Good Christ, my neck hurts. And my back!”

Shall I go to some island paradise and relax in a hammock while polite and obsequious waiters feed me delicious foods and ply me with umbrella-laden drinks? Yes, that’d be nice and one would think complaint free. But, it couldn’t last forever. Eventually I’ll be bitching about my credit card bills. Resorts ain’t cheap you know.

Tell me, what’s a girl to do? I’m still giving it the old college try–I keep re-starting my week of living complaint free. ~sigh~ it’s just that life gives me such fodder. God it’s hard–and that’s not a complaint, just a comment about something I’ve noticed.

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The New New Math

When I was growing up, every time a kid did something that the previous generation didn’t understand, a parent or grandparent would blame it on “the new math.” We’d come home from school to find our parents unable to help us with our homework. They didn’t understand it, nor did they understand the way we were thinking or behaving in general, so they connected the dots and decided it was the “new math” that made us indecipherable.

Even my father would say it. Which shows you how pervasive the belief was, as he never really had a grasp on “the old math.” The Great Depression hit right before he went into 6th grade and he had to quit school to work for his family. When I went from feathered Farrah hair to preppy Peter-pan collars with a ribbon bow, to Punk rock safety pins in my ears, he greeted each new style with “I don’t get it. Must be that new math.”

It never made sense to me when I was young(er)–note, I held back from the bad pun of “it didn’t add up to me”–but now I think I’m beginning to understand.

Because my kids are doing the new, new math. And now I suspect suspect there is a sadistic, secret math society at work continually creating a gap between every generation.

Do you remember the kids who went to school dances with pens in their pockets or who would sneer at the rest of us for not being able to do calculus problems in our heads? Well, not all of them went to work with Microsoft.

I believe the most bitter of the bunch are now getting even with us for not letting them hang out with us, the cooler kids. They are rubbing it in our faces for making them social outcasts by ensuring our children will rebel against everything we tell them.

How are they doing it? By creating a new, ridiculous math curriculum for each new generation of kids.

Let me tell ya, when your sarcastic, yet sweet, eight-year-old comes to you for help on her math, and you can’t help her, you look like an idiot. It doesn’t matter that you’re a college graduate. It doesn’t matter if you’re a successful business person. She might smile at you, but in her head you know she’s thinking “Ugh! God! My mom is such a dweeb! And my dad! It’s so embarrassing!”

And suddenly there’s one more item on her list of reasons not to trust or respect you. The deck is so stacked against us.

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Filed under Age, Children, TASFUIL, Uncategorized

Texting for the over 40 (Because you asked for it, Laurie!)

My friend Laurie recently asked me how to abbreviate “obnoxious, gaudy, distasteful and trashy” in a text message.  She may have been joking, but I felt it to be a good question, which needed a good answer.  I thought perhaps we could rearrange the words and come up with an acronym we could pronounce, e.g., TODG.

The idea brings up a good point:  if those of us over 20 (OK, over 40) are going to embrace texting, we need to come up with our own abbreviations.  After all, our vocabulary in general is more mature than most avid texters and our life experiences often require something more than OMG to describe them. We have reached that age when we must socialize at events that, if we were twenty years younger and had been invited, our response would be to laugh our asses off, or as they say LMAO. But, due to our jobs, our spouse’s job, our volunteer work, our political affiliations or whatever, we now suffer through them and the suffering is more easily handled if we can E-vent (if unfamiliar with that word, see my post regarding e-venting, apparently I’m too old to figure out how to put the link in here) to a friend who’s not there.

Yes, someone needs to come up with texting expressions for the rest of us. And why not me? I can fulfill a public service as well as the next gal. So here goes . . .

BING >^^< which I decided means, “Being Catty.”  You can preface it with a name to suggest someone else is being catty, or you can introduce a clause with it so that the recipient of the message knows you’re being catty about what comes next.  For example if you text:  “BING >^^<  when will she get control of her boobs?”  The recipient will know that the woman with cleavage deeper than Himalayan valleys  is having her usual problem.  (Yes, I know, I’m probably just jealous–after all if I’d had all the fat sucked out of my body and something else propping up my boobs, I’d probably dress like that, too.)

Of course you can always follow BING>^^< with another acronym, such as OTH, for “Oh, the hair!” (think bad dye jobs) or SWMD, for “she’s wearing my dress!” (for those times when you realize the sales-woman lied to you again). And if you think the other woman looks better in the dress than you do, you can add SOB!

Social events can often begin with:  GIND for “God, I need a drink.”  Then a few hours later you could probably change it to GIWIWD for “God I wish I were drunk.” or maybe even HIC, for “yes, I am drunk.”

If you ever find yourself surprised by a new, young face in the crowd, a face that replaced a person who had already showed up at the same event earlier, you can type:  &HXIH2, which meansAnd his Ex is here, too.” The problem with that one is that I can seldom find the & sign on my phone, so for those of us with Blackberrys, you may want to use NHXIH2.

For those moments when an acquaintance with eccentric tastes, beliefs, or hobbies corners you at a holiday party to give you the latest updates, you can use TA_______A, to meantalking about _______ againand fill in the blank.  For example, you text “Tom’s here TAufosAfor Tom’s here and is talking about UFO’s again.” It works better when the subject in question begins with a consonant, e.g., “Sue’s TAcatsA” because when you read it, it sounds like a word you can pronounce in your head.

Whenever something is too long to text, but you know you’ll just have to repeat it later and there’s a good chance you won’t remember, send your friend: RM2TYL for “remind me to tell you later” and then follow up with a noun that you hope will continue to have meaning when your friend asks about it.

And for those nights when you’re out with the girls or when your husband isn’t with you (I don’t mean to sound sexist or anything, I just can’t think of any man sending texts like those above to anyone but EVERY woman I know would), there are a couple of abbreviations that may come in handy.  The first is for a girlfriend who isn’t there with you:  DDDHM, which means “Desperate, divorced Dad is hitting on me” and she’ll know you’re sitting on a bar stool and some dad is showing you pictures of his kids even though you’re wearing your wedding ring and told him you happily have a husband at home.  Finally the last two are for the spouse who is at home while you’re not.  The first is: IAY, which means “I appreciate you” (which is a purpose of all those DDD’s just mentioned; they are yet more reminders of why you’re with your man).  And the second is “SU4M” suggesting “stay up for me.”

Now then, if I were a marketing genius, I’d condense all that down, put it on tiny laminated cards and sell them as an accompaniment to reading glasses.


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Midlife ain’t so bad

It may be too early to say this, but I think my generation may have discovered the preventative cure for mid-life crises.  I say this because I’m surrounded by people in their forties who, despite the fact that they’re living in a country at war during an economic downturn, are just fine with their lives.  I don’t know of one man with a jones for a new, hot red sports car, or who just got his ear pierced, or who is ready to leave his wife for the first sweet young thing to look his way.  Likewise, I don’t know of one single woman who is ready to follow-up with her ogling of the bag boys at Whole Foods, who is designing the perfect first tattoo, or who is ready to leave her husband for another female.

So why are we so emotionally stable with our age?  I believe it’s because we’re all a little surprised we’re still alive and kicking. 

Just about everyone in my generation grew up expecting die sometime shortly after their 30th birthday. They may never have thought about it consciously, though many of us did, but I can guarantee you the thought was always percolating in a hidden recess of our brains at all times.  It started in Kindergarten when we learned how to prepare for fire, tornadoes and Cold War bombs whose existence demanded we die.  (Am I the only one who wondered, while curled in fetal position on the floor during a bomb raid drill, why they didn’t just build everything out of the same metal and wood that they made the desks we had to cower under?) The follow up began when we started watching TV.  News coverage proved the previous generation’s motto of Sex, Drugs & Rock-and-Roll was really warning us of new causes for our natural end.  We watched, spellbound, as the footage of dead-via-over-dose celebrities, suffering AIDS patients, and the horror of being trampled to death at a Who concert streamed before us.  Religion didn’t offer much comfort.  All the Southern Baptists in my geographical area were convinced the world would end in 1980 because some kid born somewhere had some mark on him and there was some building that symbolized some beast that rose out of some sea.  After they were proved wrong, they were replaced by New Agers meditating at Lake Eola park telling us the Earth would be destroyed when the planets aligned in 1988.  During junior high our science teachers, the first Global Warming preachers, taught a curriculum detailing how the entire history of mankind only served to create an environment too toxic for the earth to survive.  We’d leave the lab and stumble down the down the hall only to read Alas Babylon in English class.  Who knew Argentina would be a world leader after the US and Soviet Union were destroyed?  No wonder they keep saying we should learn to speak Spanish.  And meanwhile, Y2K loomed ever closer.

Thirty?  Who was gonna live to thirty?

Us! And we did!  But we did it a little differently than our predecessors. 

Perhaps it was a natural inclination toward a joie de vivre in the face of death.  We insisted on having a good time while we waited for the killer asteroid to hit (no, that wasn’t a new fear from the early 2000’s; we started it back in ’86 with rumors about the real reason the space shuttle Challenger exploded).  We never gave up our fast cars; we had one in the garage alongside the family sedan—or better yet, we had two sexy SUVs.  We never thought we’d work only one job that would burn us out.  In fact, if you had only one company on your resume you looked like you had no experience.  So we bounced around from company to company, industry to industry.  Many of us waited until we were in our thirties to get married and start a family, and our kids only help us maintain our juvenile habits.  We ski on the Wii with our children and we buy them sodas to drink while we sip on cocktails at our favorite restaurants.    We teach them how to tail gate at rock concerts and foot ball games.  And when the kids aren’t around, we still act like we did when we were barely out of high school.  We’ll tuck our babes in bed and head down stairs to indulge the frat-boy mentality that still resides in both sexes as we watch Entourage or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  We said to hell with social conservative customs and jeans are now accepted everywhere, even in high-end dining establishments.  Our president says “it’s all cool” and we’re buying Lego sets to ease our stress.

Maybe it’s all Jimmy Buffett’s fault.  He did give us the line “I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m dead.”  Or maybe it was Prince’s dictate to “Party Like It’s 1999.”  Whatever it was, we never disconnected ourselves from our youthful appetites, never questioned the validity of our desires, never censored our tastes.  So instead of arriving at mid-life in anger and fear, feeling unfulfilled and resentful because we’re missing out on something as we age, we seem to be mildly amused. Already pierced, tattooed and in possession of a drawer full of current concert T-shirts, we go out to dinner with friends when inevitably someone says something like “have you noticed how impatient you’re getting as you get older?” And we laugh because we realize we’re becoming crotchety old fools and it’s no big deal.

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An Ode to my Father in Law

We made head-way in solving the world’s problems last night–my family, friends and myself.  Though I think may be on my husband’s “bad” list now as I’m only getting necessary words from him and no warm fuzzies.  But that’s OK for now; I’ll take it one problem at a time.

We had a casual family and friend gathering.  There was some wine involved, and vodka, and a little Lady Godiva White Chocolate liqueur, so lips were a little loose and tongues were a-wagging.  All was going well until a good friend suggested that my dear hubby was “high maintenance.”  My father-in-law and brother-in-law thought it absurd and called me in the room to verify.   I did. I verified my friend was right in her assessment.  It did little to appease the men.  We pulled my sister-in-law into the room and even got my mother-in-law involved.  There developed a definite divide.  We became more partisan than congress.  It was the women against the men.  

But the girl vs. boy thing was not the world problem we solved.  Amidst the laughter and vows to be self-sufficient, my father-in-law brought up an interesting point:  it was all a matter of perspective

And it is.  What I consider “high maintenance” is low maintenance according to others and vice verse.  The thing is, and here’s where we made progress in solving all the ills of society, I realized no one can ever be right, therefore no one can ever be wrong when a problem is a matter of perspective. 

Philosophers have been going on for centuries about perspective, but for some reason they haven’t gotten around to pointing out that NO ONE IS RIGHT when a problem is a matter of perspective.  They all seem stuck on the idea of changing your perspective as if that was the ultimate answer.  For at least 2 millenia we’ve been blathering on about finding an Archimedean Point so that we can completely remove ourselves from a situation to get a clear perspective–but did Archimedes give us steps on how to make it all right from there?  No.  More recently, in the last century, Richard Bach gave us the famous line:  Perspective–use it or lose it.  Great advice for looking at a situation from a different perspective, but again, what do we do from there? 

The Catholics and Protestants knew for centuries that they held different perspectives and ravaged war across Northern Ireland anyway.  The same could be said between the Israelis and Palestinians, vegetarians and carnivores, the Goths versus the Preppies in the 1980’s.  Everybody has a different perspective about what is right, wholesome and in good fashion.  And we all accept that, but what we neglect to remember is that when it’s a matter of perspective, NO ONE IS RIGHT.  So we say, “yes, they believe differently than I do, therefore I must make them agree with me.”  But that gets us no where.  Because no one is right to begin with.

So why fuss about it all?  Why not just acknowledge that no one’s right, including ourselves, apply kindergarten rules and  play nicely?

I’ll start at home by letting my husband know that even if I consider him high-maintenance, I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing.  And I’m not expecting him to change at all.

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Weighty issues

The thing that sucks the most about being fat is having to lose weight. 

I’m not morbidly obese.  But the girth around my waist exceeds 35-inches and apparently that makes me a statistic for a variety of health issues, none of which are fun. 

It’s not that my diet is bad. I’m such a picky eater, I barely eat at all.  I only put enough down my throat to keep my blood sugar stable so that I don’t pass out.  I’ve logged my daily intake to see if I’m really eating more than I thought, and no, I was thinking correctly.  I eat somewhere between 1,200 and 1,600 calories a day–usually the higher number on the weekends because of my favorite cocktail (I said I was a picky eater, not a picky drinker).  So unless someone is slipping Ambien into my evening tea (or vodka), the weight issue must be one of exercise, right?

With that theory in mind I began the new year with the goal to exercise six times a week.  I pulled out my P90X CD’s that I bought last summer after stumbling onto Tony Horton’s infomercials and started in.  As it turns out, I’m only exercising about 3 times a week right now.  I just haven’t been able to hit that magic 6 number.  It just hurts too much. 

Why is there so much pain involved in losing weight when gaining it only gives you the occasional heartburn or broken jean zipper?  My arms ached so badly this morning I couldn’t get my jog bra on to do cardio (and when your chest far exceeds your stomach, you gotta put on a jog bra).  So I skipped today and promised myself I’d walk faster between my desk and the coffee pot.  If I do enough reps between 9 and 5, maybe I’ll be able to convince myself I did cardio all day long.  

I’ve been on this masochistic regimen for about 2 1/2 weeks now.  I know I shouldn’t be expecting results yet, but a little bit of something would be nice.  I weigh myself everyday and have seen the scale stay flat and occasionally, after a day of strength training it even goes up a little.  Which is more than a little demoralizing.  My ulta-skinny sister-in-law says I should expect it.  Apparently it’s inflammation from the work out.  It’s supposed to be a sign you were working hard.  I just don’t understand why I get punished like that for doing the right thing.  The universe isn’t supposed to work that way, is it? 

But I’m going to keep at it.  Even though it hurts and so far I’ve only gained weight.  And I added in a new element to the big plan to lose weight.  I started a cleanse yesterday.  At least it’s giving me some instant gratification.  I weighed myself first thing this morning and a couple hours later, immediately after spending a few minutes reading in the bathroom, I became a little curious and weighed myself again.  I lost 1 1/2 pounds since breakfast.  Amazing.  A little scary, too.  But I’ll take any loss I can get right now that doesn’t involve pain.

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