So, I turned 41 last year and, surprisingly, I didn’t have another panic attack the likes of which I experienced months before I turned 40 years old. Maybe I’ve subconsciously resigned myself to getting older; or perhaps I just forgot that adding to the number of years on my life freaks me out.
However, the more likely reason is that I forgot. These days I’m too busy trying to keep up with myself while simultaneously finding out there are a number of things I can no longer do or give two f*ks about at my age. Some of the realities genuinely surprised me, while others mortified me. But, I really can’t care anymore because, according to my ma, I only have about 20 good years left in me.
Yes, my mom absolutely said that to me. Granted, we were discussing my love life at the time, but I feel like she applied it to every area of my life by the way the words came out of her mouth.
So, without further ado and in no particular order:
1. I can’t stay up past 10 p.m. without getting cranky. Seriously. My bedtime has been getting increasingly earlier as the years progress. It appears my body has created its own bedtime curfew which prevents me from enjoying things that might happen after bedtime – like fun. Nothing fun happens as an adult until after midnight and yet I can’t seem to make it past 10 p.m.
2. I can no longer sleep in past sunrise. I know. Like, what the s**t is that? Physically, my body wants to sleep in, but my brain is wide awake, like, “hello! Get out of bed, it’s time for Waffle House and s**t.” My grampa used to get up at 4 am and walk to get a newspaper, lottery tickets, bagels and coffee every morning. I refuse to let that happen to me, but it seems inevitable. Old is happening to me.
3. I can’t enjoy going bars and clubs much anymore. The idea of standing around with a drink in my hand, pretending to be interested in a conversation I can’t even hear above all the noise is irritating. On the rare occasions I’ve made it to the pre-game stage (before bedtime) and then out to the main event, I’ve found myself ditching out without a word and berating myself over the decision to waste 6 hours prepping to spend only 20 minutes at a bar/club. That’s prime sleep time!
4. I can’t really enjoy looking at younger men anymore. It’s true; I used to date younger men. But ever since I broke up with my ex – who was 9 years my junior – a few years ago, I’ve found that younger men do nothing for me. NOTHING. All I see are a bunch of immature young’uns who have no life experience and live for their social media profile photos, Instagram posts, cougar hunting and all opportunities to punch their MILF card.
5. I can’t start my mornings without coffee. I don’t need to elaborate, but a warning to those who dare disturb me before my morning coffee has not only touched my lips, but more than half of it has been ingested. Grrr. Meow. Pfft. Pfft.
6. I can’t eat fast food. And I thought it was my decision with living a healthier lifestyle and doing the CrossFit and such. But, on the few occasions that I made the unfortunate decision to grab a quick bite from a fast food joint, the aftermath was the catastrophic destruction of my bowels. Every single inch of my intestines were on fire and working overtime to empty the poison it had convinced itself I had fed them. I’ve had to use sick days to recover.
7. Texting/messaging all the damn time – I. JUST.CAN’T. Texting is for short messages or every once in a while a sext to show your S.O. that you are having an inappropriate thought or two about them during time apart. The thought of communicating by text gives me anxiety.
8. I can’t dress like I did before I hit my 40s and that’s mostly because I can’t fit into anything I wore pre-41! But seriously, I now seem to have a sort of matronly objectivity when eyeing an outfit that I know I may have considered wearing only a few short years ago. I look at it as if I were my parents. That hot, trendy outfit is distorted into a Jersey shore train wreck worthy of those who have not only lost the morals they were raised with, but who might have misplaced their virtue as well. Or just anyone young enough to pull it off and not look like an entire episode of Jerry Springer.
9. I can’t take a diet or eating-style change seriously. When I think about giving up something I truly enjoy eating because the internet has convinced the world it will kill us all, I panic … until I remember I’ve been eating it for 41 f*king years and I’m still alive.
10. I can’t sext with a straight face. A few years ago, thanks to Google, I could sext like a champ. Nowadays, I find it silly to sext for hours on end when I’m not even feeling sexty. Most of the time, incoming sexts have perfectly appropriate, non-sexy, witty comebacks. It seems a shame to waste them, so I don’t.
11. I can’t deal with grown people who don’t know how or when to adult.
12. I can’t take a selfie or post a pic of myself online and take it seriously. It’s why I use all the ridiculous hashtags that I dislike. It amuses me to know I’m doing it wrong and somewhere out there is a hashtag-Nazi about to burst into flames about it.
13. I can’t take my fitness too seriously because I’m not good at it. Watching me CrossFit is like that episode of Seinfeld when Elaine dances and it looks like she’s having a seizure.
14. I can’t date like I did a few years ago. I no longer have the patience or energy to negotiate points – like intelligence and douchebaggery level – that I’m willing to accept to not grow old alone.
15. I can’t ignore the occasional symptoms of anything going on in my body because at my age it could be nothing or it could be something. And according to WebMD, a cold or paper cut could lead to death or early menopause. There’s no middle ground.
16. I can’t seem to care about keeping up with the gray in my hair anymore. Or, rather, getting rid of it in a timely fashion. My every six weeks color jobs have been stretched to about every 4 months because the truth is I’m too lazy to care about something that’s not a permanent fix.
17. I can no longer filter the words that come out of my mouth. If something is whack, I’m saying it. Is someone being stupid? I’m calling them out. Do I find what just happened to be unjust or karmic? I’m totally the first to point it out. Am I being rude? Probably. Do I care? Not one single iota of f*k.
18. I can’t deal with being half-listened to during a conversation. You’re either listening or you’re not and if you don’t want to, just say so because I’m not into wasting words on ears that won’t benefit from the awesomeness that was about to befall them. I mean, hello! I’m not talking because I like hearing the sound of my own voice.
19. I can’t take anyone seriously that posts all their business online. Like, what would y’all have done if the Internet hadn’t been invented yet and there was no Facebook? Nothing, you would do nothing, because the only people listening would be all five of your friends. I’m not talking about legit news; I’m talking about the dramatic epiphanies about life, cheaters, backstabbers, liars and general no-gooders.
20. I can’t be someone I’m not or pretend to like things or people I don’t anymore. It’s so much work trying to calm my personality so other people won’t be offended, overwhelmed or annoyed by the awesomeness of my wit and humor. Or just general cat-lady-craziness. It costs nothing to cut the baggage out of my life – and I love free stuff.
21. I can’t give a single f*k about anyone who reads this and takes offense. I’m too old and “ain’t nobody got time for dat.”