Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Staring at Youth in the Rearview

Yesterday was my 40th birthday, and while I am not as freaked out about this major milestone as I thought I would be, there is no denying that “youth” is officially a thing of my past. Oh, there are times when 40 can be seen in relative terms as being young, like if you are visiting an Old Folks Home or in the setting of terminal disease, but true youth has evaporated. This is particularly highlighted in US running where turning 40 allows admission into the master’s category, essentially an acknowledgement by the powers-that-be that quadragenarians lack the vim and vitality to compete head to head with younger athletes. At least Americans can take heart knowing they won’t be put out to the master’s pasture until age 40; World Masters Athletics start at age 35.

“But you are only as old as you feel,” the optimists sing, and indeed there is even some evidence that this is true (Yes, I just referenced a Web MD link; don’t revoke my medical license!). Most days, I still feel pretty young- I can run 100 miles in a day, goshdarnit! - but there are starting to be some telltale signs of my age.

Reasons I Know I am Old:

Wow! These new jeans look so stylishly used
1) I want my new jeans to look like new jeans. Today's jeans are supposed to look like you have worn them everyday for the last ten years. Only nobody actually does that, so you buy new jeans that look like old jeans. But I do not want jeans that are pre-creased, pre-faded, or hems that are pre-shredded. And I sure as hell don't want the jeans to come with symmetric little shreds all up and down the quads. I mean, nobody rips their jeans in a square hole in the middle of the thigh! These manufactured attempts to make denim look well-loved are about as fake as a set of double D's on a 100 pound lady! Now, I am not looking for Mom jeans (yet), but if I spend money on a new pair of jeans, I want them to look new. Besides, as a 40 year old mom, I want you to know that I am still putting a little effort into myself. If I wanted used jeans, I'd go to Goodwill!

2) I don't need alcohol to be hungover. Like many, I got out of bed with extreme reluctance on January 1st. Man, was I tired! Plus, I had a headache, a dry mouth and I really needed some greasy food. It was all the classic hangover symptoms. Only I didn't drink at all on New Year's Eve! Staying up till 12:30 is just really hard on my old body!

3) Nighttime is for sleeping. Remember in college when you didn't even leave your dorm before ten pm because no party really got going before that? You could party and dance till 3 am and it still felt early. And how about when you were first madly in love and you certainly weren't going to bed to get a little shut-eye? Nowadays, 10 pm means it's a half hour past my bedtime, and you are only getting sex if it doesn't cut into my sleep!

4) I experience sticker shock regularly. A few years ago we bought a roll of "forever stamps" and I have been using them to send off the rare snail mail item, blissfully unaware of what I was paying in postage. And then I had to go to the post office to mail a package and sheets of 49 cent stamps were plastered everywhere. Holy hell! 49 cents to send a stinking letter! You should be able to mail your Christmas packages for that price! I mean I remember when postage went from 18 cents to 20 cents and that was a BIG DEAL! And then last week we stopped at a convenience store to pick up a treat for a long drive and candy bars were a dollar - each!! And that was just the regular size, not the king size or anything. Well, obviously convenience stores jack up their prices and charge you extra for the 'convenience.' Except candy bars were a dollar at our local supermarket, too! When I was a kid we picked up candy bars with a Washington, too - a Washington quarter that is!

5) Public establishments are too loud. When I go out, I just want to have a nice conversation with a few close friends, maybe sip a nice mixed drink. But all the bars are just too fucking loud! You've got to yell just to talk to the person across the table and even then you can only pick up half the words. And now all the restaurants are playing loud music, too. And then there are live bands and those are just extra loud!

6) I no longer celebrate my birthday in a bar. It used to be so important to celebrate my birthday in a bar that I would use a fake ID just to get in! (Mom, that's a lie). Back then nothing said "happy birthday" better than pounding shots called "snake bite" out of a test tube. But bars don't allow kids and I don't really want to pay a babysitter just to go to a bar. Did I mention how loud those places are? This past Saturday we had several friends and their kids to our house for a potluck dinner with cheesecake and s'mores around our fire pit. I sipped one nice mixed drink and had lots of good conversation. We partied till the wee hours of the morning; I don't think the last person left till almost 11:00! Then I went straight to bed (to sleep only). And in the morning I woke up with a hangover.

7) I spent my actual birthday dropping off the glass recycling and attending a parent teacher conference. I am a party animal! But I also had a nice lunch with my husband and this happened to my hair:
I'd like to think I did this because I am so sassy and young at heart, but I am pretty sure it is just the first inklings of my midlife crisis and a desperate attempt to reconnect to Youth even though we all know that bridge has burned! Hello 40's!


Olga King said...

I am way past you. But then again, I am WAY past you:) Try working in undergrad college and be surrounded by 18 yo. Did we dress like this? Did I do this? And when you begin telling everyone : "When I was your age"...you're totally doomed!

Raina R. said...

Congrats on entering the master's phase! You're going to stomp all the races and be able to say you're over the hill, even when there's plenty of uphill left.

Great new hair do. :)

Happy birthday!!

heather/runharrietrun said...

Happy birthday! I recently turned 38 and have so many of the same issues, especially the bar/loud music thing. I can't believe I used to voluntarily hang out in those places and thought it was fun. Also, like Olga I work at a university and whenever I'm having a denial-of-agedness moment all I have to do is look around to realize that no, nobody will ever mistake me for an 18 year old ever...

Anyway! I usually read without commenting and always enjoy your posts :)

Tatiana Surazhsky said...

Happy Birthday!!! Can relate, turned 40 this year too

Unknown said...

We use to moan in bed, now we moan when we get out of bed. I'm a 65 year old Salemite, who is still happy to get in a 20 mile week on trails. But sure miss my youth and those sub 3 hour marathons.