photo by Sheri Dixon

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I Always Thought Wisdom Would Come With Less Tylenol

"That's quite an accomplishment for someone of your age".

On the other side of the looking glass, that would've been a bigger compliment- back when I was a child and had done something considered beyond my years. But this was recently, when I passed my certification test to become a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager- a pretty grueling task.

"That's quite an accomplishment for someone of your age", said a former employer who had been one of my four required references to even apply to sit for the exam.

Because I'm all old now.

At 54, I'm all old now and had never been to college and one of the requirements had also been 18 college hours of business courses. So I signed up for the courses at the community college in the next town over. Five of them were online, but one was in person.

The first night of class I texted Ward. "If I add up the ages of all the other students here, it'll still be less than my age."

I was older than the teacher. Not by much, but still.

I will admit that having gray hair and bifocals has its advantages.

Young men will reach up and get something from a top shelf at the store or offer to lift heavy sacks out of my cart at the car and it's a lot less stressful to know it's not because they are looking for an opening to ask me out but because I remind them of their mom (or grandmother).

When dealing with difficult people at work, it's much less intimidating and confrontational that I look pretty harmless; like I should have fresh-baked still-warm cookies in my pocket.

And I can generally out-maneuver most anyone in any sort of debate- auto repair, work meeting, political discussion...because yanno. I'm old and stuff and they never expect any opposition, much less expertise out of me.

I am a little disappointed in gravity.

I would think that here in the 'non-science-believing' zone of the US, gravity would've been kinder to me just because I accept its existence. Why is everything on me pointed down now? And I swear I'm shorter than I used to be.

I used to worry about appearance. I know it didn't show, but I did to a certain extent.

I polished my nails and wore makeup and pantyhose- even shoes with heels on occasion.

At some point in the last few years, though, I've stopped worrying about how my parts look and just became grateful that they still work.

I've become accustomed to aching most everywhere most every day and weather the days mostly without the aid of Tylenol. At night I sleep with Ward up against my back, Fizzgig up against my tummy, and a heating pad on my side to warm all the aches. I don't sleep very well for some reason- keep dreaming I'm wedged somewhere and can't get out. Then I wake up needing to pee and realize that I really can't get out, and when you need to pee is NOT the time to have to PUSH against a 15 pound dog who weighs roughly 75 pounds when unconscious.

My hair is graying, my parts are all sagging and squishy, my eyes need bifocals, my hip hurts constantly and clicks when I walk, and my ankle that got caught up in a dog chain 11 years ago will never ever be strong again, but yanno what?

I'm OK with all of it.

So I don't look 25 anymore. I'm NOT 25 anymore and wouldn't be 25 again for anything- that was a horrible time in my life filled with instability, lack of self-confidence and angst.

Don't like how I look? Don't look.

Don't like what I have to say? Tough.

Ward's first wife 'had a lot of work done' in an attempt to look young(er). When he and I became a couple 20 years ago, I told him, "I'm going to get old. I will do my best not to get fat or smell bad, but other than that there WILL be gray hair and wrinkles, so if that's not OK, you just need to know that now."

I'm 20 pounds overweight, but not fat (by East Texas standards, anyway), my hair is gray and I've got wrinkles. My one expensive indulgence is French perfume so I'm pretty sure I don't smell bad and Ward is still here.

That's all that matters.


  1. you go girl, um, middle-aged gray-haird creaky girl...rawr!

  2. Amen to that!!! I'll be 57 soon and growing more and more appreciative of what still works, and how much my body has put up with over the years. Would I like my 24 year old body back ? Probably, but not my 24 year old brain!!