And the beat goes on

January 29, 2015

The other night Chris and I spent two hours test driving vacuums. Two hours. In one store.

When it comes to vacuums all I care about is if it sucks everything up and doesn’t make me choke when I empty the canister. Not so for Chris. He needs to know which one’s the lightest and has the best motor. How does that stair attachment work, anyway? As far as I’m concerned as long as all the cat hair’s stuffed into it, SOLD.

Once it was down to the final two, he spent the last hour whirring around corners and over cracks to determine which model picked up best.  ‘This one’s actually a bit sexier around the corners,’ was right around the time I passed out laughing. Whoever closed the cleaning section that night must’ve beamed from ear-to-ear.

As Chris sat talking pros and cons with the sales guy, a mere 19 years old and not the owner of a vacuum although his mom owns apartment condos and uses some other machine I didn’t get the name of, it hit me: we’re old. WE ARE OLD. This kid thought we were in his mom’s league.

I never thought aging would bother me; I thought I’d just take it in stride and skate right through to the end drinking green tea. In reality it’s proving to be a little harder than that. I have silver hair popping up. I need reading glasses for the first time in my life. My joints ache. I don’t feel good about it.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night wondering what the hell I’m doing with my life. If the average lifespan is, say, 80 years old then I’m more than halfway there and don’t have much to show for it. Is this what aging is? Progressive freak outs the closer you get to the finish line?

And don’t get me started on the mirror. The mirror. The dreaded mirror. I try not to look in there very much anymore. Today I was at the dermatologist’s office and he said something pretty insightful. ‘There are two ways to handle this. One, you look in the mirror, you don’t like what you see and, rather than continually obsessing over it, you live with it. Option number two, you are uncomfortable with how you look and you decide to do something about it. It really is that simple. Don’t beat yourself up about whatever you decide. This is tough stuff.’

He’s right about that. Whoever says getting old is easy, hasn’t done it. The thing is it’s not just the vanity aspect, at least not for me. It’s the process of actually getting older. It’s the not having clear direction, compounded by suddenly not looking the way I’ve been accustomed to seeing myself look the past twenty years, and then having it reinforce this really is happening. Life is going by and now it’s taking a toll, so I can’t avoid it. Sounds crazy, right? Believe me, I know, I’m living it.

You know what I like best about blogs these days? Nobody reads them. If you have a pile of words and no pretty pictures, most people gloss right by. That’s relieving to me. It leaves room for those of us looking to question our existence and occasionally lose our shit a little within the semi-safe confines of a small internet circle. I’m okay with that.

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  • Reply little luxury list February 12, 2015 at 3:05 am

    As my husband says, I’m glad the women in my mom’s family are all well preserved (so I hope to be too!)

    • Reply This Free Bird February 19, 2015 at 2:46 am

      Your husband is a smart man! And I bet you will be 🙂

  • Reply Bee January 30, 2015 at 12:33 am

    Age is a number. There. I said it!!! It’s just harder to believe it!!! I am going to rock 53 in March. I have spent the last seven years of my life on disability due to nerve pain from congenital back issues. Blah, blah, blah!!! I try SUPER HARD every day to get dressed with a smile and slap a cute outfit on! It’s what I got! When life changes, and we age,we become wise as heck!! Thank the Big Guy for new vacuums and new face products!!! So happy your writing ;). I didn’t know!! F/U (that’s follow you (hehe)) on IG – now I can here too. 🙂

    • Reply This Free Bird February 11, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      Oh good God Bee lady I hope I can get to the age is just a number stage someday. I’m working on it!

  • Reply Marie a la Mode January 29, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    I always love reading your posts, they are full of SUBSTANCE, you know? I’m not gonna lie, I’m afraid of getting old. There, I said it. But knowing I may be able to look as good as you do when I’m your age in a few years gives me hope 😉 For real, when I met you I thought you were in your early thirties, remember my expression? Anyways, I love this quote by Joyce Carpati: “Aging is a privilege” which is so true and I think that’s what we need to keep in mind – not everyone is lucky enough to live a long life…


    • Reply This Free Bird February 11, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      Thank you, Marie. Aging is a privilege. That’s a great way to look at it. Also, you look like a 14 yr old so you’re in the clear for a while longer 🙂

  • Reply Jen January 29, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    I’m betting that once again, you have managed to articulate what a lot of people feel. I’ve actually really enjoyed my 40s so far. I’ve challenged myself in a variety of ways to try new things, most of which have turned out to be super fun. I’ve got the grey hair thing, too…yeah…I think about doing something about, but it only lasts like a second because I know I’ll never make the time to keep up with it consistently. I keep thinking I’d rather put that money towards a vacation or something, and I’d rather use the time it would take to do something fun outside. Which means I’m pretty much destined to wind up grey, wrinkly and sun-spotty while everyone else looks 10 years younger! So I’ll be here to make you feel good about your looks no matter what you think you’ve got going on!! But seriously, hang in there. Sometimes not having a clear path is just…the path. Not having a plan has one real upside: without expectations, you are rarely disappointed.

    • Reply This Free Bird February 19, 2015 at 2:45 am

      You really embrace new things, find new challenges and put yourself out there. I admire that about you. You don’t strike me as someone who gets caught up in a number and I need more people like that in my life. Thanks for always being so positive! Also about the path, I’m not even sure I’m on one. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m not. See: in the weeds.

  • Reply lena January 29, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    This whole post was beautiful, but nothing hit me harder than what you said about no one actually reading blogs anymore. YES to this, and to enjoying the freedom that little unread corners of the internet can bring, especially when you’re having a little existential meltdown.

    • Reply This Free Bird February 19, 2015 at 2:43 am

      No one reads them, right? I mean I’m no big blogger by any means, but even when I go searching for ones with meaningful thoughts/words they are not easy to find. Makes it easier to keep the list short, I guess?

  • Reply Nicole January 29, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    I gloss by most blogs these days, pretty pictures or not! It’s all so homogenized and kinda sad because I used to love reading all kinds; art, style, cooking etc. anyway as usual your writing is fantastic and honest, and I love that photo so…. Yeah getting older is tough, quite literally you have to work twice as hard for a fraction of the result. I’ll be 35 in a few months and my anti aging strategies are the following: frownines, retin-a, sunscreen, facial exercises, sleeping on your back and there’s a few others we can text about. I think you should know when we met up a few years back I thought you were a full ten years younger than you are. For really-o. Xoxo

    • Reply This Free Bird January 29, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      I feel ya on the blogs, Nicole. I totally feel ya. I think it might be because there are too many and there’s only so much original content out there. Idk, I just stick to some of the ones I read before that are still around, and there aren’t that many. Also, all the shopping ones are a big hell no. Back to the getting older tips: well, sadly, I’ve done all the ones you mentioned save the frownies. What else do you have in your arsenal because you look fantastic!! I could have sworn you were in your 20’s and I’m not pulling your leg. You go girl!

  • Reply Jenn January 29, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Turning 37 this year has brought up a lot of these same feelings for me. I’m middle-aged! ME. I can’t believe it. 🙂 I still haven’t figured out what I want to “do”!

    • Reply This Free Bird January 29, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      It’s so crazy because when I was 37 I flat out refused to think of myself as ‘middle-aged’. I looked young! I acted young! I felt young! So there you go, I pass it on to you: you’re not middle-aged. HAHA! It’s a crazy thing to look at the number and measure it out against the average lifespan, isn’t it? Do kids make you feel younger or older? That’s a whole different bag of tricks. Yikes.

  • Reply Kristin W January 29, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    And there! Insight from the dermatologist. I sort of enjoy the actual gaining of years; it makes me feel so much smarter and wiser. It’s the damn wrinkles that I can’t deal with. I don’t particularly love the idea of dishing out $100+ on creams and shit (and I won’t even dare think of botox). I’m too young for these pronounced forehead wrinkles which are a result of the constant raised eyebrows I maintain. Luckily it’s taught me to loosen up and relax my face. But in the meantime, I’ll focus on things that are more important for getting old…like vacuums that actually work and what the hell I’m doing with my life 🙂

    • Reply This Free Bird January 29, 2015 at 6:18 pm

      You’re too young and I should send you the 411 on this facial oil I used for years in my 30’s from 100% Pure. I’ll look it up. It was a lifesaver and my skin loved it!! Wasn’t expensive either. As for the vacuum, wellllll that’s another story (at least for us). But it works like a dream! Not a cat hair, fuzz or lint in sight!

  • Reply Dancing Branflake January 29, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    I really like your dermatologist. That’s kind of life changing, you know?

    • Reply This Free Bird January 29, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      It was, it really was. It was nice to have him validate that this is a normal way to feel and it’s not the end of the world. Also that it’s not a terrible thing to erase a line or two. Sometimes I think we put way too much pressure on ourselves about this stuff and, well, all kinds of stuff.

  • Reply Kim January 29, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Well I read yours, and I like it! Getting old is no fun but your doctor is right. I have this one crinkly, kinky white hair sticking out of the top of my head that is basically a flashback to my grandmother’s thin, white mop. For years I would pluck it out but now I just let it be. It’s good to keep it there for some perspective, even if I have a bathroom that gets a lot of natural light. Sigh.

    • Reply This Free Bird January 29, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      You could always use a sharpie on that silver? I kid! I kid!! This whole aging thing’s a drag. The best thing, at least for me, is to try not to think about it. Just LIVE. But sometimes that shit catches up and I need a minute to lament.

  • Reply Nadia January 29, 2015 at 4:59 am

    I look forward to your blogs BECAUSE of the words. xo

    • Reply This Free Bird January 29, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      Thank you, Nadia. That means the world to me. xo

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