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.