Wednesday, October 3, 2012

5 Reason I Know I'm Old (and you might be, too)

Today is my birthday.
Wedding 125 - Copy
Fresh from 'da womb, bitches
34 years ago my mother, drug-free and hallucinating from the pain (I kid you not, she apparently thought she was a pioneer woman who’s wagon train was under attack. Sure you were drug-free mom. Sure) delivered me at our local hospital and brought me home a few days later.
Wedding 124
What the hell IS that thing?
Fast-forward 34 years and I sit here, married with two children of my own and a disorderly house around me.

I normally don’t put much stock in adult birthdays. Unless its a milestone one, its just the marking of another year passed and another new number to try to remember when filling out forms.

And then I stop myself and think.

TRY to remember? TRY? Its MY motherfucking AGE. There should be no TRY about it. It should just roll off the tongue, or flow from the pen as easily as … as breathing.  And yet it doesn’t. What.the.hell.  Am I really that old that I forget my own age?         
The answer: Yes.
5 Reason I Know I'm Old

1. I don’t know my age anymore. I used to think my parents were idiots when I would ask how old they were, and they would have to calculate back from their birthday to figure it out.

How do you not know how old you are, mom?” my smartassy 17 year old self would smirk. “Like, seriously. Its, like, your age. Its not, like, hard to remember or anything. Like, jeeez”.

And yet here we are. Unless I’m having an especially “on” day, when asked how old I am the steps involved to calculate my age are akin to one of those weird algorithms your asshat teacher would give you in high school:

The Year of Birth, (x), subtracted from The Current Year (y) = Realizing Your Subtraction Skills Are As Poor As Your Age-Recall Skills (w), divided by Your Age At Marriage (z) and Your Age At High School Graduation (f), subtracted from the Age-Difference Equivalent Between Yourself And Your Husband’s Age (i).   
I’m not sure what evil force is at work that makes you forget your own age, but its there and its alive. Today I received the following email from my father:

Happy Birthday, Andy! Have a great day on your 31st birthday! Love, Dad     
I kid you not, my first thought at reading this email was Man, I canNOT believe I’m 31 now. That sounds so old and wizened.

You can, of course, imagine my joy when I realized I was actually three years older. Awesome. Given that its not even his own age, however, I’m vastly impressed that my father was within the actual correct decade for me. I struggle with my children’s ages at times now, too, and I’ve only been a parent for 5 years or so. Or … wait. 3 years? Maybe its 7? 

2. My driving skills have gone to shit. I’m not saying I could rival Mario Andretti in days past, but I could handle a car. Now, however, I find myself hitting curbs, parking like an asshole and buzzing pedestrians in crosswalks without doing it on purpose.

Some days I’m frankly embarrassed of my driving skills, but I’ve learned to shrug them off with all the panache of my nearly-70 year old mother: Whatever. *waves her hand* I’m old. They need to learn to get out of MY way.        
3. I don’t like change. And by change, I do not mean “changes in my life”. I mean actual, physical change, like the kind you carry in your wallet.

When I was younger, my mother would humiliate me to no end by digging around in her purse at stores for the exact.change.required at transactions, muttering “Hang on a sec … I know I’ve got a nickel in here somewhere”. As a teenager I would writhe and squirm in chagrin, cheeks flaming and head down as I did everything in my power to pretend I was not with That Woman who was seemingly holding up the entire line at Safeway. Afterwards I would confront her angrily in the car: “Mommmmm! Ohmigod! That was soooooo embarrassing! Why didn’t you just give the cashier a bill, like normal people do? Ohmigod, I am SO HUMILIATED”.

You know what? I get it now. I hate how heavy change makes my purse, I hate how it spills all over the place when my kid unzips it while playing, I even hate the way its dirty and yucky and filthy and covered in grime. I hate change. And I will do anything in my power to avoid it, including holding up the drive-through line-up so I can find those final 4 pennies needs to assure I don’t receive a crapload of coins in return for non-change-hunting laziness. I get it, and I’m sorry for being a bitchy teenager, mom.         
4. My wardrobe consists of sensible clothes. Long-gone are the days of expensive high heels, backless tops and short skirts (not to make me sound like a former whore or anything). In their place are flats (ballerina ones if I’m feelin’ fancy), ruched tops to hide the post-baby muffin and high-waisted bootcut jeans. The saddest part? 90% of my wardrobe comes from Joe which, if you’re Canadian, you will recognize as a grocery store brand.

Wanna know why? Because (a) I don’t have time for personal clothes shopping outings anymore, and thus must constrain myself to squeezing it into the weekly grocery trip, and (b) If a kid pukes, shits, or Crayola-markers me its ok because it only cost me $7. High heels now make my hips hurts, backless tops don’t accommodate nursing bras and short skirts suck for park trips and lots of squatting. Plain and simple.

Just like my wardrobe.

5. I just know. I had the realization a few weeks ago when attending Mason’s parent open house at his new preschool. While sitting in the room and observing others, it dawned on me. Holy shit, I’m one of them now. I’m a parent. I’M OLD ENOUGH TO HAVE A KID IN PRESCHOOL. Look at all these uptight, beaten-down looking adults. Do I ACTUALLY look as OLD as them? Is someone else sitting here looking at me right now thinking “That is one old, uptight lookin’ bitch over there”?   
Driving home Jamie and I talked about it because we had actually thought the same thing while in the meeting. And we realized that yes, we were old. We no longer appreciate the loud music at pubs because damnit, you just can’t have a proper conversation with that blaring in your ears. And we now understand why our parents get up at ridiculously early times because your freakin’ babies train you that way and then you learn that you actually can get a lot more done during the day. *Gasp, shock, awe, horror!*

So there you have it. My self-realization for today. It ain’t pretty, but its the new me and I’m learning to accept it, sore hips, comfortable clothes and all.

What about you? What things do you do that make you realize “Oh my god, I’m old?”.


  1. so. true.
    happy 34th birthday (to the both of us)

    1. Ah ... An auspicious day, and an auspicious year. Happy birthday to you, too! And btw, love the kitchen reno update. ;)

  2. Happy birthday!!

    I'm know I'm old because staying out past 9pm is way past my bed time, I hate loud music in pubs or restaurants, and I also shop at Joe a lot! I also had to trade in my sporty stick shift for a automatic mom-mobile. Very uncool!

    1. Happy birthday!! I love this post so much I want to kiss you. Chastely. And with very little tongue.

      Meredith ( Pile of Babies)

    2. Ah Nicole .... But the fact that you COULD drive a stick makes you so much cooler than me, regardless!

      Meredith, very little tongue sounds wonderful, but let's up the "chastely" to at least "with flourish". Just to make it interesting, ya know? ;)

  3. Happy Birthday! I hope you have a fantastic day!

  4. A very happy 25th birthday.....what?!!
    The day I woke up at 5 a.m. instead of going to bed at that time was when I realized that I had become old!! :))


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