The moment you realize you’re old. It comes for all of us.
For me, it started when I asked the twenty-something hostess for plastic cutlery to go with my take-out. She met my gaze with a blank stare.
“Cutlery?” I repeated.
Still, she looked confused.
“A fork and knife?” I mimed eating.
“Ah! Yes!” she said, offering me a sealed packet of plastic cutlery.
I must have sounded as extravagant as the upstairs elite.
It makes me uneasy that my primary care physician is younger than me. Not because I fear she lacks adequate experience, but simply because my doctor isn’t supposed to be younger than me.
It looks like a chess match is under way in my medicine cabinet there are so many bottles of supplements and prescriptions. Mammograms and colonoscopies are suddenly a thing. My knees creak. I’ve got a turkey wattle forming under my chin. The flesh where my biceps should be swings back and forth when I use a hair dryer. Where did that extra skin come from?
All I can do is try to take these realities in stride just as I must when my three-year-old tells me I look like a dinosaur and my husband tells me my hair smells like a goat.
I’ve entered my midlife crisis while raising a 3-year-old. Which means I’m questioning what I want my legacy to be, but I’m too busy to give it as much thought as I’d like. Meanwhile, I don’t have the disposable income to buy a sports car and feel the wind in my thinning hair in lieu of self-introspecting.
I find myself looking for wisdom in the books I read to my daughter, as though the Berenstain Bears and Peppa Pig collections came from the self-help shelf. Much of this genre is in fact self-help: teaching children how to regulate their emotions, the importance of sharing, and how to calmly consider solutions to their challenges. (I have yet to see hiding in a closet to angry cry and scarf down a chocolate bar suggested in any of these books.)
I keep searching for answers, but a child’s issues just don’t seem to translate to my own. C’mon, Peppa – give me some career pointers. Mama and Papa Bear, always at the ready to dispense sage advice to your hirsute children – throw a little guidance my way.
According to Peppa, the greatest joy in life is jumping in muddy puddles. For me it’s eating a toasted everything bagel with a cup of coffee. The cause of and solution to all of Curious George’s problems is his insatiable curiosity. I’m only curious to the extent that it’s practical; it takes an awful lot of time and energy to be curious. I think the only relevant concept may be Harold with his purple crayon, because he draws his own destiny. (Can I borrow that crayon?)
Three quarters of children’s books are about going to sleep, designed to help a child wind down. I certainly don’t need any help falling asleep. Sleeping is already my superpower. The challenge isn’t falling asleep, it’s getting enough of it.
Guess I’ll just have to wait and see what tonight’s bedtime reading may offer in terms of enlightenment.