Monday, November 24, 2014

I'm Too Old to Think of My Own Blog Topics, Apparently

Yesterday, Michelle at Rubber Shoes in Hell wrote an amazing post called "9 Things I Am Too Old For." She's on your blog feed, right? You read her stuff, right? Because if you don't, I will totally wait while you add her.

Victor Habbick/

But, like, I don't have all day.
Long story short, I'm stealing her topic. Hey, it's my kid's birthday; I don't have time for original thinking, and also I age a decade for every year older she gets, so at this point I'm decrepit. You people are lucky I can still type. I may short-circuit the keyboard with my old-lady drool at any moment.

graur razvan ionut/
I just took this selfie.
But I digress. Michelle wrote this funny and wise list of things she's outgrown (including uncomfortable shoes and finding the good in people). I'm not feeling particularly funny or wise, but here are six things I feel I'm just too damn to deal with any more. With which I feel I'm too damn old to deal. Whatever.

1. Being afraid of disappointing other people. People have been telling me (explicitly or implicitly) what I should do and what I should be for just about as long as I can remember. And my terror - not too strong a word - of losing the approval of others has paralyzed me my whole life. I'm too damn old for that nonsense. If I keep it up, I won't have any life left, and the person I'll have disappointed the most is myself. Screw that.

2. Being afraid, period. I have a ton of fear in me. Always have. I'm afraid of change, of anger, of being poor, of losing control on an overpass and plunging over the side. I am, let's face it, more than halfway through my life, and none of the things I'm afraid of have managed to destroy me. So it's time to outgrow that destructive emotion.

3. Dieting. The only times in my life that I've successfully lost weight are when I've been consumed by bigger matters than food: Love, illness, caretaking, depression. In fact, I've learned that focusing on what I eat is probably the least effective means of controlling what I eat. There are so many other facets of life that deserve more effort and attention than the size of my thighs, and when I tend to them, I find that either my weight takes care of itself, or I just don't care what size I am relative to the current fashion. It's just food; it's not that bloody fascinating.

4. Delayed gratification. I'm not a particularly impulsive person, and I certainly can exercise self-control when I need to. But I'm so over the concept that self-denial and parsimony are virtues for their own sake. What if I save everything for a rainy day, only to regret that I never enjoyed myself when the sun was shining? If I keep delaying gratification, I'll be too old to be gratified. No thanks.

5. Laziness. I'll never be a clean freak. On the other hand, I enjoy a tidy environment, and I'm willing to put in the effort to not live like Oscar Madison. Chilling on the couch is great, but I've indulged my inner sloth enough to last a lifetime. I'm too old to pretend I don't appreciate a clean house.

6. Acting my age. Younger people try to appear older. Older people try to appear younger. Everybody wants to fool everybody else into thinking they're at a different stage of life from where they are. That's exhausting. What are we trying to accomplish? I'm 46 years old, and society says that I should try to be anything but middle-aged. So if acting my age means not acting my age, then I don't want to act my age. I don't want to act any age. I just want to be me, which means being the responsible mom and sometimes eating a bag of trail mix for dinner. 

So there's that. What have you outgrown lately?


  1. I'll never outgrow not acting my age. And I'll never stop worrying about what I look like. But I am over worrying about whether people accept that I'm 40 and continue to dye my hair blue. But not old lady blue. Peacock blue. And piercings. I love them.

  2. Literary snobbery. It was all part of being a "serious poet". It was bad enough that I made myself read only the most rarefied works of high art, even when I really didn't enjoy them, but I also felt compelled to sneer at those who read romance novels, or Stephen King. I even turned my back on writers I'd loved, like Ray Bradbury.

    No one gave a shit about my opinion, though, and letting go of the belief that what I read somehow made me better than others made me a lot happier. I hope it's also made me nicer to be around. I still like to read Wallace Stevens or see a Shakespeare play now and then, but I don't look down on those who don't. And I can pick up a trashy sci-fi novel without feeling guilty.

  3. I love you so much! Thank you for including me! I LOVE your list. I am adding them to mine.

  4. (I used to know a girl named Michelle. She was the sister of someone I had a gigantic crush on, a long time ago. Her boyfriend gave her a black eye and I sang, in the tune of the Beatles song, "Michelle, my belle, when are those eyes of yours gonna get well...Oh Michelle".)

    Well, let's see:

    I outgrew my old hope that I would someday be a professional writer, only to find a literary agent at last. I know I won't ever be a pro writer but at least now I have a hope that people will, you know, read what I write.

    I've outgrown the idea that I'll ever be a feared but charismatic dictator like Uncle Joe Stalin. I just don't have it in me.

    I've outgrown all hopes that I'll ever successfully learn to swim.

    I've given up on living to please other people, like you. A few years ago I lived only to keep people happy, even online people whom I'd never meet. Now? I'll please myself first, thanks very much.

    I've outgrown dyeing my greying beard to look younger. I'm 44 and greying. So what?

    More important, what I've not outgrown:

    - My love of knowledge.
    - My sick sense of humour
    - My yearning for the love of you know who and the desperate hope that someday she'll be back again.
    - My contempt for "patriotism", no matter where and by whom.

    Well, that's it.


You're thinking it, you may as well type it. The only comments you'll regret are the ones you don't leave. Also, replies to threads make puppies grow big and strong.