It's been a while since I had a good rant about the ravages of age.
Don't pretend you hadn't noticed. You were secretly wondering why I've haven't been on my whiny soapbox for awhile. Your long wait is finally coming to an end. I need sympathy and attention, so I'm wound up for a good whine that will earn me an online pity-party.
My family is too preoccupied to give me the audience I crave. Between the London Olympics, the Presidential election, "Sherlock," college searches, violent blockbuster movies, summer school, budget concerns, and "the weather," no one at my house seems to have time for my semi-annual mid-life crisis. So I'm bringing my whinypants self to the blogosphere where people truly care about my issues.
Here, in no particular order, are some of my personal characteristic that are getting worse with age:
chin hairs - My chin hairs have developed subcategories and supercategories. In fact, the category has to be broadened to include hairs of all colors and textures that appear at random on almost any part of the face. I currently have to play "search and destroy" on practically every inch of the bottom two-thirds, from the brows to the neck folds. I guess this is nature's way of compensating for my lack of a mustache. Because of the fact that I have droopy, fleshy eyelids (see separate rant below), I often have to pluck stray brows from just above my lashes. I mistakenly thought long nosehairs were the province of the males of the species, but a new glasses prescription corrected that notion in short order (retroactive embarrassment). I also have one hair that randomly appears near my jawline, growing 3-4" overnight for no apparent reason; I pluck it and it doesn't come back for months or years. When it shows up again, it is as if it literally pops up full-grown. I keep expecting to grow some nice green warts to showcase these lovely chin-sprouts, which come in black and silver and feel as if they are connected at the bone. I've had to get a tug-of-war team to help yank them out. I'm not sure what the evolutionary purpose of sparse stubble on an otherwise smooth face is, but clearly, God wants me to grow a beard.
eyelids - Although I've never had deep-set eyes or a prominent brow bone, but for most of my life I liked my big blue eyes. Only nowadays they couldn't be described as big. My eyelids have "gained weight" in recent years, and seem to cover too much of my eyeball. They droop so far down that they fold over themselves to make a little hood over my 12 transparent eyelashes. My worsening vision seems to be due (in part) to the obstructive effect of "double-eyelids," which are like double-chins, but may eventually qualify for me corrective surgery. A mini-facelift covered by insurance - what a concept! Except that I can't countenance the thought of someone, even a skilled surgeon, slicing at my eyelids. Looks like I'll have to live out my days with puffy, droopy, raccoon-ringed eyes. Try to control your sympathy.
short-term memory - I like calling my curmudgeonly husband "Al." This derisive nickname is short for the Alzheimer's which seems to strike whenever he is called upon to remember important facts about anyone but himself and Peyton Manning. But lately the girls have whispered "Allie" behind my back (bet you thought I didn't hear you, treasonous children). I seem to be forgetting things with greater frequency of late. The fact is, I forgot something extremely important the other day, something I really needed to tell someone else, and I've already forgotten what it was. The effect of age on my memory function appears to have changed from linear to exponential around the time the girls hit the teen years. The details and minutiae of their busy lives started to crowd out the few available brain cells that remained after I ushered them over the threshold of puberty. I've been warned by people in-the-know that this condition only gets worse. I could offer countless examples of this problem, in the form of embarrassing stories where I get lost on the way to the grocery store, or call an old friend by their sister's name, or asked for a restaurant check after I've already paid it, but I've conveniently forgotten most of them.
varicose veins - I didn't have this condition, at least as far as I knew. Then a friend started discussing her upcoming surgery, which led me to take a closer look, and I got a shock. With my new, improved reading glasses trained on my inner ankles, I discovered intricate roadmaps of red, blue and purple. Later, using a hand mirror, I inspected the back of my thighs and calves. (I don't recommend this if you have a weak stomach or are prone to fits of uncontrolled hysteria.) Not many visible veins on my thighs, because they are protected by a thick layer of cellulite. But my calves - oh, dear - why didn't someone warn me? Delicately framed between shiny stretch marks there were several oddly-shaped purple bulges. I guess we'll have to add this indignity to the growing list.
Creaking/cracking joints - Before I can creep, sloth-like, out of bed each morning, I must first rotate one foot for several seconds until my ankle cracks. I've found that, if I don't, the whole leg mysteriously gives out while I'm trying to get to the bathroom. I don't know why this is or what it portends, but it can't be good. A few minutes later, my first trip of the day down the stairs sounds like a bag of microwave popcorn just warming up - a noisy cadence of pressure-relieving pops. Friends who've heard me crack my neck know that I can produce a blood-curdling sound that could be dubbed into a horror movie where the killer breaks someone's neck bare-handed...it's pretty gruesome. I wasn't expecting to have such noisy joints at my age. It seems only fair that I should be "officially beyond childbearing capability" before I have to sound this old.
Forgetting - Not to be confused with short-term memory problems, I'm talking about forgetting names, birthdays, directions - facts I've known all my life which now routinely escape my grasp. Sometimes there's someone on hand who can fill in the blank ("Mom, why don't you just get our phone number tattooed on your wrist?"), but often I've lost an entire afternoon researching some mundane factoid (July 4, 1776) that I would have thought impossible to forget. This may be the inevitable fallout of a lifetime of collecting and storing trivia in order to impress people with my Jeopardy skills. It would be nice to do some selective defragging and purging of overcrowded or malfunctioning areas of my brain. Does anyone know how to achieve this kind of de-cluttering? I read a self-help article about it once, but I guess I forgot what it said.
I had planned to "rave on" about this until I reached ten unpleasant aspects of age, but I'm already somewhat demoralized at the ones I've discussed here today. As I've often said, I'm very lucky to be healthy, well-fed and sheltered and surrounded by people I love, so I realized that these are rather minor concerns. Compared to most of the folks I share this planet with, I have nothing to whine about. But that never stopped me before.
So I'll stop with the rants above for the time being. Unless someone is desperate to hear about bladder issues, hearing difficulties, thick toenails, lactose intolerance and my new fascination with Lawrence Welk reruns, I think I'll stop and grab a nap or something.