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The Surprises of Growing Older

When I was younger, and I’d be willing to bet you were the same, I was full of passion and convictions. Many of my beliefs hold true today; I am still pro-choice and anti-violence, I still believe that mean people suck and that high heels are only rarely worth the discomfort. However, there are a number of things that I have come to value that young SaraB would look at and say, “You have got to be kidding me.” The worst part is that they are so cliché, the young me who still ives in the back of my mind is embarrassed that I have succumbed to them.

“You’re not going out of the house dressed like that.”

balck and white picture of Lita ford and a guitarYou’re right, Mom, I’m not. The tight jeans with the ass torn out and the mini skirts of my youth are gone (thank you, 1980s heavy metal scene). I may not have the most professional wardrobe, I do work at home after all, but I do like to keep things covered. Not only that, but I rarely get to wear my pretty pretty bras. When I was younger, I fell in love with funky underwear. The more bright colors and fun patterns that came out, the more I vowed never to buy anything with “nude,” “blush” or “taupe” in the description. Unfortunately, purple plaid bras and light colored T-shirts don’t mix. When your teenaged sons have their teenaged friends come over, it is not only inappropriate to have your bra showing through your shirt, it is creepy. I can still remember Young Sara’s cries of despair the day I was out shopping and said, “Oh, beige! This will be perfect.” I still have the purple plaid, but it only comes out when I’m sure that I’m the only one who will know I’m wearing it.

And it’s not just my clothes either. I look at groups of young people and sometimes I just don’t understand what they are thinking. Who thinks it’s attractive to wear your pants that low? Seriously, if I wanted to see guy’s underwear, I’d just do some laundry.

“If the music’s too loud, you’re too old.”

Will Smith, parents just don't understandI’m just gonna say it. I hate loud music. Not all the time – if I am driving by myself, sometimes I like to roll down the windows, crank up the volume and sing like I’m a rockstar. However, if I am out at a bar or hanging out with friends, raising my voice to be heard over a sound system irritates me.

What really stings, though, is that I often find myself thinking, “What is this crap?” when I listen to current music. Now, I’m not going to say that getting older means you automatically lose touch with what’s new on the radio, but you do have to work harder to stay on top of things. I had to make a conscious decision a few years ago to seek out new music at least twice a year, when I realized that I could not hum a single song by any artist on the Grammys. The ironic thing is, if I’m being totally honest, the new artists I have “discovered” usually appeal to me because they remind me of the bands I fell in love with when I was younger. Fratellis anyone?

“Just try it, you’ll like it.”

I never believed it when I was a kid, but your tastes really do change as you get older. Again, not in all cases. I still think cooked carrots are vile, and we all remember when George Bush banned broccoli from the White House*, but there are a lot of things I swore I would never like that, it turns out, I actually do. The ones that immediately come to mind are salad dressing, kielbasa, and onions.

The other side of the changing tastes coin is that you stop liking things that you used to love. I can’t eat Peeps. Nor can I eat a piece of cake with two inches of frosting. I have to scrape most of that shit off or my teeth start to hurt.

The end result of these changing tastebuds is that, where this used to be the most awesome thing ever:

cupcake and vitamin super breakfast
Image from NatalieDee.com

Sometimes what I really crave is this:

Broccoli saying Vitamins
Image from NatalieDee.com

Like I said earlier, there are times when I can hear Young Sara railing against these changes. “How can this be? How can we have turned into this? We used to be so cool.” Well Young Sara, change happens. We would be bored to tears by now if it didn’t. And if you think we can’t still be cool, just because I have changed my thinking about a few things, then I point you to the immortal words of Walt Whitman. From Song of Myself:

Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

*I f-ing love broccoli, by the way. We eat it a couple times a week in the B household.

By [E]SaraB

Glass artisan by day, blogger by night (and sometimes vice versa). SaraB has three kids, three pets, one husband and a bizarre sense of humor. Her glass pendants can be found at www.etsy.com/shop/AngryOwlStudio if you're interested in checking it out.

53 replies on “The Surprises of Growing Older”

Man, I’m still Young Birdy and I think the music is too loud. I have friends because I want to talk to them, dammit.

Also: don’t worry if you don’t know the music on the radio. Generally speaking, it all sucks, and the Grammys are a big industry circle-jerk.

I have sworn for years/decades/my entire life that I would never eat broccoli. That it was disgusting, and vile, and just no. No no no.

And what do I do now? I eat broccoli. I don’t hate it anymore. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT.
Young!me feels betrayed.

 

Of course, I also wish that my family had explained to me the benefits of vegetables and not just that “they are good for you.” I understand it now, which is why I tried broccoli again in the first place.

I’m just a few months away from 47 and while I’ve noticed all of these things, I’ve also found that I’m not as embarrassed or sheepish about feeling this way as I thought I would be. That’s a nice surprise.

I’m not so thrilled that I suddenly have to pluck hair from my chin (where the hell did those come from?!?) but I am happy that I’m more generally happy and accepting of my appearance as a whole. The mild panic I felt in my 30s at the first appearance of tiny wrinkles around my eyes is gone.  I’m not aggravated by the sight of strands of grey hair anymore, especially since I stopped coloring my hair four years ago.  Now I think of them as silver highlights.

I surprise myself, sometimes, because growing older doesn’t bother me nearly as much as I thought it would.

 

That was one of the things I bought about while away from the computer, and then forgot when I sat down to write.

After the first shock of puberty, you will never stop being surprised by your body’s ability to produce hair. It is possible to have “Where the fuck did THAT come from?” moments and “Didn’t I used to have more hair there?” moments in the same damn day.

So is this where all of the old Persephoneers are hanging out? I’ll be 41 next month. I complain about modern “music”, I forgot why I went into the kitchen, I think I might need bifocals, and I wish those neighbor kids would quit being so damn loud! I am officially OLD.

I know this one! Forgetting what you needed from the kitchen isn’t an age thing, it’s a part of how our brains work. I found the most fascinating article about it a few months ago. People have been studying the phenomenon and what it boils down to is that our brains use doorways as event markers, so when you walk through a door your brain archives whatever happened in, say, the living room into it’s “Living Room” file and opens up the “Kitchen” file, with all of its attached information and memories, instead. You forget because the instant you walk through the portal of forgetfulness, you are in a new brain space and it’s harder to remember what you were doing in the old one.

This is the first article I read about it:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/21/walking-through-doorways-forgetting_n_1105871.html

I love shit like this. I could eat it up with a spoon.

If I could put on a pair of those sky-high heels the kids are wearing and strut down Congress Avenue I swear I would never complain about a wrinkle again. But here’s something funny: just this year I want all the new music, I love that hip-hop and it needs to be really really loud so I can hear all the layers. I like it really shallow, and I never want to hear another love song or another oldie. Holla.

I am an old lady at 37 and fully embrace it. For several years, the crap you might have heard referred to on the radio as “Top 40”, I have called “shitrock”. Most offenders have numbers in their band names. I swear it all sounds the same. I listen to the same stuff that I have listened to for well over a decade, save for a couple of standout newer singer/songwriters that are immensely talented. And no, I’m not talking about Adele. Now please hand me my bifocals so that I watch reruns of the Waltons on the Hallmark Channel with my Momaw.

I’m surprised by the confidence I gain the older I get, and the ability to laugh at things in my past that used to be embarrassing.

At 28, I’m not exactly old, per se, but for instance, 28 feels a lifetime older than 18. Hell, it feels a lot older than 25. I feel like I’m finally just starting to come into my own, that big projects or challenges aren’t as scary and overwhelming as they once felt, and that life is almost starting to make just a little bit of sense.

Also, I can now laugh at the clothes I wore in junior high and think, “Ahh, kids!” whereas before, I was just mortified and hid all the pictures.

It’s okay, really; every single white girl in the ’80s had a bad perm. You are not alone. My mother gave me “Rave” (what?) home perms at the kitchen table. I remember hyperventilating while I was breathing into a towel trying to avoid the noxious fumes in the setting chemicals that were being applied to my rolled hair.

As I get older, I find myself admitting more and more that some of the things my parents tried to hammer into my head make sense, like working harder, or saving money for going out to special occasions, rather than going out all the time. I probably won’t admit to them about it either.

Couple of changes that have happened from when I was young: I say No to social outings a lot more; I drink more (I didn’t as much when I was in my early 20s) and am very selective about what I drink; I complain about loud noises a lot; I put things in places and then forget where they went; I did a loop from wearing a ton of black -> lots of colors -> back to a ton of black; I endorse careful planning & not getting carried away (I used to be Miss Last Minute Under Pressure Throw It and See Where It Lands)

We all had vinyl pants. I loved mine like nothing else. I actually just gave them away in a clothing swap a few years ago. (I had them in silver, black, and this lovely eggplant color.) A DJ friend of mine picked them up.

My daughter now wears all of my fishnet tops though. I bequeathed them to her.

My daughter inherited all of my nirvana shirts although she calls Kurt (love of my life rest his soul) “that teenspirit guy” sigh, oh well at least she can name a song.

In addition to vinyl pants I owned a vinyl corseted skirt that went rib cage to ankle. It was unbelievably hot (both temperature wise and aesthetically). It had buckles!

That sounds like something I’d still buy. I have an extensive collection of combat boots and doc’s that are regularly raided by my daughter and her friends. I figure I need to hold on to them thinking I’m cool for as long as I can, because after that it’s all slammed doors and ‘you don’t understand me!’

Cue — my daughter coming in to tell us that none of her friends think I’m cool. In 3…2…

My daughter is 17 so I get a lot of sighs and eye rolls and blank stares. I traded my Docs for a pair of Frye work boots but I still indulge in heavy eyeliner at times and clothes that are two young for me… I think this is probably evident by the fact that every time I have to sign her out of school for a doctor/dentist appointment I get the stink eye from the attendance counselor.

I also went for parent teacher conferences last fall and got waylayed in the hallway by a teacher who questioned what I was doing lurking about school property when school was not in session. I promptly crawled so far up his rectum I could see out his mouth. He apologized and said he thought I was a student…teeheehee I was secretly very flattered although I just put on my huffy face for him.

I heard that you should try foods every 7 years or so, because your taste buds change about that often. Someone could have been lying to me about that, though. :)

I feel lately that I’m actually reverting to some things I liked when I was younger. I’ve had years in my career where I’ve worn suits and other business-y clothes, but now I’m in a purely creative job with no desire to do anything else or to get promoted, and so I’m drawn to fanciful and unusual clothes again. I’m becoming obsessed with poetry again. (I’ve never really stopped finding new music to listen to, because I enjoy it.)

Probably because I don’t have kids, my lifestyle is pretty much the same now at 44 as it was at 24. I do the same things…loaf around the house in my pajamas, read and write, waste a lot of time online and daydreaming, go to movies, etc. It wouldn’t be for everyone, but for me it’s perfect, really.

Sometimes I feel old at 24. I have some lovely comfortable beige bras that don’t show through my shirts. I wear a slip under my white shirts to make sure no one sees my bra. I used to buy bras for the purpose of being seen under white singlets (I can still see the look of confusion masked as “Oh yes I understand”when I discussed that with her.) Music is too loud for me most of the time.

The regret I have no is not dressing up in a ridiculous way when I was younger. I look at some of the outfits on the 16 year olds now and go DAMN I WISH I COULD PULL THAT OFF. I did wear some incredibly tight pants though, that was fun.

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