Last Friday I spent the day recovering from our three week trip to Australia.
Oh, and I turned 48.
Yep. I’m getting older. Menopause is getting closer. The hot flashes are real.
And so I thought I’d devote this week to talk about some of the challenges of aging. Tomorrow I’m going to give us a menopause pep talk, and Thursday I’m going to share way too much information and let you in on a health problem I once had–and didn’t even realize it wasn’t normal! Then Friday I’m going to talk about how we can actually communicate with our teens (something that gets harder when you feel like you’re a different generation!).
But today I thought I’d invite J from Hot, Holy & Humorous back to talk about 10 weird (and pathetic) things about women aging. She wrote this a few years ago, but it fits so well into what I’m going through (even the snoring part! For shame!) that I thought it was worth revisiting.
Only one thing I’d add–chin hairs. Where did they come from?!?
Just so all of you older ladies can nod in remembrance, you peer-aged women can utter “uh-huh” in solidarity, and you younger women can brace yourselves for the inevitable…let me confess my Top Ten (Annoying) Things about Aging.
1. Sometimes I cry for any ol’ reason or no good reason at all.
Most of the time, I’m fine—in normal emotional control. Then I’ll have a day or two or three when my tear ducts seem to have malfunctioned and my eyes turn into a fountain. Even chest-heaving sobs may make an appearance. When I ask myself what’s so awful that I’m melting into a puddle like the Wicked Witch of the West, I haven’t a clue. Maybe I heard bad news or had a stressful day, but such events wouldn’t normally send me into frenzy of weeping. So far, my best way of coping is to let it all out. As my grandmother (and King Solomon) would say, “This too shall pass.”
2. I can’t remember your name or where I put my glasses.
My memory has never been extremely sharp. I’m terrible at remembering birthdays and deadlines. (Thank you, calendar app!) But my memory has worsened to a dull edge that couldn’t cut softened butter. Not long ago, I had my husband and a few restaurant staff searching for a pair of glasses for several minutes before I found them…On. My. Face. And I simply have to apologize if I haven’t seen you in a long while and we run into each other in the store, because even though our children played together for three years straight, I have no idea what your name is. It’s buried somewhere under the hormonal hoopla happening in my brain.
3. Calories have turned evil and go straight to my waist.
I considered other options—such as a party magician blew up balloon animals and implanted them in my belly while I was sleeping; the extraterrestrial from the Alien movie left Sigourney Weaver’s tummy and slithered into mine; or my body is smartly storing blubber for an upcoming arctic winter (mind you, I live in Texas). Yet, I keep returning to aging and shifting body chemistry to explain why eating a cookie now translates to an inner tube appearing around my midsection. Thankfully, my husband has responded by saying there’s “more of you to love”…and suggesting we walk more often.
4. I’m allergic to new stuff—what’s up with that?
I stopped wearing earrings a few years ago, because suddenly, out of nowhere, my body developed a sensitivity to any kind of metal I tried to put through my earlobe hole. My body has decided to develop new allergies and sensitivities. I’ve become itchy during Spring when I never had issues before, and I have to carefully watch what I put on my skin or risk a rash that keeps me scratching during the day and awake at night. If this problem keeps expanding, I may need to live in a bubble.
5. My feet have gotten bigger, by which I mean “fatter.”
It must be the 40-plus years of walking on these feet that have finally managed to make them spread out like pancake batter on a skillet. Indeed, I read an article about how the tendons and ligaments lose elasticity in older age, resulting in bigger feet. And then it went on to predict that you could gain a half-size every 10 years past age 40. Good heavens! At that rate, I’ll be wearing my husband’s shoes by the time my dead feet are tucked into a casket.
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6. The sleeping princess can snore like a fire-breathing dragon.
Remember that elasticity thing up there with the feet? It turns out that happens with your throat muscles too, so they collapse more in older age and can obstruct air flow just enough to make your pretty feminine self snore like a lumberjack. And since you’re sleeping, there’s not a thing you can do about it. You simply have to hope your husband snores louder so he doesn’t hear how you’ve become a midnight rumbler.
7. I want all the fan vents turned on me.
I don’t have hot flashes (not yet, at least), but I do get warmer than I used to. Not all the time, but often enough I’ve strategically placed fans around the house and turned all my car air-conditioning vents toward the driver’s seat. Now and then, I wake up in the middle of the night sweating and have to push off the covers, and the hubby a bit, to get cooler air moving around me. I haven’t yet had to clear out space in the freezer for a personal retreat, but I pray that’s not around the corner.
8. I should buy stock in a lubricant company.
As you grow older, your body may not moisturize quite so well…down there. A young wife may wish to buy stock in a personal lubricant company right now, so she can put that money back into her pocket when she forks it out for lube in later years. Vaginal dryness is a common complaint of perimenopause and menopause, and it’s quite possible for your brain to feel ready for sex with your husband and your body didn’t get the memo. So break out the bottle of whatever you use and improvise. It works. But I still wish Femallay were listed in my retirement fund. I’d feel a little better.
9. I have a permanent smudge on my nose (which my doctor calls an “age spot”).
I was sitting with a friend at lunch recently, and she said, “You have something on your nose.” I wiped the bridge of my nose, and she leaned forward and said, “Right there.” I wiped again. “Huh, it’s not—” she started, but I’d realized the problem and offered, “Oh yeah, I didn’t use concealer this morning. That’s my age spot.” And just to make sure it doesn’t get lonely, I have four other small “smudges” that have cropped up on my face that I’d like to take a cheese slicer too. But it probably wouldn’t help. My doctor says it’s normal, and even more age spots might join the party. Guess I’ve earned each of those stripes—or rather, spots.
10. I should be Kegeling right now, and every minute of the day.
We moms had already been complaining for years about the toll of childbirth on the pelvic floor. But aging leans out of the toll booth, open its hands, and slaps on its own tax as you as you journey through life. I understand that doing squats could be a better solution, but all I can hear in my head sometimes is my gynecologist’s mantra on Kegel exercises: squeeze, release, squeeze, release. Some of you older women were doing it right then while reading those words, weren’t you?
So why share all the negative nitty-gritty about growing older and experiencing perimenopause and menopause? For one thing, you can see I haven’t lost my sense of humor. If anything, my funny bone has sharpened over the years.
And strangely enough, I’m more comfortable and confident about myself than I ever was in my teens, 20s, or 30s. So I’ll take the hassles and keep the number that is my age. Every year I grow older is another year to spend time with my family, build a better marriage, share the gospel of Christ, and yeah, laugh a little at myself and this thing called life.
J is an awesome blogger and friend from Hot, Holy and Humorous. She writes mostly about sex, and we’re great blogging buddies! She’s the author of Hot, Holy and Humorous, and you can read all her musings at her blog (where she tackles difficult reader questions, too!).