going blind, sleeping soundly, and other weird ass changes

I turned 45 the other day. It seems very old to me when I think about the number. But It’s creeped up on me slowly and I don’t mind it, I don’t mind getting older. It’s kind of nice. So for my 45th birthday, here are some thoughts on the biggest changes I have observed in getting to be a middle aged lady.

I used to worry a lot about others opinions of me. Not so much anymore. I mean it’s certainly important to me that I am a kind person. But if others don’t like me, well, at this point I realize there isn’t a whole lot I can do about it. In my younger days, I would say something dumb and obsess about it for hours, days, weeks, even years. I don’t do that anymore. I still feel embarrassed when I am clumsy. But I’m clumsy, so what? I am still appalled when I find I have been walking around with food on my face for hours, but I am fine to just laugh and wipe it off. And if someone is cold or rude to me, I pretty much roll my eyes and move on. So that’s a good thing.

But there are other changes, ones I didn’t expect and continue to surprise me.

I guess you imagine what getting older might be like and then you are in it and the changes aren’t exactly what you thought they would be. I am often caught off guard by the age on my face, in my skin. But it doesn’t scare me or freak me out the way I imagined it would.

Going blind, now that is something I am struggling with. I was reading a menu a few years ago and I wondered why it was so blurry. It was weird. I actually believed the menu itself was printed in a blurry way as some sort of hipster cool effect. I was annoyed with that menu and that hipster eatery. Someone suggested that maybe it was time for some readers. I scoffed. I have perfect vision, you fool. I do not need glasses. I have never needed glasses. My eyesight rocks.

And then it got worse.

And all the menus got blurry.

And I finally went to the eye doctor. I got glasses. And then another, stronger pair.

And then I ended up buying some readers.

And more readers, because I need them all the time now. I need about 10 pairs of those stupid readers sprinkled around the house so I can see.

I am not wearing them now. I have no idea what I am typing. Thank god I am a good typist because I cannot actually see the words I am typing.

It sucks. I mean it seriously, really sucks. I notice how much worse it’s getting.

Wrinkles, no problem.

But losing my perfect vision sucks.

When I wake up in the morning or stand up after sitting a long time I feel like the tin man and all my joints are achy and I think for a minute what it will feel like in 10 years or more. I suddenly understand why elderly people move so slowly. I can taste what that’s gonna be like and it scares me a little, just a little.

I used to have insomnia. I would stay awake for hours, watching the ceiling fan turn. Or I would get up and watch TV or read. I would finally fall asleep on the couch and wake up in a daze from lack of sleep. It was a major problem and something that caused me a lot of anxiety.

Lately, over the last few years, I cannot get my body into any sort of lying down position without falling asleep. Now, I can fall asleep in like five seconds. The harder I try to stay awake, the more quickly I fall asleep. Tonight I had an hour between parenting duties and I plopped down on the couch for an hour of netflix. I watched about four minutes of NCIS before I fell asleep. What the hell, it’s like I am a sleeping machine? It’s kinda awesome. I mean, sometimes it’s annoying in the theatre or at a movie I paid good money to see. Perhaps it’s an age thing, maybe I am just exhausted. But it’s so much better than insomnia.

Also, I am a morning person now. I used to hate morning people, with their good cheer and stupid, smiling good morning faces. My mother was a morning person and she was the most annoying morning person in the universe. When I was a teenager, she would come bouncing in my room with her good morning glow and I would imagine myself punching her in the face. But now, I get up so early that I often go running in the dark before the sun comes up. And I love the mornings. It’s my favorite time of the day. Then I go bouncing into my kid’s rooms singing my good morning song. And they hate me for it, which makes me smile even more.

Who am I? Where did the night owl go that I spent the first half of my life being? Who is this weird person taking over my body?

Oh and something else that is changing, I just cannot fight anymore. I just can’t do it. I have had a couple of brief relationships since my divorce where there were some passionate fights. I really hated it. The fighter in me is dying. I just don’t want to be that person. Fighting is yucky and I don’t don’t want anyone in my life I have to fight with. Except my kids, I still have to fight with them. It’s my job. I hate it but it’s gotta be done. Otherwise, fighters just aren’t welcome in my world anymore. I’m cool with talking things through but angry fighting, that shit just can’t happen anymore.

I am happy to report that I am way too old for that crap.

Finally, the observation of aging that continues to surprise me the most is just how much I still need my mommy. I am 45, a certified grown up and I absolutely need my mom. Maybe more now than I did before. Because she has been gone so long my perspective may be warped on this, but I long for her. That certain kind of love that only a mother can provide, or at least a mom SHOULD provide. The nice part about this “Mommy needing” observation is that it helps me get through some of these rough spots with my three kids, two of which are selfish teens. It reminds me that even though they can be real dicks sometimes, they need me. They will always need me and the love I am giving freely is incredibly important.

So that’s my list for today. Now I have to get to bed, it’s way past my ole lady bedtime.

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My mother and I, probably Spring of 1971.

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