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Aging Sucks

Dear Readers:
I woke up this morning in a pool of sweat again.

Lately my night sweats are so severe that when I am woken up by the wet to change my nightclothes (at least twice when I’m having a really bad night) I look as if I had just sprinted ten miles.

Brothers and Sisters, I don’t need to tell you but I’m going to anyway:

Aging sucks.

It sucks hard – Linda Lovelace hard. It creeps up on you like a stealthy bitch and hits you like a ton of bricks.

You’re just going along, screwing up your 20s and then getting things right in your 30s when you first notice it in your early 40s – just when you think you may have gotten your shit together.  

Just when you think you might be OK and get out of this life with your dignity intact, you realize you’re aging in a very real and noticeable way.

The subtle yet sure march to the grave begins to rear its ugly head on parts of your body you had long deemed dependable but which now are labeled with an asterisk in your medical charts.  The asterisk signals your doctor feels at some point you will need to have that body part improved or replaced.

I’ll throw my privacy concerns out the window and share my records with you for illustrative purposes. You’re welcome!

Robin’s Doctor’s Notes from Last Annual Physical

Robin DesCamp: White Female, former Lawyer, current Blogger, Solver-of-Problems for Most, Causer-of-Problems for Some.

Age: 46 

  • knees*
  • breasts*
  • lower back*
  • mid back*
  • upper back/shoulders*
  • Pre-frontal cortex* (This comprises the rational and executive control center of the brain, monitoring higher-order thinking, directing problem solving, and regulating the excesses of the emotional system. So yeah, I could definitely do with some improvement there).

Robin Ages and Entertains You with the Details

I like to break down my aging experience into two subgroups: physical and aesthetic.

I’ll start with aesthetic because I’m extremely shallow and looks mean everything to people like me.

I. Aesthetic Changes

Gray hair

Though I never had a gray hair until after I turned 40, today these angry little fuckers have taken over my forehead.

They are both ubiquitous and persistent. If I color the gray hairs on Monday, they pop back out like babies from a Duggar’s uterus by Friday.

There’s another! And another! They just keep coming and I can’t afford to take care of them all.  

Maybe my gray hairs can get a reality show.

Wrinkles

What in the hell is going on with my face?

Why does my forehead resemble an accordion? Who allowed those crows to stomp around my eyes?  And what’s with those tiny lines around my lips?

Botox® and other products can work wonders on wrinkles, but they are expensive and somewhat painful when administered.

My wrinkles are partly my own fault.  I have spent 40 + years in love with sunshine. Growing up in rainy Oregon conditioned me to worship the sun with the fanaticism of Trump’s self-worship.

When Ra makes her annual three week visit to Oregon or when I go on vacation to the sunnier climes, I spend all the time I possibly can outside and almost always eschew sunscreen.

For this, and for other “lifestyle choices” which can impact the appearance of your skin, I am paying.

Gravity (fuck you, Newton)

Gravity, as in:

Why is that down there when it used to be up here?

This applies to many different areas of the body so I’ll just leave it up to your own imagination and experience to define what your “that” may be.

For many women, it’s the boobs, butt and neck.  

For many men, it’s the balls, butt, and neck.

It’s nice to know we have these things in common.  Perhaps one day we will truly understand each other because of this shared experience, but the unfortunate fact getting in the way is that the aging of men is both accepted and admired and the aging of women is not.

Sigh.

II. Physical Problems and Aging

Cognitive

My mind is starting to wander.

Cognitive

My mind is starting to wander.

I’m honestly getting a little worried about this. I often forget what I am doing WHILE I AM DOING IT.

For example, I will get up from writing to go get something, usually a glass of water or a hammer (don’t ask). By the time I take three steps out of my office, I’ve already forgotten what I’m doing.

I have to go back to where I was when the urge to get up hit me to recall why I am up and about and then accomplish the task.

I wish I was exaggerating but I’m really not. Maybe it’s a brain tumor, but don’t get your hopes up.

Running Hurts

Running long distances at a good pace has become almost impossible.

In my 30s I could run 6-7 miles at a pretty decent clip. Today I’m lucky to do 4, slowly, although I will add a couple miles of walking at a brisk pace to keep the mileage up.

Even though my running is less aggressive than it used to be, I often come up lame as Palin delivering an endorsement speech.  

This happened recently as I was running along the trails by my house and suddenly it felt like someone stuck an ice pick in my right kneecap. I hopped up in the air and hurled a lengthy and descriptive series of expletives not appreciated by the mother of the toddler whom I almost crushed in my fall.

Pain. All the Fucking Time

Everything above my waist hurts all the time.

Lower, mid and upper back pain is a daily annoyance and sometimes a serious hindrance to my daily activities of writing, DICK exposure (it’s not what you think it is), exercise, and House Bitch duties.

Lady Troubles

What in the holy mother of god hell is happening down there? Is this the menopause I have heard of?

Why is Aunt Flo so angry and aggressive? And what is with these night sweats?

I change our sheets more often than the janitor at the Bunny Ranch – I do not like this!

FULL STOP. BREAKING NEWS:

As I was writing this rant I looked out the window and decided this beautiful day called for a run/hobble.  I took some pictures.

NW Skyline Boulevard, Portland Oregon. I am so lucky to reside here.

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Skyline Memorial Cemetery. I am so lucky to not reside here.

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Someone’s flowers blew over. It’s been pretty blustery today.

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This got me thinking…

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Here’s a kid who didn’t even make it to 20.

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Here’s a couple who were close in age, but she outlived him by 24 years. I wonder if she was really lonely after he died. Hopefully not – hopefully she was a mad cougar and took a series of young lovers.

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This guy is what we call “prepared.”

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And this family I’m sure was not prepared.

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In fact, this little girl has been gone for several years and yet she doesn’t have a permanent grave marker. A rise in the ground indicates a coffin was buried here, but there is no stone. Maybe it’s too expensive.  Maybe they just can’t face it yet.

This is where you go if you are not into being cremated but you are squeamish about worms…

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…and this is where you go if you are cool with being burned up but nobody wants you on their mantle.

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It’s beautiful, isn’t it? But it was getting late, I had a rant to finish, and it was time to head home.

As I jogged back, I was passed by this man:

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For about a mile, I managed to keep pace with him. Something about the cemetery had inspired me to kick up my run a notch.

Alas, the icepick in the knee showed up again and I was forced to slow down.

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…and there he goes.

But that’s OK.

I don’t want to get all deep and sappy on you guys because I know you depend on me to be solitary, poor, nasty brutish and short. I planned to end this thing with a fundraising drive to help me purchase a gift certificate to the Petroff Cosmetic Surgery Center.

But here’s the thing (actually, there are a few):

The Things:

1. I am alive. Alive!

2. My loved ones are healthy.

3. I love and am loved. Not by many, but by the ones who count. The rest of ’em can bugger off.

4. I have never been happier than I am at this moment, nor is there any age I would choose to be except the age I am now. I’ve earned these wrinkles and bad knees.

5. Every day above ground is a good one, even if you are feeling bad. This lesson was taught to me by a man I dated for about ten minutes before I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Patience and Understanding.

This man was a Green Beret in Vietnam. During his service there he was the sole survivor in a helicopter crash that killed 12 men.

I was bitching to him once about some stupid work problem and he was being relentlessly optimistic, as he often was. Man, that was annoying.

I asked him, 

“Doesn’t anything ever get to you?”

“Not really,” he said, and then he told me the story about the helicopter crash and watching his friends die.

“Every day above ground is a good one, ever since that day.” 

Boy, did I feel like an asshole.

So yeah, aging sucks. But I’ll take it.

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Keith Stone

    Great read Robin! The 40+ thing is real…

    KS

  2. Robin DesCamp

    Thank you. I admit this is an edited rerun but the series I am writing is weighing me down, not to mention the news I received this morning that demands my immediate attention on both writing a powerful piece AND recording it.

    Apologies for the repeat, my friends, but you will soon see why it was necessary.

  3. Karl Piirimae

    You must fight all of these afflictions every day by every means available. But Number 1 is never give up exercise. If running hurts, check out ChiRunning. Some adjustments in technique can keep you going for years. Learn how to swim and find a pool. Start cycling. And never forget hiking.

    1. Robin DesCamp

      I will never give up exercise. It is a daily part of my life and in fact I haven’t missed a workout since Dec 23rd! I agree with you we must seek alternatives to stay in our best health and in fact I’m cycling now. Recumbent, that is.

  4. winedrinker

    I so needed this today. Thanks for the powerful reminder. xoxo

  5. Jim

    You remind me of your mother . Oh ya , that’s good …..

  6. Michael Cox

    I love your insight. Aging does suck, wait till you hit 50! But than there is that thing, that wisdom thing that comes with age and experience. I so miss my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s physicality, but I like where and whom I am in my head. If only there was a way to turn back the physical clock but retain the years and experience. If I had my body of 30 and my smarts of 50 cough something, wow.

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