sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

July 9, 2013

Growing Old Is Hard To Do

Filed under: parenting, society — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:50 pm

Heather Havrilesky had her her driver’s license picture taken at 33.  Ten years later she has this to say about the woman in the picture:

Her hair looks unnaturally shiny. Her smile says, ‘I have nowhere in particular to be. Let’s go grab a cocktail!’(Via Instapundit)

It’s a strange state of affairs when a 33-year-old middle class women has nowhere in particular to be.  I should know; I was one of them myself, albeit I was planning my wedding part of that year and gestating a baby the remaining time.

I remember waiting to be four and then five and then six.  Waiting, and waiting, and whining to my mom that my Birthday just never seemed to come.  Mom always smiled: “When you are a kid time moves slowly, but when you grow up, you want it to stop, or at least to slow down.  I’m not too exited about my next Birthday because I want to stay young.  But time doesn’t stop.  It seems to go faster and faster.”  I am now older than she was when we were having this conversations.

Anticipating Birthdays in my teens didn’t seem like such a terrible ordeal.  I was fairly content with the passage of time.  And then something happened.  I turned a corner, and half of my twenties were gone.  I blamed it on the climate.  In the old country we had seasons.  Looking out of the window I would see a maple tree shedding its last leaf and babushkas doing a balancing act on newly formed ice; that’s when I knew it’s time to get the fur hat out of the wardrobe.  Another year went by.  In Northern California fashion conscious “girls” wear knee high boots with sundresses year round.  That was my excuse for wasting time.

My thirties flew by pretty quick, but at least I have something to show for it: I’m raising kids.  I can’t say I never feel nostalgic for my “have nowhere in particular to be” days.  The other day on the way to pick up the progeny I spotted a young couple walking into a bar.  Just like that.  In the middle of the day.  Then I had to remind myself about the hangovers.  20’s are not what they are cranked up to be.

Amazingly, in our frank age Heather Havrilesky managed to pen an essay on aging without mentioning the m-word.  She’s 43.  I’m 40, and I have to admit that the commercials on talk radio about women over 40 needing to exercise an hour a day just to prevent weight gain fill me with panic.  Someday soon the day will come when I will find myself reaching the age when women are no longer attractive.  And even if an aggressive facial regime and a splatter of hair die can deceive casual acquaintances, I will know the truth.  Havrietsky complained that motherhood aged her (that she shifted that stage into advanced maternal age is part of the problem).  But childbearing is a function of youth.  My young children make feel young.  It’s the knowledge that a few years down the road (if not now) I will be no longer able to bare children that really saddens me.  What’s left are wrinkles and decay.

My mother is now switching to orthopedic shoes.  I look into my closet.  Do I have another decade of stilettos?  Fifteen years?  Is a 55-year-old allowed to wear a heel over 2 inches?  When to I bestow my collection of fashionable footwear onto my daughter (if she happens to wear my size)?



  1. eventually, you will notice that a lot of strangers open a door for you because they are being polite to the old. And, that’s ME! And that, my dear, is how you know you are getting old.

    Comment by Heather — July 10, 2013 @ 3:11 pm

    • When I was a little girl I give up my seat to old ladies, as I’ve been taught. Some of them protested that they weren’t that old yet. I’m now kind of embarrassed by it because I realize that no, they weren’t that old, it’s just that they all looked that way to me.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — July 12, 2013 @ 9:04 am

  2. Stilettos are bad for your back. That’s why men don’t wear them. We just strangle ourselves with ties.

    I was in my 60’s before I figured this out. To remind us to do what is important today, God allows us to age. Each wrinkle and gray hair serves as a reminder. Tomorrow never comes, but today is here and now.

    Comment by Citizen Tom — July 10, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

  3. As a middle aged man all I have to say is…….get off my lawn you kids!

    Comment by Infidel de Manahatta — July 11, 2013 @ 9:29 am

  4. “Is a 55-year-old allowed to wear a heel over 2 inches?” Lawd & heaven’s sake yes!

    As a vertically challenged, sorta-hippy-styled fashion rebel (read: fashion clueless), I always eschewed the heels. Because, walking funny! and comfort!

    Then a weird thing happened. I got too old for a lot of the cute crap I always gravitated towards wearing. And also the make up thing was not so helpful anymore. And there is the 10 extra pounds I’ve been unable to beat off with a stick.

    Since all that, heels have been an important part of my age-combating strategy. Assuming one doesn’t choose a shoe way out of proportion to occasion and age of wearer, they are a great anti-aging tool. You feel sexier. You look slimmer. Especially with a loose fitting shawl/wrap thing you got on clearance at TJs. Because, gut got thicker!

    Sadly, my short comment is better than HH’s article. Yet, she is the one getting paid.

    I need an agent or something.

    Cheers my friend!

    Comment by nooneofanyimport — July 12, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

    • Yep. You need an agent. I think that essay was a bit self-serious. Your response is way better.
      I fear that when I turn 55 my feet will be already damaged by all these years of wearing heels to the point that I won’t be able to. Oh well.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — July 14, 2013 @ 10:40 am

  5. […] Growing Old Is Hard To Do […]

    Pingback by Saturday Links: Facebook Friends Pic Edition, Volume 77 - Conservative Hideout 2.0 — July 13, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

  6. Aging is much more diffficult on women and that is unfair. Society is at fault. However, I think the tables turn when the man has to retire. A good attitude is the key for both, in my opinion.

    Comment by Conservatives on Fire — July 15, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

  7. At 33 she was hot. No picture at 43? I feel gypped.

    That’s a tough transition for a woman… that age.

    Comment by Capitol Commentary (@CapCommentary) — July 16, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

    • Her picture at 43 is on her tweeter feed and it’s not that bad, actually. Granted, that one was carefully chosen out of hundreds of options and the DMV one was spontaneous. And yes, it is a hard transition.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — July 16, 2013 @ 9:56 pm

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