I’ve always known I’m getting older, because “d’uh.” I know I’m 40. I get that. But I’ve always felt like that’s a mistake. I’m not middle-aged; I can’t be, because I still use Star Wars pillowcases on a regular basis.
I’m not denying reality. I’m not Peter Pan. I know I’m an adult, judging by my preference for bourbon or scotch, neat, compared to a jack and coke or PBR. But it just doesn’t make sense to think that I’m closer to 50 than to 29. That can’t possibly be right.
So when was it that I started to actually Know with a capital K that I’m getting older?
- When I bought a new iPad and justified it as being better for my eyes. The New Yorker, World Soccer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Sacramento Bee. Any of these look fantastic on a 13″ screen compared to an iPhone. Before, there was so much squinting, even when I remembered to clean my glasses with a microfiber cleaning cloth. “My eyes just get so tired,” I said, even before I zipped up my cardigan and put on bedroom slippers (Bluetooth-enabled, of course). I must be older because I’m getting more practical in rationalizing my shopping.
- When I started making lists. Specifically when I started making checklists on my iPhone’s Notes app for anything from daily tasks to work goals to shopping lists. I started getting a visceral thrill from checking off items I finished. If I found myself in the middle of grocery shopping and I hadn’t created a list, I would retroactively list and then check off all the stuff I’d already put in the cart. Wanting to get organized? Got to be a sign of aging.
- When I started using the library again. I’ve always bought a lot of books. But now I discovered the library again (or at least I did before COVID-19). I love the Express Checkout stands at the Belle Cooledge branch. I love scanning cards and remembering PINs and watching the computer mat automatically read what book I’m checking out. And I can tell myself, “I’m saving so much money this way; I can definitely buy another movie on Amazon Prime.”
- When I let my daughter win at Tetherball. Well, all dads do this, but I realized that I wasn’t entirely mailing it in but still losing. My six year old had been playing with older kids, apparently, because she has a wicked serve that caught me once on the nose, once in the stomach, and whizzed past my outstretched arms more times than I care to admit.
- When we acquired a lawn. I realized that I would much rather put on a dad sweater and rake leaves and water the lawn than drink lots of beers at a downtown bar … or see/talk with people. Any people.
- When we set up an escrow account. We had to discuss whether it was better to pay more each month to make sure our property taxes were automatically paid or whether it was more fun to be ambushed every few months with a new property tax bill. Turns out, planning and preparing actually works.
- When I watched my daughter exploring nature. We were standing on the shore of a creek, on a Social Distancing-compatible hike, and P was thrilled to watch water skeeters and an adult trout, and I thought fondly of my past explorations of Montana, “When I was her age …”.
You know what? Getting older is kind of awesome.