Better vs. Worse in my old age

People, I hate to tell you, but I’m writing this at 1:59 a.m. AGAIN.

Apparently “Sleep” is something I should just leave off my to-do list. It’s just not happening. I’m also noticing many of my neighbors are just getting home at 2 a.m. They must lead WAY more exciting lives than I do. (And that’s a-okay with me.)

So this morning I am thinking about things I’ve gotten better at in my old age vs. things that I’ve definitely not. And believe me, it’s a noticeable list.

Things I’ve Gotten Better At

  • Procrastinating. I have perfected this to the point of being able to do it without producing much guilt. It’s pretty much a gift. I’ve always been someone who works best under pressure, and this still holds true. Got a story that’s due tomorrow? I’ll be up writing it the night before. People coming over? I’ll be cleaning up until the broken doorbell half-rings. I like to call it “Super Fast Ernie” cleaning as a nod to my childhood when Mom used to get us to clean by saying we could hurry and do it in fast-motion like Ernie would do on “Sesame Street.” How did you know then, Mom, that I would still use your sweet tactic when I’m on the downhill slide to 50?
  • Shutting up. I always used to HAVE to have the last word. I couldn’t stand to not “have my say” in an argument or disagreement with my husband or my kids. I don’t know if I can give credit in this case to my old age or to anti-anxiety meds, but either way, I am now able to just shut my mouth and let things go. And it feels soooo much better when I’m not the last one talking. Because usually when I have the last word, it’s not a nice one. And then I become a not-nice person. And I don’t like that. I always picture Mr. Rogers frowning at me, like he’s let down. And who wants to let Mr. Rogers down? ***I would be remiss here if I implied that I am able to shut up ALL THE TIME. My husband and boys would agree that even though I’ve gotten better, I’m not perfect. And I would add that sometimes I deserve to have the last word–so there!***
  • Making time for myself. I have to say that this has as much to do with my kids getting older as it does with me getting older. It’s definitely a reciprocal relationship. (I’m sure my husband will tell me if I didn’t correctly use the term “reciprocal” there, being a Math Guy.) But, hey, it’s 2:19 a.m. and I’m trying to be coherent, so no one can be too picky! Anyway, I make more time to do things I like to do by myself, with friends and with my husband. Basically because I can and because a lot of the time when I ask my boys (if they’re around) if they want to hang out, it’s about a 50/50 chance that they’ll choose me over a video game with their friends. I’ll take those odds, though. They de-stress in different ways than I do, and that’s okay. They can yell at their friends as they’re all playing some “fighting game” as I call it in my cool mom voice. I’ll either chill with a book, binge “Criminal Minds” or go hang with my friends on their porch or back patio and not yell at them that “IT’S SOOOO LAGGY! Our internet SUCKS! OH MY GOSH I JUST GOT KILLED BECAUSE IT’s SOOOOO LAGGY!” ***Just because we’re keeping it real here, there would also be some swear words thrown in there. Like THE SWEAR words–the big ones. Apparently Boy #3 has learned these now that he’s almost 16 and has become quite prolific with them over the quarantine. I’m so proud.***
  • Telling guilt to get off my lawn. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve tried to give myself a break when it comes to running myself down. Guilt can be all-consuming, and I know that God doesn’t want me to feel guilty. That’s the job of my enemy to tell me everything I’m doing wrong. I mean, I can write this post and list all the things I’ve gotten worse at, sure, but I’m getting better at just accepting that this is who I am and I can either change it or not, and if I don’t then I can live with the fact that This Is Me. And God, my mom and my boys still love me despite my flaws, and that’s really all that matters.

Things I’ve Gotten Worse At

  • Cleaning. I used to keep up with the cleaning more, when my kids were younger. The laundry was never all done, mind you, but it wasn’t quite in the state it is now, which is a mountain of a mix of clean and once-clean-now-dirty-from-being-on-the-basement-floor-for-four-months clothes that I literally (LITERALLY, PEOPLE) climb to get to my washer and dryer. I don’t know what exactly happened. Maybe it’s the antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds that make me just not care as much. Maybe I’m just getting lazier and more tired. Maybe it’s because we have dogs that prevent us from wanting to have people over much, so I don’t get that “immediacy” of having to do my Super Fast Ernie cleaning. Whatever it is, I pretty much suck at this now. I’ve never been too organized. I’m the creative type that likes to have piles and things I can see all around me. But it’s getting a tad bit ridiculous now. I’m not sure how much longer I can blame it on being “the creative type” instead of just “the disgusting type.”
  • Cooking. Okay, this is where the suckage has reached maximum capacity. I don’t even really cook anymore because I don’t just have a slight disdain for it, I F-ING HATE IT. I mean, it makes me anxious just to think about cooking. I would rather do about anything than plan or execute not just a meal, but a single dish. I have to psych myself up anymore just to preheat an oven for a frozen pizza. It takes everything out of me. Fortunately, my husband has discovered that he likes cooking and he’s good at it. Fortunately for me–not really for him because now I NEVER want to do it. Like NEVER. Part of the problem is that I could just literally eat a couple pieces of lunchmeat wrapped around some cheese and call it good. I don’t really care if we have a meal. And my boys are rarely all home at the same time, so it’s kind of fend-for-yourself a lot of the time. My husband likes to make the Blue Apron meals, the subscription where they send you the ingredients and the recipe how-to card. The food is really good, and I’ve learned to eat a lot of foods I wouldn’t normally even try. But when he suggests that I try to follow the recipe card and actually prep vegetables, my anxiety goes full-on panic attack. I literally hate everything about it, which makes me feel guilty. (I know, I’m supposed to getting better at that.) I wish I could be Betty Crocker but I am just not. There is not a drop of that woman in me.
  • Pretty much anything domestic. This leads me to my next thing that I’ve gotten worse at–pretty much anything domestic. Cleaning, cooking, tending to the yard, keeping houseplants alive…I suck it at all. I actually like doing landscaping but each year I do it in front of the house, and then we put the dog tie-outs in the front because it’s really the only place for them, and then the dogs proceed to kill all the plants by trampling on them a million times a day, dragging the landscaping blocks across the yard with their rope and pooping all over. So this year I just gave up and it is so bad. But at least I didn’t waste money on plants just to have them murdered.
  • Sleeping. Obviously, I am getting worse at sleeping in my old age. Hence, writing at 1, 2 or 3 in the morning. I can fall asleep without a problem, but once I’m up, I’m up. If I manage to go back to sleep, I always have some weird, anxiety-producing dream that somehow involves something I was supposed to do but forgot to, or someone I was supposed to protect but didn’t or some other fabulous subject that makes me wake up in a cold sweat, feeling worse than if I had just stayed up. So hello there, 2:45 a.m. We meet again.
  • Personal hygiene. I am starting to understand the grandmas who get their hair “set” once a week. I am beginning to see why that’s a thing. Because I don’t want to wash my hair every single day, dry it, curl it. Forget it. Dry shampoo has become my BFF, but I’m afraid I may be taking advantage of our relationship a little too much. Today I realized that I was going on Day 5 of not washing my hair and just using dry shampoo and a hat. (I told you I’m keeping it real for you.) Don’t worry–I WILL wash my hair tomorrow/today. (Yes, I promise…) But it’s just so much easier to work with dirty hair. This is really the only personal hygiene thing I’m getting worse at–really. I still shower on a daily basis, mainly because I can’t stand to not shave my legs every day. But soon enough I think I’ll be going to the hairdresser for my wash, blow out and curlers once a week. It’s just around the bend.

It’s probably no surprise that my “Things I’m Getting Worse At” list is longer than my “Things I’m Getting Better At.” I’m not sure I’m living my best life yet in my old-ing age. I’ve improved on some things and taken a hard turn for the worst on others. I don’t know how much this list will change in the next few years, but I guess I don’t seem to care as much–be that good or be that bad. As long as my husband and my boys still love me and accept me for who I am, I guess I’m pretty darn lucky. And so far, so good.

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