And F is for Forgetfulness

Who knew the letter F followed E? Has it been like this all this time?
Crazy. The alphabet: a fluid ancient relic…seems so oxymoronic…
So, spoiler alert, but G stands for Grit.

Anyway, I’ve decided that the biggest, kindest, least offensive F-word I can come up with as pertains to aging is Fashion.
That’s right.
My life through, I’ve never had a fashion sense, nor have I had the funds to pay for one, and now that I’m middlin’, well…I can’t find a sense of fashion to save my life.
I’ve tried! I go to the mall…ew…and I see what the girls are wearing. Emphasis on girls, because I’ve yet to find a chick my age with trendy wear.
Is it a thing, clothes for Middlin’s? Where? Where are these clothes?
And again, I need them to be affordable.
I’d love to dress like Jane Fonda in “Frankie and Grace” — Netflix; check it out (have you learned yet of my Netflix/Hulu/Amazon/and-now-Acorn affliction?) — but I can’t pull it off.
I could afford one piece, maybe two, and considering I’d have to wear more than one article of clothing, I’d be dead in the water, but sporting a fetching popped collar.
Nope, won’t work.
Here’s a funny-but-true tale of my latest shopping adventure.
No joke, I was at Target for sundries, those little things you go to purchase because you’re out of them but in dire need of a refill but doggone it, you end up with a cart of feeling-sorry-for-myself-and-this-one-little-thing-will-change-my-life…four times over.
A cart of crap, that’s what I was wheeling around.
And since I can’t resist a clearance rack of last season’s fashions I pivoted quickly when I spied a sign beckoning me to peruse.
It was emerald green, ruched at the signs, v-neck, three-quarter sleeve — it screamed at me, “You need me! I’m cute! I’m a lovely color, great for work or play in a pliable cotton, plus I’m machine washable!”
It was so me.
I checked the tag, chanting, “Don’t be petite small, don’t be petite small…”
And it wasn’t!
It was my size — large — which I’m not sure I technically should wear but it fits on all the days: the fat days, the not-so-fat days. You know. All the days.
BUT.
It sported a maternity label.
Did I shove it back on the rack quickly and dash away?
No.
Did I ponder a moment, thinking of the good ol’ days, when my body did what it needed to and it wasn’t a problem?
I most assuredly did.
When I was pregnant, I was so happy. My butt could sag, my boobs had phenomenal growth, everything shifted at random and it was all delightful as long as I had a Hershey’s bar in hand.
And here’s the other thing: maternity tops are for growing bellies or, I suggest, hide things that shouldn’t be where they are.
Am I right?

No. I didn’t buy the maternity top. But I’m sure it’s still there, hanging from a rack, tightly squeezed between petite leggings and an XL jumper, waiting for me to mull things a bit…
But my final question is still unresolved: what the heck are women my age wearing? And do they like it? And where did they find these treasures???

D is for Deep Breaths, and the Occasional Down Dog

Goodness, there are so many “D” words pertaining to aging.
Most of them start the word “Don’t.”
Don’t look back, don’t forget your vitamins, don’t go for that second margarita.
Don’t regret.
Don’t rely on hip and knee structure so fully any longer; you’re sure to be Disappointed.
It’s enough to make me give up on this alphabetical reflection I’ve embarked upon.
But then I was peer-pressured into a little yoga — a new thing I do as an aging soul, because it’s so much kinder than step aerobics, plus my eyes are closed a lot, so I don’t have to see and resent the presence of others in cute outfits surrounding body parts in place where they should be. (You’ll get older; you’ll see what I mean.)
And I realized during my fourth session of yoga — heated yoga, no less, which is another story altogether, good heavens — that “Down Dog” starts with a D!
And “Deep Breath”, a life skill I thought I’d fully mastered, but guess what, nope. I was even admonished once with, “Don’t forget to breathe,” from the instructor as she made a gentle, rescuing grab at my arm while I was attempting a balancing move I thought I really nailed. (Also nope. But in my head, I was a freakin’ yogi.)
Shoot, now I deep breathe all over the place. Deep, deep breaths, in lines, in the car, in the car line. (Ugh. The car line. Sometimes that requires the deepest of breathing, am I right? It’s the sixth layer of hell.)
And breathing — who knew? — it kind of Delightful. It’s centering. A reboot of sorts. Plus, it eases that tension line between my eyebrows, the one I hate but loves me so much it’s trenched, ready to stick around for years.
Also, it’s preventative. Concentrating on breathing helps distract my imagination from shooting imaginary darts into the shopper in front of me, the purchaser paying for a full cart of items with the contents of a Ziploc loaded with coins of the smallest possible denomination. (That much copper in one locale should be guarded by bank employees.)
There are other D words —  drab, dowdy, dumpy, dimples, where one does not wish for dimples — that come with aging; internal words that take me down in a moment.
What do I do with such negativity? Breathe. Deeply. And do a down dog or two, because the blood rush leads to a re-focus on the good stuff:
Wait…I’ve put myself on the spot and I’m having trouble coming up with happy D words…
Hang on…it’s coming to me…
AHA!
Doting on my boy! (He’s maybe a little spoiled; I’m okay with that, maybe even Delighted! (Can’t stop me now!))
Driving! (Adults get to drive and we love it.)
(ignoring) the Dust laying around everywhere! Because I CAN! Because I’m an aDult!!
Plus, all this avoids the big “D” we age-rs fear:
Diapers.
Shudder.

B is for Bat Wings


This aging thing seems slow, but I’m telling you, one morning I woke to be thirty-two years old and able to fly because of enormous sheets of flesh dangling from beneath my shoulders.
As you’ll note from this carefully, meticulously, dare-say-I perfect rendering of a woman’s human arm in comparison to that of an also-mammal-but-not-human bat, the resemblance is uncanny. Both winged creatures have five appendages dangling from the end of a large upper wing bone, and both have excessive sails attached to the rigging.
The bat needs to fly, of course; I got that.
But me? Not so much. Firstly, I’m afraid of heights, so there’s no reason I’d travel upward high enough and certainly no reason to ever ever ever jettison myself from any type of dizzying platform. Second most — is that a phrase? I feel like it is…or maybe I just like it and created it just now — see number Firstly.
As the great Kathleen Madigan, comedic delight of around my same age, wisely reported after asking her trainer about arm selvage (I don’t believe she used the term “bat wings,” though she might have), he said something along the lines of: “Mostly that shit is genetic.”
Pardon the swearing, but after consulting my own physical trainer — Google, who never pushes me too hard and never asks me to do more than I feel comfortable — my swearing was far worse. I’d asked for enlightenment on eliminating the wings sans surgery and, after many wrong turns and one last denial of any exercise course beginning with the words “30-Day Challenge,” I, too, had found no help and no hope, yet I’d lucked onto a great three-ingredient recipe for banana pudding. Yum.
You’d think if I were forced to have the wings, I could at least run through the Bat Menu and grab echolocation, because age has sucked away my eyesight, too. (See the soon-to-be-released codicil to this post titled: “B is also for Blindness.” ) But that was when I turned forty…or forty-one…maybe forty-two…
And I haven’t even mentioned the big Double B: the Belly Bulge.
Oh, heavens, that one’s just too depressing. We’ll move along.
Coming soon to this very blog: F is for Forgetting…and other Fun F-Words.

“A” is for Adulting, which Translates to Aging

Getting old sucks.
“It’s not for the weak…”
“It’s better than the alternative…”
“It’s for the birds…”
What did birds ever do to us to wish aging upon them? That one, I just don’t understand.
My grandmother said, “When you get old, there’s nothing that Vaseline or a magnifying glass won’t help.”
Now, that one, I understand.
I really…really…wish I didn’t.
So here I am, sagging in the middle of virtually everything — where once was a smooth plain, well, things have shifted during travel, and if there was a hill or two, well, it’s melted among the other planes.
Nothing is where I thought I put it.
But the biggest issue thus far is that my stamina is gone.
Here’s how I know: gardening.
Yesterday was a delight, a real treat for the books: sunshine, warm light, slight breeze — slight breeze! that never happens on the prairie! — and the smell of freshly turned earth. Sublime.
Every year I expand my flower bed by about a foot. Apparently, I want a big flower bed, because every year I extend it, then ignore it because…hot…I don’t like heat in the least bit.
This year, no difference: bed needs to be bigger, bed needs to be weeded, bed needs close inspection with a lot of bending, shoveling, and cursing involved.
And I was fine. Physically, feeling good. Mentally, preparing to not over-work myself, because the first day of full-on yard work is exhausting.
Truly, I was smart about it.
“Don’t over-do,” I said to myself.
And even more odd, I listened to me. When does that happen?
So I dug holes, I pulled on weeds, I extracted grass roots yards long, because Bermuda grass does insist on keeping its foothold, and when the bell in my head sounded, telling me to quit, I did! 
I forgot to tell you this one detail: I don’t actually sit to work, I bend. Over. From the waist. In complete disregard of all safety videos/procedures/apps, I bend at the waist to work.
Thus, in order to abandon my post, stop with the clean-out and start with the clean-up, I had to do one simple thing: stand upright.
THAT, my friends, was when I realized how oh-so-very-much aging sucks.
When I stop whining, I’ll get back out there, to my front yard, and clean up my weedy, rooty, filthy mess. But I’m waiting for a non-windy day.