My New Normal

I think I’m finally getting the hang of being middle aged.  True, I’m 57, so that means I’ve been middle aged for quite some time now (some would say I’m too old to be called middle aged, and I treat that suggestion with the contempt it deserves), but I can be both stubborn and resistant to change.  So it has taken me a long time to come to grips with the fact that I now have what it often referred to as a “new normal.”

Gone are the days when a late night meant staying out with my friends until three in the morning.  Now a late night is eleven o’clock, midnight at the very most, and even staying up that late means I spend most of the next day puffy-eyed, sluggish, and complaining bitterly about how tired I am.  Genuine late nights, and especially the late-night snacks (often from Taco Bell or White Castle) I used to indulge in are a thing of the past. And considering the delicate state of my digestive system these days, that’s probably a good thing.  For everyone.

The slim waist I enjoyed for most of my life has been replaced with a rather soft “muffin top” that refuses to leave, despite my attempts to exercise it away.  You would think that doing ten crunches or a thirty-second plank once every week or two would do the trick, but sadly, it has not.  So I have given away all my long, slim tops that used to look so good when tucked in, and replaced them with tops that are meant to be worn over my pants and are wide enough to hide back fat.  In short, I have come to embrace middle-aged fashion.

Previously, packing for a trip meant simply making sure I had enough clothes and toiletries for however long I was going to be away.  Now I have a large list of additional “must have” items which I absolutely can’t do without: two pairs of reading glasses (I always have a back-up pair), a make up mirror so that I can make sure I’m getting my eye shadow on my actual eyelids, a custom-made mouthpiece that I have to wear every night to stop me from grinding my teeth (as a friend once commented when she saw me pop it in, “your husband is a lucky man”), my allergy medications, and most important of all, my tweezers.  Because being middle aged means having hair where hair does not belong.

I have always been a little bit compulsive, but I no longer worry about having an obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Yes, I never walk out my back door without backtracking through the house to my front door to double check that I’ve locked it, but I don’t do that because I’m compulsive.  I do that because by the time I’ve reached the back door, I can no longer remember whether or not I actually locked the front door.  And after I pull out of our driveway, I circle back around the block to make sure that I’ve closed the garage door for the same reason.  My memory has never been great, but these days it’s almost non-existent.

Grandma GreenPlease don’t think I’m complaining, because I’m not.  For one thing, I understand that complaining isn’t gong to make me young again, and I also recognize that there are many advantages to being middle aged.  Honestly, I not only accept my “new normal,” I have come to appreciate it.  Because I know that it won’t be so very long before I’ll hit the age when I have yet another “new normal” to deal with, and something tells me it’s not going to be as nice as this one.

32 thoughts on “My New Normal

  1. I love your observations. My new normal is wondering what the heck my old normal was! And why I find things where they shouldn’t be and where I don’t remember having put them. (My husband can also not remember having put something somewhere so it’s possible of course that they have put themselves there.)

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  2. As I am packing for a few days out of town for a work trip this week, I am so laughing at the things we now need to pack – oh no – what if there is no lighted magnifying mirror to see if my eyeliner is under my eyes or across my nose! 🙂 I always love and can relate to your fun posts! Oh and the 30 second plan every other week! LOL! Muffin tops – yep!

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    • There are few things worse than arriving at the hotel only to discover that 1) the lighting in the bathroom is very dim and 2) I have forgotten my make up mirror. Because then there is no telling where that eyeliner is going to end up! Thanks, Jodi!

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  3. My all time favorite movie is “On Golden Pond”. Norman is lamenting turning 80 and Ethel, his wife, tells him he’s middle aged. Norman says something about people not living to be 160…. I really enjoy your posts and have similar self awareness and perspectives. Being young is overrated. Right?…

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  4. Ha ha! I am right there with you Ann! ….except that I expect great things from the next New Normal. Why can’t it be as great as this one? I wouldn’t go back to my younger, more insecure self for anything. Thank you Ann for making me think about where I am. 😊

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  5. It’s strange how these changes take over our lives when we’re not paying attention and then one day you realize you’re doing things you never did before. They’ve been interesting phases and I’ve found things to enjoy in each one though I do miss some things, like not having to put in a pair of glasses to read anything. But you’re right, I’m not sure the next phase will be as pleasant. ..:)

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    • Yes! Deep inside, I still tend to think of myself as a young person. But then I look at my habits and my lifestyle, and I realize that I am definitely no longer young (not to mention what my mirror tells me on a daily basis). And I do enjoy (mostly) this phase of my life and realize that in some areas, things have improved, while in other areas (eyesight is a great example) they have deteriorated. So maybe that means the next “new normal” will be a mix of good and bad as well? Here’s hoping, anyway! Take care!

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  6. Love the part about the tweezers! I SO get you! The funny thing is, my eyebrows, that used to take all the tweezing are thin and sparse. We are definitely more high maintainance too. Gone are the days of dropping into bed after a night out without even washing off my make-up! Hooray for the new normal!!!😊

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  7. What’s bad is when you find yourself frantically searching for your cell phone only to realize you are actually TALKING ON IT! haha Yes, I did that! Best thing about getting a “bit” older is I can laugh at the stupid stuff like that instead of feel self conscious. I don’t recheck doors, but I do often check and re-check to make sure I turned off the coffee pot.

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  8. I think 57 definitely still counts as middle-aged. A lot of what you say sounds very familiar to me. I also have always had a poor memory and a mild tendency toward obsessive-compulsive behavior. Sadly, I also have hair beginning to appear in places where it has no right being, such as on my ears, for example. Anyway, it seems you are coping well with your new normal. 🙂

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    • Thank you, I think 57 is middle aged, too! And I have learned to turn a deaf ear to those who claim it is not….. And what is it with hair? Women suddenly get fuzzy upper lips, while men sprout the dreaded ear hairs. It makes no sense! I need to speak to someone about this, but I’m just not sure who.

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