Signs Of Age (Or, Be Awesome Instead).

I do not get sick.

Taking a tip from Barney Stinson, when I feel myself getting sick, I just be awesome instead. Apparently my body didn’t pick up what my brain was putting down, because it sort of feels like I’ve got fistfuls of cotton balls rammed into my chest and someone took a Bic and burned the shit out of the bottom of my throat. Every swallow is like trying to force down bits of broken wine bottle and triggers a need for coughing so great it surpasses my need for food, water and sleep. At the same time, I’m so tired it’s not funny.

Truthfully, I’m not the healthiest person around. I like to smoke, I like junk food, and when I’m broke, expired sandwiches from work are like manna from heaven. If coffee’s not a major food group, I’ll eat my hat!

But it all comes down to one horrifying fact: I AM GETTING OLDER AND AM DESTINED TO DIE. We all are, really. One day at a time, the shining hope of youth long abandoned, we wander into an unfamiliar world of leases, rent checks, grocery shopping and laundromats. Body parts begin to lose their vitality and soften and sag, the feet of crows we’ve never even seen begin to make their appearance at the corners of our still-sparkling and somewhat indignant eyes. And it’s unstoppable. Once it starts, you can’t magically reverse to your teenage days and remove the lines from the contours of your face and no amount of drugstore makeup can hide what’s happening.

My days of hardcore partying seem to be behind me. I used to be able to stay up all night rolling the fattest of the blunts and chugging ecstasy-laced apple juice with the best of them. I’d show up for work with eyes the size of dinner plates and no one said jack shit to me because I still did my job better than half the people I worked with. If I tried that now, they’d have to wheel me into the cafe on a stretcher and pronounce me dead upon work arrival. My coworkers would have to fashion flowers out of plastic straws and paper cups because I could not handle that shit now the same way I could then.

The changes are largely subtle. The “fuck everything” mentality of youth gives way to the need for routine and preparedness. I changed my home page to The Weather Network so anytime I open my browser, I automatically know which granny sweater to wear today or if I need my umbrella. When I was younger, I didn’t give a flying shit about the weather. If it happened to rain while I was out, I let the water drip all over my face and if I happened to be wearing a T-shirt with thin material then I turned that shit into a contest. Staying up all night gradually resulted in the worst delayed sleep phase disorder/insomnia combo I’ve ever had, so eventually that gave way to a set bedtime and wake up time and I always eat breakfast within a half hour of waking up. Laundry that used to pile up until I had to separate it into piles based on stink and spend the next week and a half dragging it to the laundromat has become a thing of the past and now that shit gets done weekly.

And here’s what I’ve learned:

There’s nothing wrong with aging. I realize coming from a 25-year-old this might sound like total bullshit. There are still a lot of life lessons and rites of passage I haven’t experienced yet, and my hair hasn’t even attempted to turn gray, but I figure the sooner I accept what’s going to happen, the better I’ll feel and the more time I’ll have to devote to becoming an AWESOME old lady.

Routine is the shit (for me). Some people hate it, other people love it, and I fucking need that shit to survive. I worry sometimes I’m getting too hung up on doing things a certain way, but it’s my house and I can do things how I want. Washing the dishes every morning while waiting for my coffee to brew and my toast to shoot out of the toaster and frighten the shit out of me results in time saving AND clean dishes. Sue me. I’m prone to depression and lethargy so any way I can trick myself into actually doing stuff is a massive help.

Financial independence is amazing. I mean, I’m broke most of the time, but it’s my OWN money I don’t have. I don’t depend on anyone to buy stuff for me, I do it myself and if that results in two weeks of expired work food and discount Dollarama noodles, then so be it. My financial choices are my own and I have to deal with the consequences. That also means when I make good financial decisions, it results in me feeling damn good.

Being young sucks. You have parents and teachers and adults in general telling you what to do and when to do it. Yeah, you might not have any responsibility beyond finishing your homework every night, but when compared to the responsibilities of adulthood, that’s just gravy.

Downside: When you’re a kid and you get sick, you get to slough off your responsibility and stay home from school watching those soap operas your mom told you not to watch and eating ice cream. When you’re an adult, staying home sick from work means you don’t get paid, you realize soap operas suck, and you have to go to the store to buy your own damn ice cream.

Upside: At least I got sick on payday, so I can afford to get the tasty kind of throat lozenge and maybe some name-brand painkillers. That = AWESOME.


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Sorting out my life by writing about it.

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