Getting old

by Rhett

When did you first notice you were getting old?

. . . and added by Rocky Mountain Stepmom:

Just for fun, this photo series shows how attitudes toward “old” have
changed a bit.

WHAT WE USED TO THINK OF AS ‘OLD’

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192 thoughts on “Getting old

  1. I caught myself saying, “It’s across from where the Lechmere* used to be.”

    * The last Lechmere closed almost 20 years ago.

  2. Probably about age 53. I was pulling on a pair of pants and my lower back seized up. Nothing serious, Aleve + the passage of a couple of days and I was fine again. But I remember thinking this was a line of demarcation. More/different aches & pains since then.

  3. Oh, Rhett, yes there are those social circumstances. There’s a highway interchange here that was redesigned/”fixed” before we moved here 26 years ago, so I never experienced it. It was called ‘the can of worms”. Just last week some radio/traffic announcer used it to describe the location of a slowdown. I asked my kids if they knew where that is, and none did.

  4. A couple of years a go I did something to my back and It was agony for a couple of weeks. So early 40s.

    The one thing I really don’t like about my job is it makes you terrified of getting old.

  5. I think there is old and then there is OLD and it is not directly related to age with a physical and mental component.

    Phyiscally – For me, the first category is when you have to put in the effort (exercise, diet, medications) to maintain health/weight, but otherwise are independent. I think I am in this category – much more effort goes into maintaining weight and after having frozen shoulder and some leg issues. I think this category of old is where you make (by active choice or inaction) the decision about how the rest of your life will be. If I do my shoulder and leg exercises a few times a week, my mobility is unimpaired and I can do almost any activity I choose, but if I slack off, I begin to limp and am in some pain. If I failed to do them long term, I would quickly be OLD.

    The second category, OLD, is when you start to lose independence. Choices to outsource things or to need help performing tasks are no longer choices, but requirements. Your life becomes limited by your health.

    Mentally – The first category is like what Rhett said, you refer to something that doesn’t seem that long ago to you, but then you realize it has been. Or, you see those memes with the “like if you know what this is” and it is something your kids are cluess to identify. But, you are still actively learning and engaging your mind and forming new or modifying your opinions. I think I am also in this category.

    But, when you are OLD, you are no longer interested in learning new things or modifying your opinions. While you still are actively interested in the people in your life, you have lost or have a diminished spark of intellectual curiousity. As it progresses, your ability to reason through things also becomes diminished.

    I think you can be any combination of physically and mentally old/OLD.

  6. Over the last 18 months, I have battled a never ending lineup of mild physical injuries, the kind that stick around. Hamstring problems, plantar fascitis, now recently a hip problem that turned out not to be a hip problem but another muscle problem related to the hamstring issue. Three visits to the sports medicine doc in 18 months. That has never happened to me before and is making me feel old and vulnerable.

  7. My husband said yesterday that he really feels old now, because his kid nephew just turned 40

  8. you refer to something that doesn’t seem that long ago to you, but then you realize it has been

    I thought about that the first time I realized I remembered “the old days.” And by that I mean I remember a time in the past when the world was different. The cars were different, the clothes were different, the roads were different, etc.

  9. Meme – wanted to say how much I enjoy you and your letter. Frankly I wish there was a place where people could share more of that stuff. I think we would be healthier if we were more honest and we could support each other more if only we knew.

    Fred glad things are shaping up.

    On topic – You are old the first time you say :”What will they think of next?” no one young says that, EVER!

  10. I know a lot of people say that the advances in tech make them feel old. But that is the one area where I don’t feel that way. I’ve been connected via what is now the Internet, and back then was Arpanet (and there was Bitnet too) since the 80’s, and growing up, my father always had access to the latest and greatest computing equipment. So the idea of being globally networked seems like old hat to me, just a norm of my life. And even new things like smartphones seem like an orderly progression and kind of predictable to me. Even hacking – when I was in hs I hung out with a group of phone phreaks who had the neighborhood tapped. Phone phreaking evolved eventually into hacker culture.
    The thing that makes me feel old culturally is the fact that teens are no longer defined by what music they listen to. And they don’t watch TV – they look at YouTube videos. They all seem to love YouTube videos of people playing computer games – how weird is that?

  11. “you refer to something that doesn’t seem that long ago to you, but then you realize it has been”

    This happens to me frequently. And it is usually really apparent at work because there are so many 20-somethings around.

    There are also times that I look around to find the grownups, and I realize that I AM the grownups. This happened at the company holiday party for sure.

    I was also not prepared for the physical changes to come so quickly around turning 40. Dry eyes, slower to recover from anything good or bad (e.g., exercise or a couple drinks/a big meal), the slow down in metabolism, etc.

  12. “And they don’t watch TV – they look at YouTube videos. They all seem to love YouTube videos of people playing computer games – how weird is that?”

    DS loves those videos. And he will watch You Tube for hours, but rarely watches TV except for sports.

  13. Seen on Facebook recently: “I hate making big adult desicions. I need a more adultier adult!”

  14. Mine don’t even watch sports. My husband loves to watch hockey and baseball but he has given up on having the kids watch with him

    I read recently that ESPN is doing really badly.

  15. I think the YouTube videos is going to turn out to be one of the big generational markers dividing Millenials and the yet-to-be-settled-on next generation.

  16. But, when you are OLD, you are no longer interested in learning new things or modifying your opinions.

    Is that inevitable or is it something you can actively mitigate?

    I know a number of older people who aren’t living nearly as full a life as they could be because they are so stuck in their ways. Some of it is an unwillingness to embrace new technologies, move to a place where it’s easier to live, etc. The other part is a ever growing sense of cranky negativity.

  17. I don’t feel old but I think I am solidly in middle age now and it has surprised me that it happened to me. I color my hair and am considering Botox and feel kind of crappy the entire next day if I drink too much. And I have had several friends die. And my parents suddenly seem old and not just older. I think the shift was when they turned 70. They need help with some things now and I see an overall slowdown even though they are both still very active. And it seems as though everyone in their cohort has some sort of concerning medical issue. It is sad and depressing.

  18. For around a decade I’ve been *needing* to exercise if I want to be able to sit on the floor, sleep on bad mattresses, and that sort of thing that when you’re younger you can do regardless. And now my skin is starting to look older. It’s sad. But it beats the alternative, right?

  19. I like youtube quite a bit. I often use it for “how tos”. Agree my teens are often watching/listening via youtube.

    The whole idea that TV shows were not “on demand” or would not repeat within the next week or so was a huge shock once my kids were old enough to have any control over their schedule or or programs they watch.

  20. Is that inevitable or is it something you can actively mitigate?

    I think you can mitigate it, but it will still catch up with you eventually if you live long enough. Even my grandfather, who was always the type to explore as far as you could, always projects going, interested in everything, still wanting to hear about and try new things all through his 80s, eventually got to the stage where he started to withdraw into himself and lost that energy and curiosity. My guess is that it’s like when you’re really sick, and your focus shrinks to just getting through each hour and your immediate physical needs; at some point you don’t have enough to spare to be interested in new discoveries or the latest fad.

  21. Hmm. I don’t know a “first,” but I’d say sometime around 45 maybe, with things piling up in the last 5 years. Not in any kind of order:

    Seeing my kids get into something that I reallytruly do. not. get. E.g., the videos of watching other people play videogames. It is a huge thing, and I cannot cross the mental/empathy bridge to see the appeal.

    Hearing myself say things my parents said — and understanding exactly why they said it. Realizing I am mom to a HS student. Sending her off to same HS I attended, and realizing exactly how long it’s been since I was there.

    Physically, the back and thyroid issues more than anything else. Realizing that I can’t just blow off rehab and stretching and such any more, that even a half bottle of wine over the course of the evening will have me awake at 3 AM, that staying well/active requires daily effort and mature choices, neither of which I am very good at.

    Looking in the mirror a few years ago and seeing myself completely washed out. I have never been beautiful, but I was somewhat striking, with dark hair, bright blue eyes, and fine, pale skin. Now the hair is greying, the eyes are fading, the skin is getting the first appearance here and there of that old-lady “crepe”-y look. I felt like a walking, talking metaphor. It freaking kills me.

    Reading early retirement blogs and realizing I no longer qualify, even if we quit today.

    The worst single thing: some time after hair goes grey, it goes white, and the skin underneath turns baby pink, and one day you look in the mirror and see pink scalp peeking through white hair and realize that *that* is why little old ladies look like they do. Luckily, I still have only one small section that has gone that far, but seeing that a few months ago was absolutely the worst. Because that’s not middle-aged old, that’s old-old.

  22. My father, a mountain climber, avid runner, photographer with gallery shows, traveller, finally got to the point in his 70’s where severe back issues prevented him from doing anything he liked. And when that happened, he just gave up. I saw the same thing happened to DH’s father – he had circulatory problems and couldn’t walk much any more – couldn’t take care of his house and yard the way he was used to, needed help doing tasks that he expected the man of the house should be able to do. He loved golfing and going out with his war buddies, and at some point he couldn’t do these things easily and just gave up.

  23. “For around a decade I’ve been *needing* to exercise if I want to be able to sit on the floor, sleep on bad mattresses, and that sort of thing that when you’re younger you can do regardless.”

    At a family party a month or two ago, I couldn’t do a cartwheel. WTF? When did that go away?

    I think for my mom the big shock was when she was renting a car this past summer for our vacation and several agencies wouldn’t rent to her because she was going to be 70. She found someone who would, but even they stopped at 75. Really brought home how little time she had left to do things we all take for granted.

  24. Rhett – Yes, I think mentally OLD, unless it is caused by a health issue, is somewhat of a choice. While she is no longer with us, when I was in my late 20s, a woman in her early 90’s was in my book club. I remember reading several books that came from a cultural perspective very different from hers and during the meeting her saying something to the effect of “I never thought about it that way before, in the future I need to ….” And, I thought to myself, that is my goal, to always be open to new ideas and opinions.

    My partner is in his late 60s and I see the mental stagnation has taken root. While we don’t always agree on politics, he said something that was just not feasible. At first, I thought he was joking, so I made some comment and he told me not to make fun of him.

  25. I think for my mom the big shock was when she was renting a car this past summer for our vacation and several agencies wouldn’t rent to her because she was going to be 70.

    Was that in the US or Europe?

  26. I feel with my parents generation, the baton has yet to be passed. This is different from the previous generations where once kids married, the older generation was “old” even though they may not have reached 50.
    I can see that my parents and in laws have more aches and pains in their mid to late 70s. This is even with being active and having good aging genes. Along with taking care of yourself, genetics, I believe plays an important role.
    The one problem I developed was a pain in my right shoulder from carrying a heavy handbag without shoulder straps and carrying groceries. I am careful now carrying weights.
    I try to stay as active as possible and walk. I don’t enjoy high impact exercise. I may take up yoga for flexibility.

  27. I think for me, the first time was when I looked in the mirror and saw my mother’s age spots. Shortly after, I realized I use makeup more to hide those spots and to even out no-longer-even skin more than I use it for real color.

    But the thing that has hit me hardest was this diagnosis of osteoporosis (OP) recently. It really took me down, and it took me a while to sort out that one of the reasons it hit me so hard is that it’s an aging-related thing. (There are some ppl diagnosed far younger but for the most part, it’s related to aging). I’ve never had any age-related medical issue before and I wasn’t prepared for how it would affect me. I walked into the doc’s office one day, feeling like a strong, fit, vibrant, youngish 50yo and walked out feeling like a frail, weak, old and (to use Mooshi’s word) vulnerable person.

    It took me the better part of the fall to crawl out of the I’m-old-and-weak-and-frail mindset. I was thinking before that I won’t venture out on icy, snowy days ever again; I’ll have the kids carry the laundry baskets upstairs and lift the big pots from the lower shelves; I’ll be careful, careful, careful all the time. I was devastated and miserable and absolutely obsessed with how suddenly frail I was and how any minute, I was likely to break a bone and be laid up for weeks or months. It’s all I could think about, and none of my thoughts was positive or hopeful. It was a very fast, very steep downward spiral I was on.

    But I have decided, finally: to hell with all of this “frail, old, weak” nonsense. I am not those things, and I refuse to act as if I am. I bought new winter hiking boots and we’ve been taking the lab out a ton. We will still winter in Cali once our nest is empty in 1.5 years–it just makes sense–but in the meantime, I’m going to be outside in winter, hiking and snowshoeing and enjoying the snow. (I did hang up my snowboard for now). I am learning difficult arm balances in hot yoga. I am increasing my weights in xfit. I bought a new computer for my spinning bike and have been killing workouts on that thing. I’m doing private Pilates to strengthen this &*%$ glute med that never fully recovered from that THR revision in 2014, and I told my trainer to show no mercy. I also bought new, super cute workout stuff — there’s no point in dressing like an old person. I’m lifting the pots and carrying the baskets myself.

    If I fall and break something, oh well. I’ll recover, do a ton of PT and get stronger again. I spotted a personal trainer place near our house and decided if I end up breaking something, I’ll go there every day for as long as it takes to do the rehab. I wouldn’t rely on only PT any longer — might work for someone younger, but I’ll combine PT and personal training. Once I realized I have that option, I realized there’s no reason to be so fearful. I decided to refuse to live in fear of it happening, and to refuse to live feeling like an old, weak person when I am in fact a young, strong person.

    DH and I read YOUNGER NEXT YEAR (I read the “FOR WOMEN” version) over TGiving and we agreed to commit ourselves to staving off as much of the choice-related aspects of aging as we can. There’s no reason we can’t be as strong and fit and vibrant and healthy in a decade as we are today, and we’re determined to make it happen.

    We both find it takes a LOT longer than it used to–we’ve been joking about how fitness and proper nutrition have really become a PT job for us. We’ve always tried to stay fit and we’ve often ratcheted up fitness and nutrition, but this has been an entirely new level of ratcheting up. To the point that my GC asked me to come back to work FT, and DH and I both agreed the #1 reason I shouldn’t is that I couldn’t possibly fit in all the fitness and nutrition stuff into a FT schedule. I’m also screwing around with a million supplements for bone health, and a number of additional time-consuming things related to that, all of which takes still more time. (DH works from home so has way more time for all of this stuff).

    It’s truly a time suck. I don’t really *want* to spend nearly as much time as I do on fitting in all the workouts I need and sorting out our meals for the week, including the vegan conversion for all of mine. But there’s no way around it — it really is a PT job. It helps that we’re both really interested in it, but still.

    The good news, we keep telling each other, is this means once we’re retired and have more time for it, it should be easier to maintain, even if it takes longer still. The other good news is that he and I are equally committed to this. Having someone in the fight with you helps a lot.

  28. One reason I want to lose weight/be in shape is that being fat makes me feel old. It also brings the age-related issues HM & LfB mention. I recall being at the family physician when ‘saac was 4 or 5 and asking him about a thing I’d noticed on my back, near my hip, that bothered me. It moved around and was sometimes hard to find, but it was definitely there. He checked the strange growth out and then informed me “that is fat”. Being me, I then became interested in the things that happen as one gains weight, and tried asking a couple people who claimed to have been much thinner when they were young about the progression. That went over about as well as you’d expect–not well at all.

    I don’t think my son thought of me as “old” until he became a teen-ager. I recently asked him if he thought the shoes that had just come in the mail were good or if they looked like old lady shoes. He said “what’s it matter if they’re old lady shoes? You are an old lady”. Otoh, he is truly helpful and supportive about “have I lost enough weight to be able to wear this?”

    Other things that make me feel old–the reading issue some people were talking about a couple weeks ago, my eyesight getting worse (which might be related to the reading thing, as I now have to think about what words/letters are instead of just seeing sentences), realizing my age could work against me in getting a job, having a kid in high school who looks forward to driving, not being able to have two drinks in an evening, not having any interest in tech beyond its utility. I’m sure there’s more.

  29. Let me know if this belongs on the political thread.

    What do we think about Rep. Sam Johnson’s plan to raise the Social Security retirement age to 69 over the next decade? Keep in mind that half of the senior population ends up taking SS at age 62 which is the earliest you’re eligible. Based on my personal observations, it seems like almost everyone can work at 60* but by 70 the percentage who can has dropped significantly.

    * Whether they can get a job is another huge issue.

  30. Sometimes I feel old – need more sleep, am slower. Sometimes I feel insanely pregnant when I’m carrying very small even though the kid is 97th percentile. Sometimes I feel old and pregnant – I’m always tired, always slow, feel huge, and then have a toddler stuck to me like glue (again, who said this would be fun??)

    I don’t look my age – I consistently shock people with my actual age because I look ~5-8 years younger (this happened last week in NOLA on more than one occasion). I’m also an “old” mom to most folks in earlier generations, but an on-time or even early mom in my generation.

    But I see the signs of age creeping in – crow’s feet, needed a better skin care regime, needing to exercise (at least yoga), and needing to focus on what I eat (don’t tell that to the regular sized bag of potato chips I inhaled Saturday night).

    I’ve felt old when I’ve used examples from my lifetime that my students didn’t get. I’ve felt young in the fertility clinic office. Right now, I think I’m in that time of life when “old” is relative. I do need to focus on how I plan to deal with “old” being an absolute. But I’m a good procrastinator, so not today.

  31. I met an “old” friend today at the “new” World Trade Center. The doors from the northern subway entrances were reopened today for the first time since 9/11. The entrance and ramps were not destroyed in the attack. I walked through these same doors when I went into Alexander’s department store to check my suit and makeup in their dressing room in the late 80s. I felt old (and emotional) because that call back interview was during my senior year of college. My lunch friend went to college with me, but she also lived in Battery Park City in the 90s. We were trying to get our bearings in the new building even though we’ve both walked there 1000s of times before today.

    I felt old as we talked about colonoscopies, and aging parents.
    We discussed how even though our bodies feel creaky, it also feels as if almost no time has passed even though it’s been over 30 years since we met in college.

    I felt old when I got that colonoscopy, but I was very aware that I was the youngest person there that day.

  32. The pink scalp through the white hair is a bitch, LfB. I’m thinking about all the kinds of surgery I need to look like a passable human female, and hair plugs is one of them.

  33. I feel younger now than I did a few years ago. I blew out my knee skiing a few years ago – right after having a baby and right before turning forty. During my year+ of recovery I put on weight and lost a lot of physical strength, stamina, and flexibility, even though I was doing all the physical therapy. As Risley said up thread, it takes more than just PT to come back from an injury now. But in the last year or so I’ve taken up some new sports (swimming and cycling) which are lower impact but super high intensity, and I’m in better shape, particularly cardiovascularly, than I’ve been in a long time. I feel really great. I am also back on skis, which I felt I needed to do to get my confidence back. I’m glad I didn’t give it up, because my kids are learning to ski now and it’s a great family sport for us. My mother is turning 80 in February. She is pretty sedentary, and though her overall health is pretty good, knock wood, she is weak and it causes her to sit out certain activities that I think would improve her quality of life. So I guess the lesson is don’t give up on things you love without a fight, and stay active.

  34. Just finished a conversation with a friend who noted that if we and those after us remain technologically savvy, then we may be better off than our parents, with a given level of financial worth. With the amount of online shopping that can be done plus using things like uber for transporation, we may be able to stay independent longer. I was thinking about this with my mom. Once she couldn’t drive and my dad wasn’t well enough to drive her all the time, this is when she started to be OLD. If she’d been better versed in technology, the transportation services like uber would have made that much easier for her. She could have called a taxi for that matter, but that seemed different than a car service like uber to her.

    I think at each stage you lose more independence, your level of OLD increases.

  35. One word: Perimenopause. In general, I don’t feel that old, but I’m finding that the soaking night sweats (etc) that characterize perimenopause are Mother Nature’s way of reminding me that no matter how young I might feel, I’m actually not young anymore.

    Rhett: I really wonder how many people can realistically do their jobs well up to age 69. A lot of people have lost at least some mental acuity by then, so staying in a “thinking” profession that long often isn’t realistic. And by that age most people have physical ailments, so staying in a labor-based job is also not realistic. I’m not sure it’s at all desirable for us as a society to essentially encourage people to stay in jobs that they’re no longer suited for.

    Off topic, a huge thank you to everyone who gave me encouragement and advice last week when I had appendicitis. It ended up being a pretty bad case (appendix had ruptured), but the surgery went well, and I’m on the mend. Actually, the worst part of my recovery has been the strong antibiotics that I have had to take this past week — they’ve made me feel awful. But I’m so grateful to live in this time and place where I have easy access to doctors, nurses, hospitals, and medicine. I know it sounds totally cliche, but I feel really lucky to be alive!

  36. In looking at the slide show, it struck me that the actresses looked a lot older than the actresses of comparable age today. I don’t know if that is because they were wearing makeup designed to make them look older, or because plastic surgery/makeup/filters & retouching are so much better and more prevalent today.

  37. I now dislike driving after 11pm, as well as in heavy rain. I am more apt to sit out of activities because I dislike them v. going along with the flow when I was younger.

  38. Feeling old hit me this fall. I turned 66 and was eligible to collect SS. Even though I have private health insurance people working at Dr’s office assume I am on Medicare. My best friend has been in a nursing home to help her recuperate from major surgery (she is 7 years older than me). My husband had an outpatient procedure that knocked him for a loop and took several days to recover.

    While I have aches and pains I try to work through them. My daughter and I were in Princeton on a day where it was 24 degrees with the wind howling. She was very solicitous about me walking – told her I needed to move and the fresh air was good for me – I slept like the dead that night. When did my children start worrying about mom?

    I feel I need to work on my balance now. I just ordered a vibration machine – Mayo clinic says they help balance and circulation which are important as you age. Has anyone else tried it?

    Two things I hate hearing “old” people say are “In my day” and This will be may last ______.

  39. Most of my relatives were happy to retire by age 60-65. My aunt told me that she had worked 40 years and was tired of the work routine. She still wanted to be active but not be held to a routine.
    My parents are quite busy. Some of it as Ridley mentioned is maintenance during to advancing age – doctor, dentist, vision check ups take up time. The other thing is ensuring their portfolio is healthy and the third is social events.

  40. @Ivy — I suspect the latter. Which is also part of my frustration in looking at those pics, especially the references to the modern-day age-equivalents. When I think of what my grandmothers looked like at my age, it is *completely* different than what I am expected to look like. They were sort of pleasantly plump, “matronly,” grey-haired, and basically to me warm and comfortable and grandma-like. But now I’m supposed to be sexy and slim and toned and no wrinkles or grey hair and all of that. To the extent these expectations focus on the things that keep you healthy and active longer, that’s great, but it’s not so hot from the “I still need to look like *what*??” perspective.

  41. LfB – Zsa Zsa Gabor died at 99. We are supposed to look like her when she was in her prime.

  42. In looking at the slide show, it struck me that the actresses looked a lot older than the actresses of comparable age today.

    Smoking has to be a big part of that.

  43. I met an “old” friend today at the “new” World Trade Center.

    That’s another thing, when you see someone you went to high school or college with in person or on Facebook and they are old.

  44. I am starting to notice lines on my forehead (but DH doesn’t want me to get botox, argh!), and I also take longer to recover from things than I used to, but so far (knock on wood) that is all. I was more tired when we had a newborn than I am now. I do need to exercise more than I do, but where to find the time? :-0

    NoB, glad you are on the mend – sorry it was more severe than you had hoped!

  45. when you see someone you went to high school or college with in person or on Facebook and they are old.

    I feel like it’s split between the ones who look pretty much the same, and the ones who I wouldn’t even have recognized.

  46. Rhett – that happens to me fairly often. The guys I went to HS/college with are often fat, bald, or both, and the girls from HS who were/are smokers look ROUGH.

  47. To the extent these expectations focus on the things that keep you healthy and active longer, that’s great, but it’s not so hot from the “I still need to look like *what*??” perspective.

    I’m particularly annoyed at Grace and Frankie for this. Really? I don’t look like 80-year-old Jane Fonda now, and there’s not a chance when I’m 80. And they even have Lily Tomlin kind of dolled up with thick hair and some obvious nips and tucks.

    Thanks for the kind words! I’m going for a haircut today, in fact, and I always take my picture of Joan Baez so the stylist can see what I want. https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/409629718/twitter2.jpg

    And honey, you KNOW Joan’s had work done.

    L, just get the Botox and don’t tell your husband. What is it with men? “Don’t cut your hair, I like it long.” Dude, I’m old, it looks thin and stringy and horrible long. “I hate makeup”. Then why do you all ask if I am sick today when I don’t wear any?

  48. “I hate makeup”. Then why do you all ask if I am sick today when I don’t wear any?

    Cause many men don’t realize you’re wearing anything with subtle makeup, so they think “makeup” = Tammy Faye Bakker. (Speaking of out-of-date references!)

  49. ” I am more apt to sit out of activities because I dislike them v. going along with the flow when I was younger.”

    I think this is one of the benefits of being older. I have much less guilt or sense of obligation than I did when I was younger. Oh – everyone is doing something that I hate? I’ll see you afterwards.

    @Rhett – I hadn’t even thought about the smoking! You’re right of course.
    @LfB – It’s kind of shocking the expectations. Yet, women over a certain age are still somewhat invisible no matter what, so does it even matter (beyond for career or health reasons)?

  50. @L – I was definitely more tired with a newborn than I am now. But I LOOKED much less tired when I was 32 with a newborn then I do now when I get less than 7.5 hours of sleep. :)

    My eyes are still okay for reading, but I know it’s only a matter of time. DS has renewed his interest in Where’s Waldo, and DH cannot see the page anymore for the life of him. He has also started complaining about the small type on menus (which look normal to me) and holding books away from his face. I told him to just buy readers already.

  51. Rhett: I really wonder how many people can realistically do their jobs well up to age 69. A lot of people have lost at least some mental acuity by then, so staying in a “thinking” profession that long often isn’t realistic

    I think mental acuity is an issue but there is also an attitude shift that also doesn’t help. I get the sense that for many folks life takes its toll. The divorces, bad marriages, screwed up kids, health and financial problems etc. all contribute to a cranky bitterness that starts to take over. I think it could be an even bigger factor than the mental acuity issue.

  52. “I told him to just buy readers already.”

    Speaking of things that make me feel/look old . . . those puppies go to the top of the list. Well, maybe second, after the baby pink scalp.

  53. The comments here have stirred up my thoughts about when I’ve realized I’m “old”.

    In no particular order:

    When I realized I was no longer the “cute young thing” (although I was not all that cute or that young) at work and I had turned into the middle-aged manager. My company used to have regular black tie affairs and I had built up a small wardrobe of little black dresses. But one day I realized the dresses were all just a little too short to look appropriate on me.
    During my first pregnancy I developed physical symptoms that severely impacted my commute to work. . Before that happened I had often silently criticized slow walkers (the old and the obese) who sometimes slowed me down during my commute, and now I was that person. Activities like walking fast to catch a train, standing on a subway, navigating crowded stairs, standing while waiting for a train, and walking up the hill to my house were all suddenly huge challenges. Later on I developed an illness that replicated those symptoms and worse, and I definitely felt old and vulnerable. These conditions also affect travel.
    Having to pace myself. It’s the difference between knowing you can work until you get it done and knowing you can only work to the point where you have to stop or you might collapse.
    Aging my way into being the older generation at family gatherings made me feel old.
    Being that old person in some recent get-togethers made me feel a bit ancient. You know, there’s often the old fart who joins the young crowd when going out for drinks or other outings. Well, that’s me now. The silver lining is that I’ve started to engage in some activities that typically attract mainly young people.
    Being that silly old person on the dance floor (think of your uncle or your dad or your grandmother) shaking their booty when they look as if they should be doing a slow waltz.

    All that being said, I don’t mind all that much being 60’s old, but I’m dreading being 80’s old.

  54. “a cranky bitterness that starts to take over”

    I would also add the other “attitude” stuff that can creep in. E.g., I had a lot more drive/ambition 20 years ago than I do now — back then, I had a chip on my shoulder and something to prove, and I needed to do well to pay my bills. Now I don’t really have a lot left that I feel like I need to prove to anyone, and I don’t *need* the job to the same degree. It’s not exactly coasting/resting on laurels; the dropoff is still fairly small, just more an attitude change than a performance one; but work is no longer above all else, and I am more conscious of what I am trading to be here.

    So if I still needed to work for the paycheck 15-20 years from now, I can imagine not exactly being the most productive, especially next to some young kid who is as hungry as I used to be.

  55. “Being that old person in some recent get-togethers made me feel a bit ancient. You know, there’s often the old fart who joins the young crowd when going out for drinks or other outings. Well, that’s me now.”

    @CoC: This year at the Firm holiday party, I ended up sitting with one of our young partners (whom I had hired when I ran the summer associate program) and one of our young associates, along with both of their husbands. The young associate was talking about all the hot new clubs/restaurants/bars. The young partner was responding with “I remember when that was this other place.” I, of course, recognized none of the references (thus affirming that I am at least two generations removed from “cool”). After a while, I turned to DH and said, “I feel like Grandma in this conversation.”

  56. We have this old video of me at 13 getting ready for a dance with friends and we’re all complimenting each other with “You look old!”

  57. Whether this makes me old or not, you can decide.

    When I got laid off from my Fortune 100 long-time employer 13 years ago, my attitude was “ok, this opens you up to lots of opportunities you’ve never considered…go get’em.” Recently, after not being selected for the job which would have been a pretty big promotion, I have felt my attitude change to “I’ve made my mark, I make good enough money, we’ve got a fair amount saved (not yet to the FU stage) and that’s growing every month…I can probably ride this out till retirement.”

    To Rhett’s question about raising the full retirement age to 69 (which is 2 years higher than what current law for all you born after 1963, IIRC, specifies), that may be too high for many.

    I think in order to create/increase upward mobility opportunities, we could consider changing the minimum age to claim SS from 62 to whenever you’ve earned e.g. 160 quarters (= 40 years). The actuarial tables would still come into play so that someone who is 55 with 160 quarters and claims would get even a smaller monthly payment than current 62yo claimers get since the # of years they statistically will collect will be greater. This does not answer the medical care issue for those <65 and without employer-based insurance which would need to be addressed at the same time.

  58. “we could consider changing the minimum age to claim SS from 62 to whenever you’ve earned e.g. 160 quarters (= 40 years).”

    I think that would have a pretty significant impact on women, who tend to drop out of the workforce for childrearing at a much higher rate than men.

  59. This is just too depressing.

    I often grocery shop in the late morning or afternoon if I am working from home. Today was such a day, after reading this topic this morning I went to the store. I got trapped behind a little old lady who was walking at the rate of one inch per 30 seconds, pushing a cart that blocked the entire aisle (remember our grocery stores have minscule aisles, and today there were boxes piled along one side). I decided to move to another aisle, and promptly got caught behind another slow moving elderly lady. In the line, I got trapped behind an elderly man who could not get his card into the card reader. And I realized, GOD, THIS IS MY FUTURE.

  60. I like Fred’s social security idea to make claiming possible based on “quarters” rather than age, and for benefits to increase with more years of contribution, or for contributions (both employer/employee) to be waived for people with 160 quarters.

    I like the 538 name link quite a lot. We chose names for our kids that are not in the top 100 most common but are not trendy. My similar-age friend with a new baby just named her daughter “Pearl”, which reminded me of someone at the senior housing complex on my sister’s paper route but may become popular again like Ava and Emma.

    Like Rhode, I feel old sometimes and not others. I have the energy to keep up with my job and my kids but am not a regular exerciser, mostly due to toddler supervision and schedule limitations. My eyes are baggy when I am sleep deprived and I look worse than I did with the twins. I had to start dying my hair in my mid-30’s and have started using a moisturizer. It is unclear if my acne has finally gone away, after a lifetime of having it. (I don’t have it when pregnant/nursing.) I felt old when I was chatting with a same-age woman at the lab where I got gestational diabetes testing who was accompanying her daughter for gestational diabetes testing but given my high school experience, I remain convinced that I’d rather be an old new mother than a young new mother.

    I don’t want to have the physical and mental limitations of old age, but since I was never very attractive, the aesthetic changes don’t bother me too much. We’ll see if that’s true in a decade. And to tweak all of you who believe strongly in equality of the sexes, I think one of the best things I can do for male/female equality is to care about my appearance like a man.

    Thanks for the Yaktrax comment- I e-mailed it as a gift idea to a friend whose father just broke his sternum on the ice while doing chores on their farm and to my siblings as an idea for my Dad. (Unfortunately, they’re out of the only type that will fit someone with size 16 feet.)

  61. In academia, it is common to work into your 70’s, and despite the popular image of the doddering old prof, most of the older faculty I know are very energetic and sharp mentally, writing books and publishing on top of teaching. They may be slowing down physically – my chair who is around 70 hurt his knee recently and slowly walks across campus to his classes with a cane – but he is as aggressively pushing his brand of power politics as ever before.

  62. I think the quarters idea makes sense for blue collar laborers who begin working at 18 or 19, and may be physically unable at 62, to get the same benefits as the white collar professional who began at 28.

    But yeah, some quirks to work out with it.

  63. MM,

    I wonder if being around young people helps. Being surrounded by youthful energy and intellectual stimulation might keep you going longer than moving down to Del Boca Vista at 58.

  64. Fred, DD – I pulled/seized/strained my back like that several times in my 20s, starting when I was a wee 24. It flares up like this shooting pain out of nowhere, and you can barely move, and the only think you can do is lie flat or stand perfectly straight and tall. It happened about four or five times in my 20s.

    In my 30s, I would find sometimes after an hour’s drive in the morning, I would be really stiff getting out of the car. Or if I slept the “wrong way.”

    I say this frequently, but Pilates has eliminated ALL of that. Now I just need my instructor to get off of her maternity break and back to teaching classes.

  65. My return flight from NOLA included a small layover in Tampa. It was me, the college students heading home, and the snow birds heading North for the Holidays.

    Dear Lord, I did not know what to feel – old when I looked at the young sprites , and young when I saw the amount of wheelchairs and pre-boarding passes whipped out when we finally boarded. And I realized how spritely I am considering I’m carrying an extra 20 lbs on front and a 20 lb backpack.

  66. LfB – my intent would be to create a LOWER age threshold (i.e. someone who had on-the-books work beginning at age 16 could theoretically claim SS at 56), while maintaining something like the current reduced benefit minimum age of 62 for people who have gaps in their work profile.

  67. And to tweak all of you who believe strongly in equality of the sexes, I think one of the best things I can do for male/female equality is to care about my appearance like a man.

    Why would your approach to your personal appearance bother me?

  68. Milo, I did a Pilates class for a while and enjoyed it but then my teaching schedule changed and conflicted with the class. I definitely preferred it to yoga, which makes me tense and antsy

  69. This is just too depressing.

    I don’t think so. The general consensus seems to be that you have at least some degree of control over how things turn out. I find that to be a somewhat uplifting message.

  70. I feel pretty good and look pretty decent for 39 (a few grays on the underside of my hair and some fine lines) but sometimes I see people from high school/college on FB or IRL and it always takes me by surprise that they look middle aged! (which makes sense because we are middle aged). The women from high school all look great when I see them, the men not so much (fat and balding). I do need to stretch every day because I still have some lingering leg stiffness I think from sciatica during my last pregnancy. I feel like getting older is sort of freeing in some ways – like sometimes it’s mid day before I even look in the mirror.

  71. Rhett – I agree that purpose does you well. My mom declined rapidly after reducing to PT and then retiring but before moving to RI. That span was probably 8 years… I wondered many times a day if I would get “the” call which would send me to NJ to pack her up into an assisted living facility because she couldn’t care for herself. Then she moved (begrudgingly and with massive fights between her and I). Total change. Now she has purpose – DS keeps her moving (his energy level is so high, if I could harness it, we’d be off the grid permanently), and keeps her meeting people (on top of mommy-me style classes, he’s a charmer – the shopkeepers know him and therefore my mom). She was more excited than she should have been to test out the new double stroller we got. My next goal – getting her to some low impact classes at the Y.

  72. “The general consensus seems to be that you have at least some degree of control over how things turn out. I find that to be a somewhat uplifting message.”

    ITA. In the Younger for Life book, they say most of aging, including whether or not you’ll have age-related illnesses like Type II diabetes, heart disease, is a choice. There are some things you can’t control – lower max HR, gray hair, wrinkles – and genetics plays some roll (but not, according to them, as great a role as we all think) but they refuse to concede a lot more than those things.

    But strength and flexibility, for example, don’t have to decrease as we age — most people simply choose to let them decrease. Can’t recall what they say about balance; I know it gets more challenging with age but can’t remember if they said we can maintain it if we try hard enough. They also make the point that it’s lack of balance that leads to falls, and falls that lead to fractures. In their words: “Don’t want to break a bone? Don’t fall.” This means working like mad to maintain balance.

    Agree w/ Milo on the almost miraculous effects of Pilates and would add that for me, hot yoga is even more miraculous. All the strength and posture and balance work in both kinds of classes is so helpful. Those 2 aren’t things I’ll ever give up.

  73. “LfB – my intent would be to create a LOWER age threshold (i.e. someone who had on-the-books work beginning at age 16 could theoretically claim SS at 56), while maintaining something like the current reduced benefit minimum age of 62 for people who have gaps in their work profile.”

    Ahhhh — yes, that I could get behind.

  74. In my experience, you have some control over the cosmetic things, but you don’t have as much control over the internal physical stuff. You can try to go for preventative care, and diagnostic tests, but even the person that I met today was already surprised with cancer. She looks amazing, but she received a cancer diagnosis out of the blue at 45.

    I caught up with a lot of people this year due to the milestone birthday that so many of my school and college friends were celebrating this year. Almost all of the women look the same except for some wrinkles, and dull skin. I was surprised that most of the women are still thin since almost all of these ladies have been pregnant. I see my college friends on a regular basis, so I know how they’ve changed during the last 30 years, but I haven’t seen some of the elementary school folks in a very long time. I think there was just one person that I didn’t recognize when I met them last month, and most look younger than 50. I wonder if this is NYC/northeast pressure to look good at any age. The guys were a mixed bag, but some of that was due to hair loss. If you spend 15 years with someone during your childhood, and then see them for the first time without hair….it can be a big change to absorb. Even the guys were in good shape, and were generally not overweight.

  75. Can’t say as I’ve ever felt terrible pressure to go along with bad ideas or to look a certain way. Academia suits me in that it is those who put the pressure on other people most of the time are the ones who are out of step. They may not like being told that they look fine the way they are, but compared to telling the rest of us we need to do x, y, &/or z to look ok, I really don’t worry about that.

    MM, the friend we are visiting took early retirement as soon as he could. Of course; his hobby is practically a second profession.

    My name was the name of the lead character in a movie that came out 5-6 years after I was born and shot to the top of the lists of names for baby girls. Most people aren’t aware of that, but often guess me to be a little younger than I am, in part because of my name.

    Reading through the comments and not being able to remember what I meant to add because someone talked to me partway through makes me feel old.

    I say back in the day all the time.

    I can’t get info on what the Florida shops at the airport sell, so I’m hedging my bet by taking some cookies and a couple cute dishtowels, in case it’s all sunscreen and booze

  76. “Being surrounded by youthful energy and intellectual stimulation might keep you going longer than moving down to Del Boca Vista at 58.”

    Oh I don’t know about that. My observation is that lot of the snowbirds seem to be doing really well for their ages in comparison to their peers. Is it all the activity? (golf, walks, biking, tennis, etc) The social scene? Being rich enough to be a snowbird in the first place? Probably all of the above.

    I do think that the intellectual stimulation is good to keep the mind sharp, but it doesn’t have to be in that form.

  77. Risley said “n the Younger for Life book, they say most of aging, including whether or not you’ll have age-related illnesses like Type II diabetes, heart disease, is a choice. ”
    I think this is way too optimistic. My father was a runner who watched his diet, but genetics caught up with him. Heart disease was rampant in his family. He developed problems early just like his parents. He kept them at bay with diet and exercise but then his severe back problems caught up. Once he gave up exercise – and with bad back problems, you give up exercise in general – the heart disease took over.

    One thing I have increasingly come to realize is how much chronic pain, and especially back issues, are an unnoticed public health issue. Back problems are a leading cause of chronic pain, which causes people to abandon exercise and also to start taking opiods. Both results, of course, cause a cascade of further problems. I think if we put more money into researching chronic back problems, many of the current public health problems would start going away.

  78. Oh yes, who are these middle aged people on my FB? I haven’t “friended” many people from HS, but I get their requests, and see them on pages of others I have added.

    Risley, in my late 30s, I had a yoga instructor in her late 60s. At least some people maintain good enough strength and balance to be able to do headstands at that age! She was very flexible too.

    I don’t think of yoga as just about flexibility–guy who I took classes with in Tampa for a couple years slows everything waaaaaaay down; strength is clearly required to hold some poses (chair, warrior III, for example)

  79. I’ve come around to thinking your metabolism, more so than genetics controls how you age (not that you don’t inherit your metabolic rate but you can improve it). That’s why as your metabolism naturally falls with age people start getting age related disease so keep your metabolism up with a surplus of food, sleep and the right amount of exercise (not crazy amounts and not nothing either). I’ve been reading all of the Diana Schwarzbein books and not following her dietary recommendations exactly but more or less just trying to eat balanced meals, get a surplus of sleep and still working on the exercise thing (although she and the other metabolism gurus say that running and too much cardio is anti-metabolic and when you stop you will gain weight – athletes actually have low body temperature). She has a saying that you don’t lose weight to get healthy, you have to get healthy to lose weight (have to get your metabolism kicked into gear which balances your hormones which then lets your body lose the weight).

  80. First started feeling old when I caught myself making funny faces doing mundane things, such as a major scrunch while walking down the hall – for no identifiable reason. I try to stop myself before the kids catch me and call me out on it. Both the funny faces and trying to hide it seem like undeniable signs of getting older.

  81. I think this is way too optimistic.</i

    Keep in mind that upwards of 50% of men never go to the doctor. There are millions of men out there with uncontrolled high blood pressure, triglycerides, glucose, depression, etc. So maybe the average totebagger is already doing most of what they can – there is a lot that many others can do.

  82. “Risley, in my late 30s, I had a yoga instructor in her late 60s. At least some people maintain good enough strength and balance to be able to do headstands at that age! She was very flexible too.”

    A friend of mine used to take yoga lessons from this woman.
    A 98-Year-Old Yoga Celebrity Tells All

  83. “I say this frequently, but Pilates has eliminated ALL of that. Now I just need my instructor to get off of her maternity break and back to teaching classes.”

    Do you need an instructor to work out and get the benefits? Can you just do the workout yourself, or perhaps get a Pilates DVD?

    I think one thing that’s helped me from feeling older than I have has been doing some sort of ab exercises regularly. In college, I had an issue causing constant pain in my hip and leg that an orthopedist finally tracked down to a spinal issue, which he told be I could address surgically, or deal with the pain.

    One of my bosses, the husband of my dad’s cousin (I worked at the time for the business owned by my dad’s cousin’s family) had an interest in alternative medicine, and he introduced me to a series of exercises to keep my spine aligned, and also told me to regularly do ab workouts, since weak abs are a common reason for spinal issues. Following that regimen resulted in the pain subsiding, then largely going away (with one notable flareup when an injury interrupted by exercise routines).

  84. I have a pilates reformer that I need to break out once there aren’t extra chairs in my bedroom from our family room. There are plenty of at home pilates work outs – I used to do the Windsor pilates ones before I had kids and liked them (this is when I worked at home so had a lot of time). I like yoga too and will sometimes do a yoga video on amazon prime and am sure there are similar ones for pilates.

  85. “So maybe the average totebagger is already doing most of what they can – there is a lot that many others can do.”

    Good observation, I think. I do recall going to the fair in rural MD a few years ago, and being totally stunned by the visible difference between the folks there and the folks I see every day at my office — I would estimate, on average, 50-75 lbs. different for the adults, which I am sure also had something to do with the number of mobility scooters. That just can’t end well, on average. I suspect there is a lot more low-hanging fruit for the poor/LMC than there is for the average totebagger, where a healthy diet is de rigueur (at risk of losing your totebag credentials) and affordable access to medical care is an assumed part of daily life (along with time off to get testing/see a dr/get treatment, reliable transportation to get there, etc.).

  86. Among my school friends the perception of being old is related to the age of our kids. A few of my friends in their 40s already have kids in their 20s. The majority now have high school seniors. Very few have kids in elementary/middle school. Then, on the other end two of my friends had babies in their forties. We are all about the same age but at much different life stages.

  87. “So maybe the average totebagger is already doing most of what they can – there is a lot that many others can do.”

    Yeah, my doc tells me that I’m one of his better patients in terms of following his advice, but genetics can overwhelm one’s best efforts.

  88. “I think if we put more money into researching chronic back problems, many of the current public health problems would start going away.”

    Perhaps starting with research into the effect of PIlates on chronic back pain?

    OTOH, as Rhett points out, a lot of people won’t benefit from such research.

  89. Milo, do you have access to a horizontal ladder?

    About a week ago, I was at the gym when I saw someone traversing the horizontal ladder, and it brought back memories of doing that a lot as a kid. So I gave it a go, and man, could I feel it in my abs! I only traversed it once; I felt like I would injure my abs if I did it more than that.

    I’m going to try to add some work on the horizontal ladder to my routine when I go to that gym.

  90. “Perhaps starting with research into the effect of PIlates on chronic back pain?”
    needs to be far more sweeping than that. Also keep in mind that people with really bad back pain, the kind where they end up addicted to pain meds, are not able to do things like Pilates.

    I just really think this is an underappreciated public health problem. It is a problem that tends to lead to a cascade of other problems

  91. “I told him to just buy readers already.”

    OT, this was the biggest thing for me.

    I’d had a few situations in my 40s when I could tell my near vision wasn’t what it used to be, but after turning 50 it got a lot worse and I had to give in to readers/bifocals.

    Now I think I need computer glasses.

  92. My Dad is a good example for me, I think. He works to get in his 10,000 daily steps and maintains his yard and the church landscaping, but decided that at 70 with two artificial hips, he will hire someone to maintain his second story gutters.

    I completely agree with the difference between Totebagger and average American. I’m somewhere in between- don’t have the money/time/flexibility/desire to have Totebag level cosmetic procedures or professional dye job, but make effort to be active/maintain my weight, conscientiously get my teeth cleaned and maintain my medium brown hair with Clairol.

  93. “I do need to exercise more than I do, but where to find the time?”

    Multitask? Risley and her exercising while working at her desk can be in inspiration.

    Our office just had a lottery for a few adjustable height desks that facilitate standup use, and possibly treadmill use while working.

    I helped DD set up DW’s bike on my old wind trainer in front of a counter where she could set her laptop to watch her K-dramas while riding the bike.

  94. I have been waiting for this topic! For me it has been a number of things that make me feel that I am not longer young (in no particular order):

    1) Physical stuff – as others have mentioned, I have been bothered by things like plantar fasciitis and various back/shoulder stuff over the last ten years. Just recently I had a back pain that was actually due to weak quads and abs and tight psoas muscles. I walk a ton, so how can my quads be weak? I am obviously walking incorrectly. Grrr

    2) Cosmetic stuff – my hair is getting thinner, especially on one spot near my forehead. Also, my lips are paler than they used to be – I definitely feel washed out if I don’t have lipstick or at least a colored lip gloss on.

    3) Seeing moms of babies/toddlers who are 30-35 and realizing that they are almost a generation younger than I am. No more “close to” my age comparisons!

    4) Realizing that I graduated from college over 30 years ago. That someone born in 1970 is getting close to 50! I was born in the 60’s, so I tend to lump people together (agewise) by decade.

    5) Not being able to lose weight easily

  95. Okay, I was going to say it was when I saw my mother’s hand coming out of my sleeve, but then I read Fred’s post about the can of worms fix being ancient history, and I thought, I drove through the can of worms every day in my late 20’s, so Fred’s post made me feel really old.

  96. I am an older mom and my youngest is in a class filled with oldest children. Listening to the moms of his classmates angsting about turning 35 or 40 was an eye opener. I’m a long way from 35. My knees have hurt since my early twenties, I only have a few strands of grey, so I’m off track on both of those.

    Physically, I just can’t stay up late any more. My skin is just wrong, washed out, dry, dull.

    But I think the first time someone else pointed out I was old…I was at the orthopedist because I had hurt my knee. He asked me how I wanted to proceed. I told him the family was going on vacation in six months and that we were going to be climbing Mayan ruins and I needed to be able to do that. He looks at me and says that climbing ruins wasn’t a good idea. Hmmpfff. I did it anyway.

    I think that being interested in what you do is critical for staying engaged and involved in the world. DH was at a meeting with some other growers a few years ago. One grower, who is 80 something, said that one commodity prices weren’t any good, so he was getting out of that commodity and starting back into production of another. Then the old guy left. The old guy kept his word, changed crops and is still in the game. He can’t drive worth a darn, but he is still a tough, smart you know what.

  97. With black hair, I can see the gray in my roots. I have highlights in my hair, always had some color. But now, the roots have to be touched up as well. I am not sure how/when I will give up color and just go with the gray. Not getting my hair colored will be the end of an era for me.

  98. “I walk a ton, so how can my quads be weak? I am obviously walking incorrectly. Grrr”

    Does walking really strengthen your quads?

    I’ve heard that a lot of walkers and runners have knee problems due to weak quads that don’t hold their kneecaps in place well enough, especially the vastus medialis. The fix is leg extensions, holding the extension for a few seconds with each rep.

    Of course, when you do quad exercises, if you don’t balance them by strengthening your hamstrings, you can have other problems.

  99. The things that indicated to me that I was getting old (since I am, objectively speaking, already old)

    1. Avoiding left turns across traffic into main roads. I plan out my errands and sometimes take a roundabout route.
    2. Trouble with jar lids. It has come to pass that a towel or gripper had better be close to hand.
    3. Lists, lists and more lists. I write stuff down on little scraps of paper, and then organize them again and again. I am probably better at keeping track of stuff now – might be the lists, might be the sleep, might be less on the plate.
    4. Pink scalp and wispy hair are already a problem. And most people look down on my head. I am trying to figure out whether there is something that can be done about it.
    5. I caught myself once fishing through my wallet for exact change in a line. I squashed that like a stinkbug, and just have a big change jar that I turn in at the grocery for full Amazon credit vouchers.

    LfB said –

    When I think of what my grandmothers looked like at my age, it is *completely* different than what I am expected to look like. They were sort of pleasantly plump, “matronly,” grey-haired, and basically to me warm and comfortable and grandma-like. But now I’m supposed to be sexy and slim and toned and no wrinkles or grey hair and all of that.

    One thing that makes it “okay” that I fit the old physical stereotype of a grandmother is that I AM a grandmother, I have been one since I was 58, my nest emptied when I was 48, and my professional role while I still had it was as experienced expert, not vigorous executive. I was never athletic, or sleek, but always very young looking as long as I dyed my hair. It was great to give that up even though all of a sudden people started to treat me as old. (Now that I hang around the bridge club, I am one of the spring chickens.) And unlike many of you, I don’t have any chronic ailments to speak of, just some extra poundage. I would never work at exercise to the degree many of you do, but I keep pretty active. I really like this stage of life – hakuna matata.

  100. “Seeing my kids get into something that I reallytruly do. not. get. E.g., the videos of watching other people play videogames.”

    Doesn’t watching others play videogames makes as much sense as watching others play football, basketball, baseball, etc?

  101. I should add, attending your child’s 40th birthday party makes you realize that you can’t call yourself middle aged anymore.

  102. Finn – I have computer glasses. Which really means cheapo readers from the drugstore that aren’t as powerful as the ones I read with (also cheapo readers from the drugstore). B/w me and DH, I’d estimate there are 10 pairs of readers deposited around here, of perhaps 10 different strengths. There’s always a perfect match around for whatever one of us is doing. DH’s are all far more stylish than mine (and far more expensive) but then again, they’re all boy glasses.

  103. Aaaargh, Meme, now I’m singing, “It means no worries / for the rest of our days…” and I can’t stop!

  104. I don’t do the level of physical upkeep that some of you do. I walk about 5 days a week and that’s it. I know I should do more, but I usually am too lazy.

  105. “I’ve heard that a lot of walkers and runners have knee problems due to weak quads that don’t hold their kneecaps in place well enough, especially the vastus medialis. The fix is leg extensions, holding the extension for a few seconds with each rep.”

    That’s certainly what I was told — I thought I had a meniscus tear a few years back but was instead diagnosed with patellar-femoral syndrome (PFS), which happens when your quads don’t hold your kneecap in the right groove and it wears down and causes pain. Corrective action is, as you suggest, specific quad-strengthening exercises — I never ran in that springy, lift-your-legs-up-like-you’re-marching way, so even running never really built up significant quad muscles.

    Apparently this is more of an issue for women, given the difference in the hip angle; it is also associated with weight and age. Thus, in my ongoing hatred of euphemisms, I now call it “old fat lady” syndrome, or OFL syndrome for short.

  106. Fred, they redesigned the Can of Worms?!! Really? 26 years ago?

    Okay, now I feel old. I had no idea.

  107. Finn – I guess I just thought that if I walked a lot I would have strong legs! Now I am coming to understand, as you and LFB mentioned, that improper alignment can influence back/hip/leg strength and pain. You end up using the wrong muscles to do certain tasks and the body finally rebels.
    There is also the impact of menopause, where levels of estrogen and basic desication of your whole darn body can influence your joints and bones and muscles – at least that is what I got from the Active Release Technique massage therapist I went to!

  108. RMS – you are right about the sisters! I need to go back and look at the series of photos, because the last ones I looked at didn’t make them seem so aged. Obviously time has gone by, but their aging process seems to have sped up.

  109. “Neglected to mention I wear Yak Tracks on my boots in winter.”

    How well do those work, and how do they compare to other similar products?

    A couple of winters ago, our family went skiing during the break, and one thing I experienced was slippery, icy sidewalks. I got a set of some sort of cleats, which helped, but I’m wondering if these are better. They seem like pretty inexpensive insurance if they work well.

  110. Ballet-based workouts will work your quads. They think there’s no such thing as too many plies.

  111. Update on the student driver. DS finished the classroom stuff this weekend so now we need to go to the DMV to get his learner’s permit. After he passed the test, the instructor told me that his recommendation is that I practice with DS for a while before even starting the behind-the-wheel hours. He said they can start him with no experience, but that “it would be a waste of your money for us to teach him the basics.”

    That sounded really odd to me, because that’s what I’m paying them for. DW called them today to tell them we want them to do the first session starting from scratch, and this instructor (apparently it’s a two-man outfit – one teaches the classes and the other runs the office, and they both do the BTW) said that they have differing perspectives, and he agrees with us. He said most parents have the kids do the first session or two with the instructors before they start letting them drive. So we should call once we get DS’ permit and set up the first lesson.

  112. Ballet-based workouts will work your quads. They think there’s no such thing as too many plies.

    Karate (and I’m guessing other martial arts) are great for your quads. But I think it contributed to my back problems.

  113. Up 2.5 pounds since last week? One thing I think I’ll be fine with in the aging category is when I can finally get off this roller coaster that runs on a cycle a few weeks long.

    I find it harder to strengthen my hamstrings than my quads, and my hams have always been ridiculously tight, even as a young swimmer.

    Reading all the comments about hair dye makes me realize that I tend to assume other people are foolish for mistaking me for old, instead of “realizing” that I am old. Worst haircut I’ve had in a long time came when the beautician laughed when I told her to think of the grey as “natural highlighting” and cut it in a way that took the salt & pepper into account. Coming out of that appointment, i looked like a muted old lady who should be shuffling along. Yuck! I had someone else cut it soon thereafter and felt it looked much better. Likewise when my kid’s dance instructor called me “Sie” or when I’m called “ma’am”. The dance instructor is now a FB friend, and I do note that we are in very different stages of life. I am enjoying watching his early adult years, as he tears it up with as much energy and gusto as I did (and would like to get back to).

    Is “traversing a horizontal ladder” the same as monkey bars? That was always a favorite of mine, and my kid liked it too. I was surprised not too long ago to learn that my older sister had never been able to do it.

    On back/core/glute/quad exercises, I was surprised this summer when someone recommended a “Booty Burner” program after I pulled my psoas (muscle wrapping around from spine to quad). The serious pain lasted so long, and I just wasn’t recovering. The routines are quick and not too incredibly hard. But it worked! It has been the greatest thing and restored mobility lost through all the driving over the past year. If you’re interested, look up Cori Lefkowith at Redefining Strength. If I could, I’d love to meet with her daily for a few weeks, to learn how to use all the different kinds of equipment in her gym.

  114. Finn, look at the links about boots that I posted, with special attention to the technologies, one of which is basically very small cleats on the boots.
    I’m assuming karate was hard on your back because of all the falls?

  115. For the women in my family, what aged them quite a bit between 75 and 85 was either not having to be responsible for a household or/and loss of a spouse.
    The loss of a spouse struck me because these women appeared to be the more vocal and dominant partners in their long time marriages. This is in contrast to women in my family who were early widows, never remarried and who didn’t have such a sudden decline.

  116. I’m assuming karate was hard on your back because of all the falls?

    I started having back problems at the same time I started doing karate, which is why I think it’s related (my mid to late 20s). Here’s my theory on it: I have a natural positioning of my toes pointing a bit more outward that normal. I had a PT tell me that she was pretty sure this is because my femurs probably have the heads at a slightly different angle, so it starts at my hips with my legs being a bit more turned out. My sensei was very big on having your toes pointed inward on the stances, so this was putting more stress on my hips and back. Additionally, I had a hard time doing the kicks with the correct form, which I attributed at the time to my lack of flexibility, but I think was also due to my odd alignment. This really put a lot of stress on my back because I was having to compensate. Plus I was pretty overweight at the time so that didn’t help either.

    This is my theory anyway. Of course there’s no way of knowing for sure.

  117. The loss of a spouse struck me because these women appeared to be the more vocal and dominant partners in their long time marriages. This is in contrast to women in my family who were early widows, never remarried and who didn’t have such a sudden decline.

    This is because the dominant women lost their purpose. I saw the same thing with my grandparents. My grandmother spent 10 years obsessing about my grandfather’s health as he slowly declined. After he died, she didn’t know what to do with herself and she declined pretty rapidly and died about 3 years later. Granted she was in her early 90s, so she likely would have had a rapid decline at some point anyway, but she lost her purpose when he died.

  118. DS had his geometry final today. At one point, someone on the other side of the room yelled out “DS, what did you get for number 7?” The girl sitting next to DS replied “He got [the answer].” The teacher was apparently oblivious to this.

  119. Who’da thunk? – a least 4 regulars here have lived in this little corner of the world.

    PTM – is was MORE THAN 26yrs ago…all was fixed a few years before I moved here.

  120. Denver Dad, my Dad has feet that point in and had both his artificial hips installed as close as possible in part for that reason. He now has a “normal” gait for the first time in his life. He notices it in his tracks in snow. My brother the artificial hip/knee engineer says he can look at your X-ray and tell you what sports you should NOT engage in. :)

  121. Next thing, Fred, that you’re going to tell me is that they have renovated the War Memorial or blown up (good riddance) the downtown bus station.

  122. I went through a bout of feeling old about two years ago. I was SO tired all the time. After work, I couldn’t sit down before cooking dinner and cleaning up or I’d just never get up again. I was cold all the time, and had developed a back thing where if I went up/down even a slight incline, my feet would suddenly refuse my brain’s command to move. It was terrifying. It turns out I had a serious B-12 deficiency and was anemic. I started B-12 shots that afternoon, and within about two months was amazed at how good I felt. I mean – it was such a change I couldn’t stop talking about how good I felt. So – I feel old, but I feel 20 years younger than I felt two years ago.

    The thing that makes me feel old the most right now is that i get SO. HOT. I haven’t turned on the heat, so my house is 65 and freezing. I’m cooking dinner tonight and I am just burning up. I have to peel off the sweater, then go find something to pull my hair up with, then my husband came in and went to give me a hug and said something about how I was sweating. I had a knife in my hand, so that could have ended very poorly. I quit walking during the summer this year because I could not stand how hot I got. I am thrilled that is finally cool here.

    My dad is currently having a series of health issues. He was an athlete his whole life, and at 79 still regularly goes to the gym. One of the issues is a mystery, progressive issue that has atrophied his quads to the point that there is almost nothing left. It is clearly going to end with him in a wheelchair if they cannot figure out what it is (and today he was offered an appointment with the neurologist for Sept 5th, so that’s super helpful). Seeing first hand how loss of mobility will affect his quality of life, and that of my mom, has given me a renewed commitment to doing what I can (and praying what he has is not hereditary). So, since Thanksgiving I’m diligent about walking, am doing yoga videos, and am taking breaks at work to climb a couple of flights of stairs a couple of times a day, because I’m now a little paranoid about quad strength. I have been careless about my health at various points over the years, but I have found religion.

  123. MBT, the loss of your father’s quads could be MS. He would need an MRI to indicate MS. This is one of things the neurologist will probably check. If I were you, I’d see if another doctor can order an MRI with contrast, instead of waiting to see the neurologist. The radiologist who reads it will write a report and will indicate if it looks like MS. Take the MRI to his neurologist appointment, as it will indicate something or rule out something.
    Call the neurologist’s office once a week and ask about cancellations. If your dad is diagnosed with a neurological disease, you need to find a neurologist who is experienced with that specific disease. Someone with experience with a disease will treat it more aggressively and be more familiar with symptom management. Good luck!

  124. MBT, that’s absurd. I know neurologists are hard to get into, but usually it’s a three month wait, not 10. I would call around to others, even if you have to go out of network. Someone will be able to get him in sooner.

  125. Getting older….A few relatives have passed on. Makes me sad me sad when I come to their names on my Christmas card list. I informally polled my relatives whether they wanted to see my kids photo on our cards. All of them wanted me to continue. My cousin said that he stuck our card in his mirror and talks to my DS every morning :-).

  126. Ok, I’m getting that book that Risley talked about and also the primrose oil recommended by LFB. DH and I are fighting the good fight. It really is like a hall of mirrors at this age (early 50s) sometimes I feel so young and vibrant- sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, having “big” discussions at one of my board meetings, etc. Then all of a sudden I’m slightly injured and I feel like a little old lady. Or I’m doing that thing that moms do- where I can’t name that guy that was in that thing with that other guy from the song…
    Also the appearance thing is weird for me- my milieu is so mixed – a group of ladies who do Pilates in the morning, spinning in the afternoon, have a colorist, a mani/pedí weekly, waxing, eyebrow shaping, boob job, Brazilian butt lift, Botox, juviderm fillers, keratin hair treatment, plus a bunch of stuff I don’t even know about. They look fabulous – like they are in their 30s! Then I have friends who are greying and look a little papery and plump. I think they look ok. There is also a big divide between those of us who are still pulling off the 4 inch heels and those who just can’t do it anymore and wear “sensible shoes” I think the shoes, hair color and getting plump divide make most of the appearance difference at this age. I am holding onto the hair and shape, but more and more I’m the sensible shoe person.

  127. Mafalda – get the FOR WOMEN version of the book. It’ll make you feel good about ditching those 4″ heels.

    On all things related to The Change. I’m not there yet, but the pre-M night sweats were a real thing for me for some time. I switched to this plant-based diet and cut out almost all refined carbs and sugars and PRESTO! — night sweats gone, completely. Not sure if it was the hormones from dairy I used to eat, or the sugar and refined carbs. I think it was Ivy who mentioned this happened to her, too, when she cut out sugar, so maybe that’s the answer. Incredible difference. I have no other pre-M/peri-M symptoms and wonder if I’m just not there yet, or the diet is linked to these things.

  128. Even at my age (just shy of 40) I feel like there is a big divide between the sensible shoes crowd and the restalyne/lipo/pure barre every day crowd. I know that I could benefit from Botox and the like, but I am afraid of ending up with too much like some of my friends. It seems to be a tricky line. I still wear shoes that I think are cute but I have largely given up heels since I do not work in an office any more. I wore them to a funeral last week and felt so tall!

  129. I couldn’t wear heels when I was 20, so that isn’t a big divider for me! I have always been a sensible shoe type.

  130. Yes! A 20-something family member has the fake grey hair, and it really kind of freaks me out. I guess that makes me old – I just don’t understand kids these days. ;)

    I don’t have any grey hair yet. Both of my parents were really late to turn grey, so we’ll see if that holds. I have blondish hair, so it’s not as obvious in the early stages anyway.

  131. I never wore high heels so I have been a sensible shoe person for a while. Also, there are brands that fit my feet better. I tend to order those. The cost of my shoes has climbed as the brands that I find comfortable now are not that cheap.

  132. I need to just give away all my high heels. If I didn’t wear them to DH’s office Christmas party, and I’m not going to wear them to the New Year’s Eve thing we’re going to, then the plain fact is I’m simply never going to wear them. Sigh.

    Ris, you must be eating complex carbs still, right? Because if you’re vegan that’s basically all there is.

  133. Ivy – me too. I don’t think my mom turned gray until her late 60s. I keep telling DD that the “benefit” of our streaky hair is that (1) at my age, you need to highlight it hardly ever b/c the uneven color hides many flaws and (2) with luck, she and I will go gray as late as my mother.

    RMS – oh for sure. All plants are complex carbs and I eat 99% plants — or so it feels.

  134. I am so jealous of those without gray hair. I started going gray early, maybe around 32-33? And I have very dark hair so it really shows. It is a constant battle and I am thinking of going lighter to help it blend a little better.

  135. LOL RMS. The guilt would do me in!

    My mom is very salt and peppery, probably about 60% gray now. When my grandmother died (age 92) she still didn’t have as much gray hair as my mom did at that time! My grandmother was always sad that she didn’t have gray hair and she used to buy grey WIGS to get the look. Knock on wood, I only have a few grey hairs so far, so I am hoping I won’t have to start coloring it for a while. I got highlights this fall just for fun, but I had forgotten how expensive it is!

  136. With women, if in their younger days they wore high heels all the time, were always fully made up etc. there is a huge change when at a very age they are unable to maintain their standout trademark look. A few of my relatives were really thrown off because then they knew for sure that they were old.

  137. LOL RMS. The guilt would do me in!

    You’ve seen me. Does my face look frozen? It’s all about being moderate so you don’t look like Courtney Cox.

  138. Does anyone see a “functional medicine ” doctor? This topic has really depressed me. My metabolism is completely shot. Really miss the teen and early twenties days of eating like a glutton.

    I recently noticed that skin under my eyes is thinning out. Likewise my hair. My New Years resolution is to do a ton of yoga. Nothing keeps your body supple like yoga and regular massage.
    When I start getting wrinkles, I will definitely get fillers etc. looking at my mom and other family members, sagging skin will be more of an issue than wrinkles.

  139. I binge watched a Bill Nighy starring mini series on Prime recently and he seems to have got too much Botox on his face. I swear the top half of his forehead never moved.

  140. PTM: they have
    -renovated the War Memorial, around 2000. Now two levels, some “luxury” boxes that no one uses anymore since Kodak & Xerox hit the skids and Bausch & Lomb was bought out/went private, no more stage at one end (although I think the bathrooms are still the same as always)
    -and blown up (good riddance) the downtown bus station. Well, there is a brand new one that opened around a year ago.

    And, there is no more Mid-Town Plaza with McCurdy’s & B. Forman. So no kiddie monorail at Christmas. Sibley’s, located on the north side of Main across from Mid-Town, has also long been the downtown branch of the local community college.

    If you ever heard Walter the accordion guy outside Amerks & Redwings games (btw…new stadium ~20 years ago, no more Silver Stadium on Norton)…he’s still around.

  141. LfB – I have PFS because of a birth defect in my hips. Please do not call it old lady syndrome! I was diagnosed at 24! I had went to multiple orthopedists for ~15 years trying to figure it out… no knee person connected it to a hip problem until the last guy. My hips are turned in, causing the femur to turn in, but the shin bones are straight. Therefore the patella track is at an angle/twisted, causing lots of rubbing and irritation between the bones, ligaments and cartilage.

    I’ve had rounds of PT and surgery to clean out scar tissue. Old Fat Lady I am not! :)

  142. Dell – check out Matt Stone’s blog 180 degree health and read the Diana Schwarzbein books. I’ve done paleo, done a Whole 30, etc and really regret it – I just made it too low carb and combine that with four years of pregnancy/breastfeeding I was seriously deficient in a lot of vitamins and minerals and had no energy/brain fog. For two months I’ve just been overeating whatever I feel like (I’ve maybe gained 2 or 3 pounds but think I may have lost them at this point – my clothes fit well either way). I’ve been eating gluten, dairy, sugar, etc. when I feel like them and having no problems digesting them at this point. I’m trying to sleep a lot and just take a walk a few times a week and will probably start adding pilates when my kitchen is done tomorrow (I actually want to exercise!) And I am starting to feel great – more calm, more even energy, mind feels sharp and my skin looks better. All the metabolism diet people say if your basal temp is lower than 97.8 you have an impaired metabolism (mine was in the high 96s in the first half of my cycle). I’ve gotten it up into the 97.8 to 98 range in the first half and regularly hitting mid 98s in the second half. When I’m hungry or my hands and feet feel cold, I make sure I eat and often have something before I go to bed (which I’ve never done in my life). I had thought I had never really dieted before (aside from my paleo attempts) but in thinking about I had – eating whatever on the weekends and restricting during the week to keep my weight even which probably damaged my metabolism. Plus losing weight rather fast after the kids (didn’t overly try but always did it in five or six months) combined with breastfeeding took a lot out of me.

  143. Mr WCE and I were sorting family pictures from the last couple years and something we both noticed was how rapidly my mom aged with cancer. She started as an auburn-haired, young-looking 60-something and near the end, I saw the head and face shape I saw in her father after he had been living at the nursing home for ~8 years. In the rest of her life, I hadn’t seen her father’s face in hers.

    Does anyone know anything about the genetics of going gray? My aunt and paternal great grandmother (same X-chromosome as my aunt) haven’t gone gray at 75+/didn’t go gray. My grandmother went gray in her mid-30’s, and my female cousin and I both did too. It’s a pronounced difference.

  144. @Rhode — oops! Sorry!! My guy never mentioned that it could be inherited, although it makes sense that hip angle would vary and that some of those variations would be more likely to cause problems.

  145. Speaking of old lady stuff, today I got my first-ever facial. I hope a $10 tip on a $75 service is ok!

  146. I think the dyed gray hair on young people is mainly a form of stotting — “look, I’m so young and attractive that I can have gray hair and still look young and attractive!” — but also related to the trend of lavender / pale blue and ombre hair shades.

    I ditched the high heels, except for occasional use, during the pregnancies and never really felt like returning to them. But it’s also partly because for years now it’s seemed like the only thing you can find in the stores is 3″+ or kitten heels / flats. 1.5″ or 2″ doesn’t exist anymore. My daughter was just looking for a pair of black pumps as required for band (uniform is a long black dress), and it was either flats or teetering. She was convinced that flats weren’t allowed (turned out there were people in flats) so we went with teetering, which she probably needs to practice with more to pull off successfully, if she ever forgives them for the toe blisters.

  147. I just want to say one more thing about Pilates. For anyone with low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis), all of the back flexion they do in Pilates is contraindicated. By back flexion, I mean bending forward with a rounded back. This rules out a LOT of Pilates moves — rolling like a ball, all those moves where they want you to do round up or down “vertebra by vertebra,” crunches, much of the “series of five,” etc. This is one reason I do one:one sessions — I had to modify so many things in the Tower and mat classes that it didn’t seem worth it.

    But Pilates is so good for your back and core and posture that I’m keeping it in the rotation. There are a ton of Pilates for Osteoporosis DVDs, books, etc, so the whole thing isn’t contraindicated, only the back flexion moves. Yoga, OTOH, has very little back flexion, so hardly any moves need to be avoided–plow would be a main one, but also forward bends where you’re rounding over vs hinging from the hips, downward dog if you can’t manage it without a rounded back, any pose where a lack of flexibility is causing you to round your back, etc.

    Just wanted to put this out there because we’ve had a fair amount of talk about yoga and Pilates here lately. This contraindication doesn’t seem to be well known and Pilates instructors (and yoga instructors) may have no clue. Don’t want anyone to get a compression fracture!

    Between yoga and Pilates, I’ve really learned to stand and sit tall and not slouch or dump into my low back — main causes of so-called Dowager’s Hump. I think the posture-improving effects of Pilates and yoga are worth a lot, especially for those of us middle aged and beyond. But also for tall girls who tend to slump so as not to be noticed. I’ve got my tall DD doing a few Pilates and yoga moves to help her get into the habit of keeping her spine straight.

  148. HM, Rockports Total Motion Pumps come in that medium heel height, as do some by Nine West, including (but not only) wedges. Then again, when I was in high school I thought 4″ Candy’s were cool–maybe it’s a phase she needs to go through

  149. SM, she didn’t want high heels but had been told they were required. Her preferred footwear is still Converse.

  150. HM, then I bet she’ll like the Rockports. Or you could go through the tedium of using Zappos filtering tools, which let you specify color, size, heel height, and style, then sort by price.

  151. HM – I bought Clarks for a recent NYC trip and they were great. Looked like pumps but had a 1.5″ heel or so, and it’s wide, not tiny, so really easy to walk in.

  152. I think she can live with her $50 high heels that are what I found meeting the stated specs when I was told about them the day of the concert. But thanks for the suggestions.

  153. “that are what I found meeting the stated specs when I was told about them the day of the concert”

    Ha! Yeah, that’s definitely where I’d come out on this one, too.

  154. Corepower Yoga does tons of back flexion, just FYI. I think it’s all going to depend on the type of yoga you do

  155. So my little “old now” moment this morning came when I went to get my brows threaded and the girl looked at me thoughtfully for a moment and said “do you want me to do your lips, too?” Yes, obviously I do, of course I do, oh my God. Sigh.

  156. RMS – oooh, good catch. I should’ve thought of that. I do vinyasa only and have no idea what the others entail. Ouch on the lip thing. Emotionally speaking.

  157. RMS – I get waxes. I find it grows in finer on the lip after waxing and then you need to get them less often – YMMV. :)

  158. HM and RMS have made me ponder the advantages and disadvantages of the acne and hirsutism associated with PCOS. I have suspected women with PCOS are overrepresented in my field and it may be because we realized that fields where women are expected to be conventionally attractive would not be a good fit for us, since obnoxious hair growth doesn’t start with middle age for us.

  159. HM, how do you think I found them? ;)

    RMS, you have given me useful info. I did not know that was possible. sigh.

  160. HM and RMS have made me ponder the advantages and disadvantages of the acne and hirsutism

    LOL, WCE, I am racking my brain trying to figure out what inspired that particular association!

  161. HM, your response to my tweak. :) When you commented about how you didn’t care what choices I made, it made me think about why anyone’s choices matter to anyone else. Why is it considered normal for women to wear make-up and heels to work but not for men? What are the professional consequences for men and women who don’t conform to their gender’s standards of professional grooming?

    (Although at my workplace, neither women nor men may wear make-up or heels on the factory floor. Make-up is forbidden and shoes must have <1" heel with closed toe and heel.)

  162. RMS – I have read articles by beauty experts who are big proponents of facial shaving. This is done with fancy little Japanese razors and removes the soft downy hair on your face, as well as hair on your upper lip. As I continue to enjoy the delights of less hair on the top of my head and more hair on other parts of my face I may give it a try!

  163. Why is it considered normal for women to wear make-up and heels to work but not for men?

    It’s just the custom of the country. That sort of thing rarely makes logical sense. Back in the 1700s men wore makeup and high heels to work, if they were upper class themselves or serving the upper classes. Then in the early 19th century Beau Brummel revolutionized men’s fashion with a simpler look, no frills, sober colors, and set us on the path to the men’s suit as we know it today. Was it because it was more practical? Well, there probably was some practical value through the 19th century (the 1800s) as cities got smoggier, but it also to do with intellectual currents of the time (revolutionary fervor, finding virtue in simplicity over elaborate court values) and of course personal politics in Regency England. Fashion history is interesting that way. You can see the events of the times reflected in changing styles, but that’s never the whole explanation.

  164. Thanks, HM. One of my personality flaws is that I look for logical reasons for things that don’t have them.

  165. “revolutionary fervor”

    Or, perhaps, anti-revolutionary fervor. IIRC, the fancified/fluffy dress style originated in France under the various Louis. And the ensuing French revolution led to a lot of angst/turmoil/insecurity in England. So I imagine the desire to distance oneself from both that foppery and what it led to was a powerful influence at the time.

    Please note that my historical knowledge is entirely attributable to the Outlander and Poldark series, those bastions of historical accuracy.

  166. HM, we ran into that same issue buying shoes for DD to wear for orchestra, although we had more lead time than you.

    Are black Chucks not consistent with the band requirements?

  167. LFB- I concur with your theory on the foppery- ** based on my viewing of the John Adams miniseries***

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