A toddler who is about to turn four can announce that he is old. His statement will be met with complimentary applause and the resounding agreement that yes, he is old.
“Such a big boy” may also be cooed.
Yet for some reason my announcements of early aging at 26 and the continual complaint that I feel “so old” are countered with harsh glares and eye rolls and, “Just wait until you’re my age.”
“Such a big girl!” is typically not added.
…But maybe that’s because I’m shrinking in height, which is a tell-tale sign of aging that comes after grey hair and early dinners.
The grey hairs started when I was 12. I remember sitting in the car while my parents went on a hike and I found my first grey strand that would eventually turn into approximately 8 billion. If you don’t believe me ask my colorist who covers the now-white stripe on the left side of my head every two months even though she’d prefer it if I came more frequently. It is not chic. I do not look like Stacy Clinton.
I also cannot hear. The realization of this came about three months ago when I lost my left contact in a public situation. If you wear contacts and are as blind as I am short, then you know that losing one contact is worse than losing two and so, I took both out and had to ask my seeing-eye-friend to more or less guide me home.
“But Amelia,” you’re probably beginning, “being near-sighted isn’t a sign of old age. It’s when your close-up vision goes away that you know you’re gaining years. And what does this have to do with hearing?”
Because, you see — and please embrace your youthful vision! — as soon as I couldn’t see, I suddenly couldn’t hear; the volume got turned down to the level typically reserved for annoying commercials and important phone calls. I was “What? What?” city bitch, and my friends eventually gave up repeating themselves. The only logical conclusion to this phenomenon (shouldn’t my hearing having gotten stronger?) is that this whole time I have been reading lips and didn’t know it. Like a spy.
An old, senile spy.
Gravity is also working against me. Not in a John Mayer kind of way, but in a when-did-I-get-this-much-elbow-skin kind of way. I’ve been watching the growth of my earlobes like a weather tracker on New York 1 and speaking of the news, I’ve taken to arguing at the news anchors who grace my screen each night. In fact, I talk to them more than my very own friends, because all my friends do is remind me with frustration of all the names of those people I forgot we went to college with.
I have foot problems. I have back problems. My physical therapist is now also my go-to for restaurant recommendations which — per the stereotype touched on earlier — I will only approve of if they can seat me before 9. An 8 PM meal is hardly the early-bird supper special, but it’s a far cry from my days of 24 when “dinner” meant 10 PM and heart burn wasn’t a legitimate concern.
“Why are you telling me this,” I bet you are wondering. Because you asked me how I was doing, of course. And one of the most glaring, cliché signs of getting old is losing your filter and responding with a novel (presumably on your health) when all someone asked was, “What’s up?”
Oh you didn’t ask? You see. I’ve lost my memory too. That proves it. I’m old. Let’s party.