Monthly Archives: February 2014
There are signs.
Some are good, some aren’t so great.
1. You Have Hot Flashes
Gods above. Below. And everywhere in between.
There have to be gods—and they have to be guys. No woman would do this to one of her own.
You know you’re a middle-aged woman when you’re sweating like you’re sitting on a Caribbean beach during the apex of summer, butthe sweat freezes to your skin because the temperature is actually -22C. And you are rolling naked in the snow.
2. You Experience Increased Mental Acuity
You know what everyone is thinking. You know because people are thinking whatever you tell them to think. No one—I MEAN NO ONE—argues with a middle-aged woman having hot flashes.
3. You Hold the Answers to Life, the Universe, and Everything
AND YOU AREN’T SHARING. The world, the universe, and everything in them can solve their own damn problems. Because you have to deal with hot flashes. And the stress of having to tell people what to think.
4. You are a Trend Setter
Right now I’m wearing hand knit socks, men’s sweatpants, a yoga shirt, and a men’s hoodie. Everything is three sizes too large. Nothing matches. I’m warm, I’m comfortable, and I’m setting a trend with those elements in mind. It’s also anyone’s guess when I last shaved my legs. Because I’m a middle-aged woman. Therefore—people will think what I tell them to. And I say I’m stylin’.
5. You Wear Glasses
But only if you want to see something.
When I clean my house I take them off. When I empty the dishwasher, I take them off. When I put on make-up, I take them off. Because the world is a prettier place when I’m not wearing them.
6. Your Good Habits are Losing the Race
The lazy bastards. You spend your entire adult life nurturing them and they run out of gas when you need them the most. You’re forced to cut back on drinking, salt, and fatty foods. This is why people die. It’s not from old age. You slowly lose the will to live from middle age on.
7. You Aren’t Afraid to Ask Questions
You will never, ever be able to DVR anything unless you ask questions. You can’t set up entertainment systems using instruction manuals, good instincts, and a Bachelor of Arts degree anymore. You can’t program alarm clocks with “extra features,” either. Fortunately I have a computer tech, a sound engineer, and a civil engineer in the family. I’m not afraid to ask them questions. They, however, are afraid not to answer them.
8. You Start Making Bucket Lists
The lists aren’t for you. They’re for your kids, your parents, and your neighbours. Sometimes your younger sisters. But you know better than to give one to your husband. He’d expect you to participate and you have no interest in whitewater rafting in the Amazon. That’s how fights start.
9. You Give Unsolicited Parenting Advice to Strangers
People gave it to you. You’re passing it on, because really. Who doesn’t want to hear how you raised your children in the eighties and nineties? So what if you haven’t held a baby in twenty years? You may be middle-aged but your memory is good. Right?
10. You See the Hot Photos of Half-Naked Men on FB, and You Realize They’re the Same Age as Your Sons, and You Find it Creepy
Sometimes I think they’d be perfect for one of my heroines. Either way, I guess I’m just not cut out to be a cougar. I “like” those photos, though. I may be middle-aged, but I’m also cool. Hip. Whatever.
Overall, I’d be okay with middle age if it wasn’t for the hot flashes. The gods can have those back. And they know where they can put them.
Because they will think what I tell them to.
Sometimes it is.
But most often it’s not.
We’re in the midst of home renovations. That means the Foreign Guy is yanking stuff out of closets and bedrooms, dumping it all in the middle of the living room floor, and then walking away, wiping his hands and whistling. In all fairness, the junk is mine. He and #1 Son are the tidy ones in the family.
As I was sorting through boxes of papers and photos, I came across class notes, lab reports, and old exams from two third year university biology courses I took mmph number of years ago. The Foreign Guy, who doesn’t have a Canadian degree, had asked me to take a couple of classes for him.
I have a degree in Social Anthropology. No background in science. Physiology of Aquatic Animals and Fish Health were a BIG stretch for me. But I was game to give them a try. Because yes. I am that person. I like a challenge.
And those classes were HARD.
(Did I mention the arts degree?)
My first lab, I was the only student who didn’t know I was looking at a red blood cell under the microscope. I had to borrow a first year biology text book and basically educate myself in order to get up to speed. I’d write down any words I didn’t understand and look them up later. I created my own thesaurus. I even resorted to calling my old high school biology teacher to get help with some of the homework.
He chuckled. Loudly. With far too much evil pleasure. “Bet you wish you’d paid more attention in my class now, don’t you?”
I passed those two classes. In fact, I did really well. But some of my notes are hilarious. I’d written in the margin during one class, “Another effing graph.” The sadist professor liked to use them to illustrate points and I couldn’t read them. I still can’t. Don’t judge me.
What I remember the most, however, was the huge sense of accomplishment when I did well in an area that did not, by any stretch of the imagination, come easily for me. In fact, looking over my old notes now (the information, not the swearing), it’s like they’re written in a foreign language.
Education, it turns out, is my adrenaline rush. Some people skydive. I buy Physics for Dummies. I understand the second law of thermodynamics now, although I’ll never, in this lifetime, be able to do the math. I know my limits. I’m still trying to figure out entropy and measuring the disorganization of a system, too. I understand it in theory. I can’t remember the flow. It looks too much like a graph.
I pace my adrenaline rushes. I’m not insane. After I took those courses, I checked out every Georgette Heyer book the local library had. Thanks to Ms. Heyer, I also now know what ratafia is.
I can use that.