"I'm too old for this sh*t." — Detective Roger Murtaugh
If I look back 25 years and think about the information available to me then compared to now, I realize why my ADD brain swirls like one of the cheap pinwheels my husband puts on our deck.
I was still decades away from caring about headlines that had to do with aging. Back then, I just scanned headlines in Cosmo for "3,609 Ways To Please Your Man" articles. (Hint: Say yes. That's really all it takes.) For the record, I just lied. I never scanned for those articles. They annoyed me all those years ago. Now I find them unworthy of contemplating.
Today? I can read one of thousands of articles on aging ranging from reasons it sucks (no it doesn't) to age-appropriate ways to wear eye shadow (you can have my black eyeliner when you pry it from my cold dead fingers).
I love getting older. I spent a life time filled with self-loathing. I gave that up. I gave up feeling stupid, because I'm not. I gave up beating myself up over being awkward. I'm socially anxious. That's who I am. There are a lot of us. We're a tribe. Well, a tribe whose members prefer to keep to themselves.
I have replayed times when I've said or done something embarrassing literally decades after it happened. I'm done with that. I'm done worrying about how I look. I spent decades worrying about every gray hair and every bulge.
I stopped dying my hair over a year ago. I won't lie though, I still worry about the bulges. But see? That's the other thing — I'm cool with that as well. I accept me for who I am. Who I am right now is someone who would like to be a little less squishy. I'm all about self-acceptance. And that's very nearly true.
My mind doesn't understand that I'm 52 years old. It still feels 31. My body, however, is fully aware of the number of years it's lived. There are things I'm too old for. Time does change a person and I'm finding that it's easier to accept these changes than to fight them.
These are things for which the ship has sailed:
1. Shutting up
I no longer want to keep my mouth shut when I see an injustice. Or feel one. It's not that I never spoke out — there were times when I did — but it was usually on behalf of someone else. Not for myself. I'm done with that. I don't know how much good it will do, but if I get treated like sh*t, I'm going to shout about it.
2. Worrying how I look to others
My husband and I had breakfast at an upscale cafe this morning. We were going grocery shopping afterward. My hair would have looked OK if I hadn't run out of dry shampoo. Also, it's possible I was wearing jeans that should have been washed three wearings ago. But really, jeans don't ever get dirty, do they?
There were four women sitting at the table next to us and every one of them was wearing an infinity scarf. I had a brief moment of panic. I kind of looked like a pan handler and my husband. Well, he definitely looked like a pan handler. What would the infinity women think of me? Then I decided that their opinion of me wouldn't change how my bacon and avocado omelet tasted.
3. Guilty pleasures
I no longer have any guilty pleasures; I just have regular pleasures. I don't feel guilty about liking Lady Gaga. I don't feel guilty about reading every Stephanie Plum book, and I certainly don't feel guilty about getting obsessive about a TV show and watching it over and over. I have moved on from Supernatural and Doctor Who. I'm currently re-binge-watching The Walking Dead. Because Daryl.
4. Uncomfortable shoes
Screw wearing uncomfortable shoes. I also don't care if my socks match or not. If they mostly match, that's good enough.
5. Making excuses for my messy house
You know why my house is messy? Because I don't feel like cleaning right now. Also, it's messy because I'm unorganized and a bit of a slob.
6. Accumulating stuff I don't need
I cannot convey how much I'm done with this. Nearly everything we have isn't necessary or entertaining or comforting. We have less than two years before our youngest graduates and starts college. During that time, it's my goal to relieve ourselves of at least half of everything we own. Maybe more.
7. Spending unnecessary time with people I don't like
I actually started this one a few years ago. I used to go to lunch a few days a week with a group of coworkers. I don't like them. They are mean, petty, and we don't share the same interests. One day, I looked at them while they squabbled over sports or politics or a work project and thought what am I doing here? And then I stopped having lunch with them. Life is too short to spend unnecessary time with douche twizzles.
8. Finding the good in every person I know
Sometimes, people are assh*les. I'm sure, even with the biggest assh*le, if you do enough digging you'll find something good about that person. But why would I do that? Why have I done that? I don't want to waste anymore time than I have to on unpleasant people.
People make their choices. If they decide to be insufferable, then so be it. I no longer feel compelled to find something attractive about people like that. I just want move on from them as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Michelle Poston Combs can be found at her blog, Rubber Shoes In Hell. Her work can also be found on The Huffington Post and Better After 50. She had an essay in Jen Mann's latest anthology, I Still Just Want To Pee Alone. She is also in the 2015 Indianapolis cast of Listen To Your Mother.
This article was originally published at Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission from the author.