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The 20-Year Difference

As I stood at the magnifying mirror one recent morning plucking rogue moustache hairs, it occurred to me that this was something I never had to do 20 years ago.

Damned interlopers. 

I have two words for errant facial hairs: pluck ‘em!

This got me thinking about all the other things I didn’t have to do two decades ago, such as:

  • The 20-Year DifferenceUse a magnifying mirror at all
  • Trim nose hairs
  • Take a statin
  • Have precancerous lesions frozen off my face
  • Wear reading glasses
  • See a cardiologist
  • Check the front of my clothes for food stains
  • Get up in the middle of the night to pee
  • Write everything down
  • Take a pill to sometimes help me sleep
  • Wear Spanx
  • Avoid certain foods due to acid reflux
  • Pay for pedicures because it’s getting harder to reach—and see—my toes
  • Get sleepy when riding in a car
  • Think seriously about retirement
  • Wear earplugs at night to help me sleep
  • Be called ma’am fairly regularly
  • Keep a tissue tucked up my sleeve for a drippy nose I can’t always feel
  • Have doctors who are all younger than I am
  • Avoid prolonged sun exposure
  • Get checked for cataracts
  • Give up caffeine
  • Camouflage age spots

I’m not complaining, believe me. These aren’t really problems, just observations of the ways in which life – and my body – have changed between the ages of 40 and 60. I can only imagine what the next 20 years will bring if I’m lucky enough to live that long.

On the flip side, there are a lot of things I no longer have to do now that I’m in my sixties:

  • Buy tampons and deal with the mess and discomfort of periods
  • Pay full price for lots of stuff since I’m eligible for a senior discount
  • Worry about birth control
  • Wear jeans without spandex
  • Get carded at the liquor store
  • Endure cat calls or lewd remarks from guys (must be my flat ass)
  • Feel compelled to do anything I don’t really want to do, or feel guilty about saying no
  • Go to baby showers
  • Deal with my father’s second wife (the silver lining of his death)

A glass-half-full type of person, I tend to default to the “there’s always a bright side” to just about any situation (which tends to irritate my husband when he’s in cranky-pants mode). But even when I have a really crappy day, at the very least I figure I can feel grateful when it’s over.

And plucking moustache hairs or being called ma’am is a small price to pay for the privilege of making it this far.

What about you? What are some things you find yourself doing today that 20 years ago you never dreamed would be part of your reality? And conversely, what are some things you no longer have to do (or choose not to do) as you’ve gotten older?

Roxanne Jones

Roxanne Jones blogs at Boomer Haiku, a mostly light-hearted, often irreverent look at life as a baby boomer, 17 syllables at a time. When she’s not tapping out haikus, she’s a freelance medical copywriter, enjoys chardonnay and contemplates plastic surgery to get rid of the wattle on her neck.

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