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I'm a 24-year-old student scientist, budget gourmet, novice cyclist, long-distance girlfriend, and avid amateur runner. I always said I couldn't have a blog because I didn't have anything worth blogging about. Turns out, I may have been wrong...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Glasses and Wrinkles and Grey Hairs, Oh My!

Much to my dismay, I have always been the baby.  Throughout grade school, with my birthday in mid-September, I was consistently one of the youngest kids in my grade.  I couldn't get my driver's license until I was almost done with my junior year of high school!  In college, I was just about the last of my friends to turn 21 (super lame).  A year into my first job, over half of the new hires - who got their degrees a year after I did - were still older than I was!  And now, even though I worked for two years in between undergrad and graduate school, I remain the youngest student in my graduate cohort.

Needless to say, I may have developed a little bit of a complex about my age.  I have a secret worry that having been on the planet for a longer period of time gives those around me some kind of developmental advantage... cognitively, socially, physically, who knows?  Sometimes I feel like I just don't get things that other people do - and maybe it's because their more mature neurons have figured out more of life's little intricacies. I often wonder if other "youngsters" feel the same way... Well, do you??

OK, fine, it's all in my head.  Regardless, I have never, ever thought of myself as being "old enough," but always instead "too young." 

So, how is it possible that, at 24 years of age, a relative infant, I keep showing physical signs of aging?!?!?  

When I was 20, with a life history of perfect vision, I started needing glasses to see presentations in class.  Myopia!  Unbelievable and unfortunate.  Now, after exponentially increasing time spent in front of computers, I find myself needing those very glasses to drive, proctor tests, even dine with friends at oblong tables.  Do I look academic enough yet?

 

Shortly thereafter, I started to notice grooves on my forehead and around my mouth... Grooves, indeed.  These were wrinkles!  Clearly I must smile and/or raise my eyebrows too much.  So, I started to use nighttime face cream - I was going to moisturize those bastards into submission!  

 
I'm not sure the plan worked, but I really love using night cream - it makes my skin feel super nice in the morning!

Most recently, I've decided to end a 12-year era of blond highlights and grow out my natural hair color (dark dirty blond, perhaps, but yet to be seen).  I resolutely, unwaveringly rejected all suggestions of doing an all-over darker dye to avoid horrible roots on the argument that I don't want to put any more chemicals on my head.  Unwavering, that is, until I noticed gray hair mixed in with my natural darker roots!!!

 Can you see them?  Trust me, they are there in full force.  Gross.

WTH?!?!  NOOOOOO!!!  It's not just one or two, there is an entire cadre of these suckers staked out right where I like to part my 'do... Grrrrrr.  My mother warned me that she found her first gray at 24... I just never thought it would happen to me!  Still haven't decided it I will go for an all-over color to camouflage them... but I understand it's a slippery slope - once you start covering grays, it's very difficult to stop.  I guess we'll have to wait and see just how gray I am when my natural color has completely grown in...!!!  Eeek!

I've also picked up some grandma-esque behaviors, such as mild hoarding.  I hoard grocery bags...

You never know when you might need a paper or plastic bag!

...and (no surprise here) old running shoes.

I took my very first outdoor training run in the grey pair (bottom), ran my very first race, a 10k, in the white and orange pair (middle), and ran my first two half-marathons in the blue and white pair (top)!  These worn-out duds hold some very special memories... but will I ever wear them again?  Probably not.

In a tiny apartment with insufficient storage space, extraneous junk like this stuff causes a lot of clutter!  But, aside from these two things, I'm pretty good about saying goodbye and good riddance to unnecessary items.

So, I think I have to get used to it.  I am aging.  On most cognitive measures, I've already passed my prime.  Physically, I'm experiencing some of the drawbacks I will probably struggle with for most of my life.  As my Dad so poetically put it on a phone call earlier today, "You're not as young as you used to be." Alas and alack!

In a sense, not being quite so young is kind of exciting...!  I don't know that I like the idea of "growing old," but I do very much enjoy the notion of reaching an age that might command respect (whatever that may be).  Maybe, with a few grays on the ol' noggin, I won't feel so much at an age disadvantage.

And, here's a fun paradox for you (if you're into that type of thing): At the same time that I'm becoming more aware of my body's aging, I am in the best physical shape of my life!  Youth, schmouth, I wear glasses and clip-in bike shoes!  I have wrinkles and killer core strength!   I have gray hair and a 1:51 half marathon PR!  Take that, aging!!

More importantly, at this stage in my admittedly short existence, I have a new-found commitment to lifelong health and fitness.  I am always amazed and inspired by older athletes - especially those who outrace me!  I still want to be an athlete at 34, 54, and, hopefully, 74.  I still want to be crossing finish lines - either in real races or just at my own driveway - when all I have are grey hairs!  Exercise will always be part of my life.  I will always be cognizant of nutrition.  I will always take care of my body because, in the long run (no pun intended), I am giving myself more time (and more quality time) with the people I love.

Alright, glasses.  Fine, wrinkles.  OK, grays.  Take your best shot - I'll be ready for you, sneakers laced.


Today's question:  Which event in the Winter Olympics is your favorite and why?

1 comment:

Lauren said...

I just want you to know that I LOLed so hard when I read this post! Also, a general comment: I really appreciate the lingo and other things you sneak into your posts which I'm sure only I and a few select others can pick up on - Bertram reference, anyone? Genius!

This post recently led me to inquire about my family's average decent into gray. My mom told me she turned gray in her twenties and so did my dad. Clearly, at this point, every precious day without gray is a blessing - ugh. At least I know I'm not aging alone, thanks Laura!