gail schimmel

The blog of writer Gail Schimmel: A bit of writing, a bit of parenting, a bit of thinking and some book reviews

The agony of aging


Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 42. I like 42, because I am now two 21 year olds. Problem is, I don’t feel like two 21 year olds. In fact, some days I feel like a 72 year old.

There are things that they warn you about aging, and things that they don’t.

I expected wrinkles – which I have. I expected grey hair – which I don’t have. I expected a general sagging – which I have – and perhaps a general drop in energy. I don’t know about the drop in energy because I am not a very energetic person to start with, so maybe we drop less. Also, I knew my eyesight would change and it has, and now, despite contact lenses, I do strange facial expressions to read small print. A visit to my optometrist is due. She is also a friend, so she should be kind about my aging eyes,

But what I actually want to talk about is the things they don’t warn you about.

First off: wrinkled sagging eyelids.

Somehow, I never expected my eyelids to age. I thought they’d be exempt for some reason. They’re not. In fact, they are particularly prone to wrinkles and crepeyness. I try to keep my eyes open extra wide to compensate but that makes my forehead wrinkles worse.

Second: cracky knees

My right knee sounds a gun shot every time I stand up from a sitting position. It. Is. Not. Sexy. (We won’t even talk about what my knees look like.)

Related to this, I can no longer sit cross legged for any significant amount of time. My joints ache. Oh hell, I’ve turned into a person whose joints ache.

Third, or is that fourth – I have one of those dangley things on my neck that the character in Boston Legal had a fetish about. Which would be all very well, except I don’t think my husband shares that fetish. I have started taking selfies from strange, neck flattering angles. With sunglasses on to hide the eyelid, laugh-line situation:


And as for the state of my heels. Honest to goodness, I don’t know if it is age or if I actually have a disorder where you dehydrate and crack up from your feet up, but it is not pretty. I might need to have weekly pedicures, and I’m not really in that level of grooming league. . .

It’s a depressing business, this aging thing. But from tomorrow, for the next 366 days (leap year, people), I am going to remember that I am two 21 year olds. And I’ll pretend that the sound of my right knee cracking is simply the champagne corks that form the soundtrack to my life. . .





10 thoughts on “The agony of aging

  1. Brilliant and so true I loved this

  2. And you are still beautiful .. Love Jurg xx

  3. Well here is to being two 21 year old’s for the next 366 days 🙂 I like that idea best!!!
    Does that mean you are still able to PARTY like two 21 year old’s because that could be insane – hee hee
    Awesome read as always

  4. I’m so glad I’m not the only one! I turned 40 in April last year and it bugged me! I mean 40! WHAT! And yes I started to notice the aching joints and wrinkles. And I’ve got the grey hair! Eeek! And every time I buy clothes I see old grannies wearing the same thing and I freak! Ok so it happened once. But I like that. Two 21 year olds. So cheers!

    • The truth is that so far being “in my forties” has been amazing. But yes, when a 19 year old told me her mom had the same outfit as me, I nearly cried. Especially after I remembered I’m probably her mom’s age. . .

  5. You are still very young, trust me.

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