Why I Hate Aging! I Mean, It's Really Getting Old!

By the time you finish reading this, you'll be older than you are now

The second a stranger catches sight of you, the first thing he or she thinks is "Old person!" ... The same goes for people you know. ... You think: "I am so lucky. I never got crow's feet!" Then you happen to glance in a mirror. You've got crow's feet. ... You never used to cry at anything, but now you even blubber through Adam Sandler flicks.

You go to see Broadway shows just so you'll be the young one in the room. ... Your references become a tiny bit out of sync with everyone else's. You mention Norman Mailer to a 21-year-old, and they look like you're speaking Esperanto. They've never heard of Esperanto, either. You even mention Britney, and they have no idea what you're talking about! ... But if you go out of your way to sound up to date and informed—"I like that new Carly Rae Jepsen song"—you come off as desperate and pathetic.

With every moment, you have more past and less future. ... Any lump or bruise you find on your body could be terminal. Your lifelong hypochondria has actually become realistic. ... It's harder to make new friends, and what's more, your old ones are disappearing. ... You won't take a chance on a restaurant anymore. To warrant your patronage, a place has to be quick, ambient, delicious, dirt cheap, and friendly yet unobtrusive. And on your block! ... Everything seems really loud. A cat purring is suddenly deafening. ... You've kept every clipping, book, and video with any mention of your name, from the time when they actually had clippings, books, and videos. Your apartment has become a glorified storage space for irrelevant research on yourself, and even you don't care about it, but you still can't manage to get yourself to throw the shit out.

Andrew Roberts

You're still wearing clothes from 20 years ago because, as all sense of time flies out the window, it seems like you only bought them two months ago. The fact that none of it fits anymore doesn't stop you in the least. ... You get lots of adulation for being a trouper and a survivor, which basically means you're a quaint old thing who must have been very famous at one point. (You never burst their bubble by telling them you actually were never that famous to begin with.)

You find yourself robotically parroting things your father said, like: "Water's good for you. You should drink lots of water." ... You are also strangely convinced that walking two or three blocks—to the drugstore to pick up a prescription refill—is great exercise. ... You, in fact, have become your parents, even though you're still working out issues derived from the horror of your upbringing. ... Every time a camera's in the room, you have to jut your head up and stick it out to minimize the extra folds and lines. You also can't smile too hard because that creates jowls and you don't want to look like an inflated accordion. So while getting photographed used to be your favorite activity on earth, it's now your most challenging nightmare. ... You're always catching up with technology from five years ago. What's an iPhone?

Even bifocals don't work like they used to. To see anything, you have to clothespin your eyes open and place your eyeballs right on top of them (which can be a problem during sex). ... That's OK. No one wants to have sex with you anymore except drunk, depraved people or gerontophiles who can't afford therapy. ... Speaking of sex, prescribed drugs can give you a two-week erection, but it doesn't feel quite the same as when it came naturally and only lasted two days.

You become increasingly invisible to the world at large because they've already seen what you can do and aren't about to give you a chance to try something else. Besides, you remind them of their own mortality. ... You remind yourself of your own mortality, too. You cut off your own opportunities because you rule out doing things that are potentially uncomfortable or unsafe, having been burned before, whereas you used to recklessly dive right into those kinds of things, anxious to live and learn.

Every day you have less hair on your head and more hair in other places where there shouldn't be hair. ... You catch a glimpse of a Lawrence Welk Show rerun and start thinking, "Hmm. This isn't so bad." ... You start to care inordinately about the weather. Even a 30 percent chance of light precipitation can make you spiral with despair. And if it's going to maybe be a little cold? Get out the electric blanket and prepare to die. ... The second you finish a meal, you start thinking fondly about the next one. Mere sustenance becomes a landmark event in your day. ... But though spicy food used to make you wriggle with delight, it now signifies cramps and bathroom visits. And it's Pavlovian; a mere glance at a menu can make you crap your pants.

You can't always remember who people are anymore. When someone |says "Hi," you search their face for signs of identity while stammering evasive things like, "How goes it, fella?" ("Hey, lady" works for both women and gay men.) ... You live in terror that the cashier at the cineplex is going to give you a senior discount even though you didn't ask for it. ... When a hot guy gives you his number, you assume he's going to work his way into your will and then kill you, so you promptly delete it. But there's a 10 percent chance he might not have done that, and the doubt can make you extra crazy. ... Sorry, the column has to end now. I'm exhausted.

Read more Michael Musto at La Dolce Musto

musto@villagevoice.com

 
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36 comments
nicksfb
nicksfb

Silly stuff...on a material functional level you're right of course.  That's the effect of time on the body.....but in terms of being playful and open and spontaneous and adventurous I'm even younger now than I was at 40....and working my way up to 21 again!  :-)Yes, we'll all get even older and even less functional...and there will be sickness and in suffering and death....and that's ok.  It has to be ok as there is no other choice....but our inner attitude can be one of loving joyful acceptance which makes it more fun to live and more fun for others to be in our presence...and that's pretty cool!  The tru measure of a life has much more to do with the quality of being than the quantity of functionality.Meanwhile, if you can read this and can still interact and communicate with others then you can make a difference for the future.  You may never see the effects of your influence...in fact you probably won't, but that's not what's most important....what matters is that we all find ways to live a meaningful loving joyful life in spite of the misfortunes, infirmities and suffering that  come with life.Maybe that's part of the value of becoming "old"?  Eh? Robert F Kennedy, a man who died way too young.... said it well..."Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

hjo4
hjo4

Shut up!  I HATE YOU almost everything you wrote is true,dammit.  But getting old is better than the alternative perhaps, who knows. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone.

neil_nachum
neil_nachum

True, most Americans under 40 haven't heard of Esperanto. Thanks for mentioning the most useful language for breaking barriers. While we estimate some million-speakers, 16,000 of us recently joined Facebook and correspond daily. Conventions bring 10s of thousands of us together annually. I (along with 1,000 others) was just  welcomed as a king in Hanoi, Vietnam .....which I briefly visited 40 years ago during wartime. A new generation of Esperanto speakers eagerly wait to show you several Vietnamese cities. Monthly meetings occur world-wide in some 1,000 cities, including New York. 

daddycooper
daddycooper

@mikeymusto loved 30 reasons to hate aging. Having children accelerates many of them! & adds to memory loss (that could be the wine, too)

mommadillo
mommadillo

There are a couple of ways you can look at it: the "sure beats the alternative" viewpoint which can be summed up as "STFU, beeyotch - you're alive, aintcha?" and the "at least it will be over soon" viewpoint in case you're not happy to be a senior citizen.

 

I've always been a "glass half full" type myself.

MarcelloBaca
MarcelloBaca

@mikeymusto you've got the sun in your eyes (with raspberry sparkles).

Blurgle
Blurgle

In other words, you were previously seen by others primarily as an individual. Now you're seen at first as a negative stereotype, and you have to overtly counter that stereotype to have a hope of being seen as an individual by others.

 

Welcome to my world, says everyone who isn't a young white healthy male.

 

Be careful, though; as you age and become less "standard" nobody will let you counter that stereotype, because putting you in that "inferior, lesser subhuman" box is more important to them and their ego than learning to know the real you ever could be.

BDMV
BDMV

Lady, that was brillig. Every word. I can relate to the entire thing, especially the Viagra. Oy...

hipbilly
hipbilly

Thanks, Michael. I was 'lol' by the end of the first paragraph. Actually, I've been saying much the same thing for a couple of years now, especially noting those errant new hairy places that have cropped up. Please keep up the good work. Humor adds years to one's life. 

JinxMcGillicudd
JinxMcGillicudd

@mikeymusto Was in dentist chair getting picked at, thought of lines from your piece, started cracking up. Awk-ward!

MistressAubrey
MistressAubrey

@mikeymusto Ok, your column on aging was hilarious! If I don't give a faboo about the weather, does that mean I will never age??

bgryphon
bgryphon

No matter what the aches and pains getting old sure beats the alternative. All the more so for those of us who still recall living through the anti-aids hysteria of the 80s.

bbhavey
bbhavey

Ridiculous thoughts. And so many of them. All biology, all the way from first to last word.

What about a continuing life enabling new experiences? Me? 64. So what? I've never been attracted to humor meant to demean.

GreatMartin
GreatMartin

Michael I LOVE being old--I have so many excuses for not doing things and/or ignoring people--and they forgive you!!!

And I can declare my love for Michael Musto and people smile at me and shake their head!!!

Light
Light

An article that  reflects the ignorance of the writer who thinks himself insightful and clever

and is neither .

DrLisaLevySP
DrLisaLevySP

@cartoonderek Hey Derek-from where I sit you're still a kid! You haven't even gone thru Menopause.

JohnDennie
JohnDennie

@villagevoice @mikeymusto A'int it the3 truth. But some of them gerontophiles are pretty hot

DittoPost
DittoPost

@villagevoice @mikeymusto Great piece Musto. I disagree w your politics but you're one of the best first person writers in the biz.

DittoPost
DittoPost

@villagevoice @mikeymusto Musto, you're good enough, you're smart enough and doggonit people like u.

musto
musto moderator

Thanks for liking the piece, everyone. It was fun to write.

tjdabney
tjdabney

hilarious.... I wish I couldn't relate. 

stevie_d68
stevie_d68

This was so brilliant AND the very reason I move to L.A 9 weeks ago.   It's great out here and easy to live out here.  Come on over @mikeymusto.  We'd love to have you here!  

mmarbo
mmarbo

I Love you Michael, I was having a bad day until I read that.  All the same for me except I can't hear a blasted thing, literally!

nostradavid
nostradavid

Drinking lots of water is so groovy, man.

Forget the electric blanket - it will disrupt your aura.

bri_ein
bri_ein

omg! so funny! You write so well and so real...is really the adverb of real? You're brave to write about yourself and put it out there in the universe.

JinxMcGillicudd
JinxMcGillicudd

@mikeymusto And, I feel compelled to add, I've been reading you for (gulp) a full 30 years now.

JinxMcGillicudd
JinxMcGillicudd

@mikeymusto Laffed SO hard. Recently said "23 skidoo!" to 30 y/o–ironically, of course. Blank stare. Had to *explain,* voice trailing. Meta.

jackson30
jackson30

It's all brill, but the part about how you repeat your father's saying that "Water is good for you" made me scream with recognition.

madmaninbedlam
madmaninbedlam

Blahaha! I am saving this one. I am in the throws of a mid-life crisis and I appreciate your candid and relatable observations.

andreasratner
andreasratner

@mikeymusto I have to agree with you- hysterical but unfortunately true!

oldlady
oldlady

We are of the same vintage.   I am still laughing out loud (oh, sorry, lol, right?)  Btw, is your hearing going too?  I was in a meeting today and started to read lips.

musto
musto moderator

Thank you. And as you know, I still have three times the energy, enthusiasm, and work ethic of most other people, so take all of this with a grain of Metamuscil.

ladybug9
ladybug9

So brilliant, funny, and brave. Loved it. And everyone can relate.

johnleemedia
johnleemedia

OMG @BombsawayBob that is TOO much! Thanks for sharing...I'm cracking up

 
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