06/27/2013 02:50 pm ET Updated Aug 27, 2013

Saying Goodbye to All That


There are two different schools of thought regarding so-called aging.
Those who say they hate it are fond of saying things like:

Aging is not for sissies
Aging sucks
Aging is tough
Aging is a *&%$&*! struggle

And then there are those who:

Embrace aging
Celebrate aging
Recite a prayer of thanks each morning they wake up
Show off aging
Say aging beats the alternative

Me? I fall somewhere in-between. I can't actually decide. One day I embrace it, then, poof! It hits me right in the gut. Sometimes, I can get a bit grumpy about it. My knee aches (is that osteoarthritis or a sports injury?) My roots are coming in (I hate taking hours to get my hair colored, but don't have the complexion to rock gray). And that kid... he/she called me "Ma'am" again (I prefer anything but).

It figures. I'm a Libra, after all, whose sign is THE SCALES. We strive to have everything on an even keel; everything balanced. I see the good and the bad in all of it. That comes in handy when it comes to things like diplomacy, differing points of view, tact and settling arguments (actually, I shrink from arguments at all costs).

So, instead of trying to figure out just where exactly my scale is unbalanced (that's like trying to achieve world peace) -- because if there's one thing I can guarantee it's that I will always tip farther to one side than the other -- I've come up with my list of things that many of us can say goodbye to/good riddance to with age. If this can't help me figure out just how I feel about aging, I don't think all the arguments in the world can.

Say Goodbye to... PMS
It's nice to lose the monthly zits-the-size-of-a-crater, the mood swings and the insatiable chocolate cravings. The days of consulting the calendar to predict the days that will be wallop me by a giant wave of depression, paranoia or anger are gone (except for the days that depression, paranoia or anger are strictly warranted).

Say Goodbye to... Dogs
Who wants the responsibility now that the kids don't need you anymore? Without a dog, we can finally be truly free. As we age, so do our dogs (unless, of course, we keep replenishing our supply of them, unlike what we can do with babies) -- and eventually, we tire of the whole thing. On the other hand, no longer owning a pet makes you unable to have a ready excuse for leaving a party early, or having someone (other than yourself) to talk to when you're alone in the house, or acting like a kid and entertaining the dog by chasing it around the table.

Good Riddance to... Babies
Speaking of pets, it's just unrealistic to own one of these, too, after a certain age (unless you're a grandmother. But that comes with its perks; mainly, it entitles you to give it back). Nature has done us a favor, believe me. Not having any more babies definitely means not having to deal with a huge weight gain, having more freedom and maybe even more money and definitely more sanity (although what they say about big kids/big problems is gospel, especially in today's social and economic climate) -- and more time to sleep.

Say Goodbye to... Sleep
Ignore what I wrote above. You think just because there are no more babies in the house that you can really sleep through the night? Aging makes sleep seem like that golden ring -- within reach yet oh-so-tough to grasp. C'mon, tell me when was the last time YOU slept through the night? Sleep is restorative, sure. But it's also elusive. Still.

Good Riddance to... Teenage Self-Consciousness
Remember that? I do. I was taller than most everyone else, and as a result, I slumped. And brought my shoes to the local shoemaker so he could cut down the heels. Now I wear big heels and stand tall. And, I was always afraid to speak my mind, afraid that people wouldn't like me. Now, I say it's their loss. Wow, it feels good to feel good about yourself and not much care about what everyone else might think. Except for those times when someone gives you the cold shoulder and you wonder what you did to offend them. Or when your husband tells you can be intimidating to others because of your height -- and you're not so sure if those heels are a such a good idea after all.

Say Goodbye to... Oily Skin
My skin used to be so oily that someone standing opposite me could just about see their own reflection in my forehead. By the end of the day, my face resembled white patent leather shoes. Oily skin is good, people assured me. You'll have less wrinkles when you're older. And now? Menopause has stripped my skin of all its oil and I'm left with nothing but a rough surface resembling an over-sized emery board.

Ah, age. You can't win. It's tough, sometimes, to let go to things you hold so dear, even though your older brain yells at you to downsize and free yourself of burdens.

Do I want all the struggles of youth back? Or am I happy shedding myself of them?

If you have any tips for balancing a scale, I'll take them.