No More Pap Smears: 11 Outrageous Signs I am Aging

Hello, Dear Readers! Allow me to introduce myself. I am a newbie to this blogging world, and I’m thrilled (and slightly terrified) to be here. As I approach my 60th birthday, I find myself feeling a bit clueless after retiring from teaching elementary school for more than 30 years.

I look at young people with a mix of fright and disdain, wondering how they can be so confident in their youth. Just when I thought I’d be older and wiser, I’m finding myself a bit irrelevant and treated to all kinds of hidden and not-so-hidden ageism. But hey, at least it’s giving me plenty to write about!

Just When I Thought I Knew Something

Ah, the joys of aging. The irony of feeling perpetually young inside our heads while the rest of the world seems hell-bent on reminding us of our “maturity.” In a youth-obsessed culture, it’s almost a rite of passage to hit those moments where you realize, “Well, I guess I’m officially old now.” My dear friend and I discussed this at length on our podcast, and I decided to share 11 of the most surprising and slightly horrifying indicators that we have, indeed, crossed over to the “elderly” side of life.

#1: Tiny Print and Reading Glasses: The Struggle Is Real

It all started innocuously enough with a trip to the eye doctor. The technician handed me a reading test card with microscopic print on it. “Well, this is new,” I thought. “What’s it for?” “Read it,” she stated simply. I squinted and tried to hold it at arm’s length. She kind of swatted at my arm, forcing me to read it closer to my face.

I finally admitted defeat. “Do I really need reading glasses?” I asked, the denial thick in my voice. She just smiled that knowing smile. That’s when it hit me: I had crossed a threshold based on my birthdate. Reading glasses are now my reality. Go away, tiny print.

#2: The Dreaded Colonoscopy Appointment

Speaking of thresholds, nothing says “welcome to the golden years” quite like scheduling your first colonoscopy. The indignity of it all! I remember when my doctor first suggested it. I nearly choked on my coffee. “A colonoscopy? Really?” It’s one of those moments that makes you want to shout, “Let me off this ride!”

But instead, you quietly schedule the appointment and hope for the best. (All kidding aside, get checked people! It’s important and almost as easy as getting your teeth cleaned. Well… except for the “pre-cleansing” part.)

#3: Other Health Invasions

Calling the nurse line for a random symptom is another adventure in aging. They asked me if my husband noticed that I was having any memory problems. My response? “Why would you ask him? He’s the one with the memory issues!” That got a good laugh, but still, it was a sobering moment. Dementia? Already?

The relentless pursuit of good health brings its own set of challenges. Shingles shots, COVID boosters, and the joy of getting your boobs smashed in a yearly mammogram. I am no longer surprised when doctors find something wrong with me. At least we have chair yoga and Tai Chi, right?

#4: The Perks and Perils of Senior Discounts

You know you’re getting old when you can walk up to certain restaurant counters and proudly claim your senior discount. I’m at an age where I’ll say, “I’m sure you can’t believe I’m old enough!” They just look nervous and smile, half shake and nod their head.

Then you go shopping on Senior Citizen Day, and the cashier gives you the discount without even asking. At first, it stings a little, like, “What a rude move!” But then you realize, “At least I’m saving money.”

#5: I Have a “Grandma” Name

One day, I had a startling realization about names. It seems like all the “Sue’s” of my generation have officially become old ladies. The friends I went to school with – Lisa, Monica, Nancy, and Kim – have names that young mothers today wouldn’t dream of giving their babies.

But my grandmas’ names? Oh, those are back in style. Names like Evelyn, Edith, and Agatha are being recycled. What fresh madness is this? When did my friends and I become relics of a bygone era while names that used to belong to women in orthopedic shoes and floral dresses are now considered chic and trendy for newborns? Ickers.

#6: Shower Strategy and Foot Neglect

Even simple daily routines take on a new level of complexity. Planning out a shower to avoid falling and potentially breaking something? Check. Giving up on doing your toenails yourself because bending over is just too much effort, and, honestly, who’s looking at your feet anyway? Check. These are the moments when you realize your body has become a high-maintenance machine that you’re not entirely sure how to operate anymore.

#7: I Don’t Understand Young People

Nothing highlights the generational gap like watching preteen girls on TikTok and Instagram share their skincare routines. This is a whole new level of absurdity. When did children start worrying about wrinkles?

A few months ago, I was walking around a Target Store, and I overheard a girl who was maybe 11. She was frantically begging her mom to buy her this Regenerating Collagen Peptide Face Moisturizer. That cream was behind a locked glass door. The price: $149.

After that life altering experience, I posted a snarky and apparently unwatchable parody of a makeup tutorial on YouTube as part of my podcast. It is about using Crayola Markers to help aging women on a budget to apply makeup in a whole new way. I was a teacher and have lots of leftover markers. I thought it was funny, okay? It got seven views. SEVEN!

Here it is, if you want to see it: Marker Make-up.

Meanwhile, a tweenager named Daya with luminescent perfect skin, is nearing 2 million subscribers sharing her beauty tips. I’m not jealous of her; I am just confused.

#8: Fashion Faux Pas

Remember when you cared about fashion? Yeah, me neither. These days, it’s all about comfort. High heels and tight clothes are a distant memory, replaced by elastic pants and slip-on tennis shoes. And when you’re at the age where you just don’t care about societal norms, you rock that look with pride. “Hey millennials, don’t tell me to put my crew socks back on. I’ll wear whatever stinking socks I want!”

But when my sons got married, I wanted to dress like a queen, but I faced one of the biggest indignities of all. As I shopped for dresses online, I noticed that all the models for these classy garments were 20-year-old girls. Sigh.

While I am on this topic of fashion blunders, I need to say something: cutting bangs is not a mistake for everyone. Bangs are cheap cosmetic surgery for your forehead. Hire a professional to cut them, and your life will be better for it.

#9: Nightly Bathroom Trips

A good night’s sleep is a thing of the past. If I only get up twice to use the bathroom, it’s a small victory. My doctor says I’m supposed to drink water all day long, and lots of it because kidney stones aren’t funny. I’ve had them twice, and the main advice you get is, “drink more water!”

I think I will write an article for you about those little suckers. I will find the humor somehow. But for now, I will keep making my nightly trips to the bathroom.

#10: Pap Smears and Birth Control: The Silver Lining

One surprising perk of aging for women is no longer needing to worry about pap smears or birth control. There’s a certain freedom that comes with knowing your childbearing days are firmly in the past. No more monthly “fun” toiletries or the panic of a missed period.

Getting pregnant at this age would be nothing short of a miracle – or a plot twist in a daytime soap opera. Pap smears? The doctors are like, “No thanks, we don’t need to check anymore.” It’s a strange, almost liberating feeling to be told you can retire from those health checks.

#11: The Final Straw: Peanut Butter Jar Injuries

The ultimate indignity? Hurting yourself doing mundane tasks like… sleeping. A comic strip my brother sent me perfectly captured this: a young guy broke his arm from a fall off his house, a middle-aged guy got the same injury by slipping on grass, and an older man by trying to open a peanut butter jar. It’s funny because it’s true.

As we age, we adapt. We find humor in the absurdities and embrace the inevitable changes with as much grace as we can muster. So, here’s to the senior discounts, the orthotics, and the daily reminders that aging is both a challenge and a privilege. And to those young whippersnappers on YouTube, just wait. Your time will come.

Go ahead, call me “ma’am.” I’ve earned it.

Please Join the Conversation:

What are you happy to be rid of now that you’re past 60? What new challenges are you facing? Are you trying to find the humor in most life situations? Can you share the last time something age-related happened that you later found funny?

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