Sunday, February 3, 2013

Somehow it all turns to biscuit dough OR The effects of LIFE


I just renewed my driver's license and I don’t think I’ve ever had a more depressing experience.

First of all, the lovely people at the State of New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division insist on taking your picture. I asked if I could keep my old picture and they said they didn't do that anymore. Then they give you your old license back. I tried to make them keep the old one, but they wouldn't do it. Then they give you your new license so you can compare the two, which is where the depression comes in.

Curse you, Motor Vehicle Division! As if waiting in line for three hours wasn’t bad enough! As an additional service, here’s a picture of you when you were young and skinny, side by side with one of you four years later. Compare and enjoy! It's kind of like those “The Effects of Meth” things, only mine could be titled, “The effects of LIFE.”

I don’t like to think of myself as vain, but one of the worst things was my documented weight gain. For one, it has my weight printed on there, before and after, and that math is depressing. And then there are the pictures. In 2009 I was trim and svelte, but by 2013 it somehow all turns to biscuit dough. Plus, there are the visible signs of aging.

And it's not just weight gain and aging, it's also my eyes. In the 2009 license, my eyes sparkled with hope and promise, and in the 2013 one, my eyes are just... dead.

I know some of what caused my rapid physical and mental deterioration: In the time between licenses I graduated and started working for a living. Also, we had a baby and our bills quadrupled. I’m not knocking kids. I love mine. If the driver’s license could show my heart, you would see that it has grown three sizes. But man, having a kid takes a toll on you physically. The sleep loss alone is killer, not to mention all the other demands and stress. Sometimes it feels like my son is getting big and strong because he’s feeding off of my wife and I.

But enough pity-partying! I need to embrace the aging. One of the good things is: with age comes wisdom and freedom. Freedom from caring what other people think, and freedom to speak your mind. You’ve seen old people, they can’t stop speaking their minds. I know that one day I will be a cranky old senior citizen complaining about everything, and that thought makes me smile.

“Pull up your pants!” “Get a job!” “Get a haircut!” “Where’s my ointment?”

Just practicing.

Has anyone else had this same harrowing experience? Can you give me any tips on aging gracefully? As you can see, I need them.