Is anyone else:

• Diminished by the pandemic/all the things and wholly uncertain how to regain a sense of emotional fortitude

• Lonely but also constantly craving solitude

• Hating the effects of doomscrolling/social media but can’t stop doomscrolling/social media

• Always despairing over unwanted weight gain but unable to curb the behaviors that lead to weight gain

• Absolutely fucking poleaxed by social anxiety now and forever, god I’m so tired of all the fucks I continue to give about the dumbest shit when there is so much REAL shit to freak out about, what is WRONG with me why am I such a STUPID GARBAGE TITTY BABY

• Really trying to work on the negative self-talk

• Honestly in a constant war with your own brain which wants to be convinced there’s something deeply wrong and bad about your own self (which is exhausting, but better than always allowing yourself to believe)

• Uninterested in a lot of the things you were interested in a few years ago

• Not reading books nearly as much as you used to

• Realizing just how many years of parenting involved siphoning off serotonin from children’s uncomplicated delight and the whole teenage “meh” vibe is a real poor replacement when it comes to secondhand happiness

• Scared, like really deep-down scared about the future for our kids

• Feeling low to mid-grade anxiety pretty much most of the time

• Missing the night’s rest of a decade or so ago, which felt much more restorative than the elusive, shallow, always-waking-to-pee, totally unreliable “sleeping” that happens now

• Totally unclear when it comes to deciding what life’s second act could look like

• A natural introvert who is now verging on hermit but not really the content/enlightened kind

• Wishing for more connection but hugely overwhelmed by any social obligation whatsoever

• Hanging in there lol!

I was listening to a podcast the other day and the host was talking about all the various aging-related discomforts she’d been noticing, like how she felt like her whole body was slowly tightening, and how stiff she felt in the mornings, and how she used to be able to skip a certain workout/move for a while then get right back into it but now she encounters resistance etc and I kept nodding along in weirdly delighted recognition until she revealed that she was all of thirty-four years old, at which point I found myself saying “OH HONEY” right out loud to NO ONE, or maybe to both of us. Anyway, relatable! — yet … not.

I keep thinking there will be some sort of tipping point, aging-wise, where I sort of just grok with fullness that this is the natural way of things and there’s no point in despairing over what is lost when a person could instead focus on what is gained. (Look at me trying to bright-side a nascent apron belly.)

I don’t know why I visualize this as some sort of a one-day event, where I rise up from the ashes of various ineffective anti-aging potions and cast my final vanity-related fuck into the sea. FUCK IT ALLLLLL, I’ll sing out at top off-key volume while snow-white hairs erupt from my unplucked face and my breasts drop thankfully to the ground, finally unfettered by decades of wire suspension.

I don’t think it will really work that way, but it’s a little thrilling to imagine that it could.