I realize I’ve essentially written the same blog post over and over recently. I mean I’m sure in the many years I’ve been writing here I’ve repeated myself a time or two, but these last few entries are all basically saying the same thing: everything is terrible and beautiful, all at the same time.

So okay, self, maybe you can try and move on from the sweaty existential grappling spiral. Yes, life contains multitudes, got it!

Can we instead do some group complaining about the various ways in which we have become increasingly decrepit? For instance, I just learned that my cholesterol is in the red flag zone. The LDL number is worryingly high, along with the total cholesterol number, along with the number of triglycerides. How scary is this? I have no idea! I was informed in a very brief telehealth appointment that ended with the doctor recommending red yeast rice supplements, which I had not heard of, and now I have to ponder whether I can lower my cholesterol on my own with lifestyle changes (fortified with RED YEAST I GUESS) or if I should be thinking of going on statins and/or getting another doctor’s opinion and this is just a lot of adulting.

Q: Were you able to transform this diagnosis into an ongoing opportunity to berate your personal worth as a human because it feels like damning evidence that emotional eating is bad and now you’ve ruined not only your thighs but also your actual blood? A: Oh you betcha.

I wouldn’t have known about the cholesterol thing if I hadn’t recently had labs done, which also indicated some lackluster thyroid performance. Other aspects of aging — aside from the vanity stuff — that are much more apparent:

• Everything just kind of hurts and is super stiff whenever I get up after sitting for a while, and if I’ve been sitting cross-legged then I basically have to walk like a stop-motion Argonauts skeleton for a hot minute

• My knees and I have a very tenuous relationship now and sometimes they are just like LOL NOPE

• Especially my right knee, which isn’t the same after I fractured the tibial plateau several years back (trivia time! Do you remember the story about the Maui woman who survived 17 days being lost? I read that she had the same injury from that experience, and on a whim I emailed her to see if she’d recovered completely in her knee. She was very kind and responded that she had not) (I did not go on to pepper her with five frillion questions about what happened out there although boy I would love to)

• My lower back, particularly left side, is always, always on notice. Like always. However, I haven’t had it ratchet up the pain factor or go out completely since I started doing yoga regularly. It’s just there lurking, occasionally sending out a little zinger to remind me who’s really in charge

• I’m ashamed to confess I haven’t had my eyes checked since I went to my follow-up LASIK appointment in uhhhhhhhhhh 1999? But one thing’s for sure: I need reading glasses. I’ve been using an ugly drugstore pair and wow the sweet relief of that magnified text

I’m actually so lucky to have had good health over the years, I’m skidding into my fifties with more brain baggage than I still want to be carrying and apparently my arteries are slowly closing up with what I can only assume is Twinkie filling but otherwise I’m hanging in there. Things are bad, things are good. Multitudes.

If you feel like sharing, how is your meat-sack falling the fuck apart/still truckin’ these days?

It’s shaping up to be a beautiful, sunny day today. So there is that.

I have been noticing that part of me is constantly doing the work of shoring up reasons to keep going. I don’t want that to sound scary, like I’m bleakly suicidal and trying to come up with reasons to live: that’s not it. It’s more like … there is something inside of me that remains committed to finding life’s worthy moments, even (and maybe especially) when everything feels so incredibly dark and heavy.

I wanted to document that, acknowledge it outside of my own head in some way.

The other day I was on school pickup duty, driving to my spot in a full haze of whatever the opposite of mindfulness is. Lost in eighty billion very bad no-good thoughts, an entire minor-chord-in-place-of-major-chord melody of unhappy places for my mind to go. Everything is terrible and getting worse, how could we have ever consciously brought children into this world, I hate what’s happening to my _____ (turns out body self-hatred is like Jell-O: there’s always room).

I happened to look up at just the right time to see a car going by with a dog sticking its head out the passenger window. Its ears were flapping in the wind, mouth wide open in a giant deranged grin. This dog was so motherfucking stoked and it was completely infectious: the driver was smiling, I found myself smiling.

That’s all. I parked and did some doomscrolling and of course immediately lost that little burst of joy, but it was there. I noticed it.

This seems important. The dogs in windows, the luscious spring rhododendron blooms, the way I recently learned that some snails leave a little dotted slime-line instead of an unbroken one. Small things that bring delight and spark curiosity.

We are in such hard times, all of us. I hope you see something that makes you smile today.

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