In light of GoDaddy's support of SOPA (of which I am apparently the last person on the planet to hear) and in light of their continued failure to get it even when they dropped their support for SOPA, I am transferring the domain name control of JamesRStrickland.com to a more reputable domain host. There shouldn't be any problems that you, the reader, notice, but if there are, this website and I will be back as soon as they are resolved. -JRS
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Middle age moment today. See #9.
I'm 44 years old. Statistically speaking, I have a lot of middle age to go, but I've already learned a few things I wish I'd known last year, the year before, and so on. So here, in no particular order:
1. Do what you love. By now you know that life's too short to work a job you hate to buy shit you don't need. (To paraphrase Fight Club). Find work that you enjoy that will also pay the bills. Don't let them promote you to a job you don't like from a job you liked. Don't take career advice from work-at-home authors. Yanno, like me.
2. Love someone. This is probably harder than you think, but worth it like life itself. Also, it makes the sex better. Those hot young things you secretly envy have no idea what they're missing when they haven't slept with someone with twenty years of practice with them.
3. Make more friends, especially younger friends. Statistically speaking, not all of your old crew is going to make it to old age. Hopefully your crew will be different, but the fact remains that while you can't replace them, and it's a mistake to try, keeping the ranks of your friends up helps. Real friends. People you spend time with in person. Internet friends, however dear, are pale imitations.
4. Go to joyous formal occasions in real life - weddings, baby showers, that kind of thing. It helps offset the increased number of funerals.
5. Drink the good stuff. Try the blends. When we were younger we were purists - only grapes from a certain vintage, only singlemalt Scotch and all that. But you know what? Wine and whiskey blenders have centuries of craft experience making blends that taste good. Try 'em.
6. Evolve. When you're in your 40s, it's time to admit that your upcoming adventures will probably not center around your junk. Physically? sure. But your mind moves on and changes. Those pretty naked people you look at on the net? They're young enough to be your children. You've probably noticed this already, and it probably makes you a tiny bit uncomfortable. This takes some getting used to. Fortunately, you have a lot of other senses you've probably been neglecting while chasing girls/guys/farm animals/etc.
7. Evolve. Challenge a habit. Confront a fear. Do something not because it is easy or comfortable or familiar, but because it is hard. (Thank you JFK.) Change happens. It's going to continue to happen. But you can control some change. Cause some of it. Become stronger for it.
8. Make peace with your parents. No matter how screwed up your upbringing was (mine was fairly idyllic, all things considered) you've now had 20 years since your parents ran your life. Whoever you are now is as much your doing as theirs. Forgive. If you can, enjoy the time you have left with them.
9. Get your eyes checked. Presbyopia comes on fast, folks, and there's nothing more disheartening than feeling like you're going blind. Your eye doctor can do a test where they give you a reading distance with very small print, and throw a reading prescription on. If your reaction is "oh wow, that's so much better" it's time. Don't, however, let them give you a reading prescription too soon. (Why yes, I'm reading the screen from behind my first pair of progressive trifocals. OMFGWTFLOLCATS I can see better. It makes a huge difference.) By the way, optical technology has marched on. You don't have to wear windshields with lines in them.
10. See your doctor. Get one you trust. Scary things happen to your body, and most of them don't mean a damn thing other than "Hey, you're over 40 now." Skin tabs are not skin cancer. That soft fatty lump that showed up on your ribcage? Lipoma. A change in texture of your body fat. Doesn't mean anything. But yanno, we're not doctors, so you need a doctor you can talk to. Someone you'll believe when they say "No, that's completely normal for your age," or "Actually that is something to be concerned about, let's do some more tests." Either way, at least you can sleep instead of lying awake in medical-industry-induced panic. (Remember, the doctors on tv are selling something.)
It goes without saying that weird new moles, chest pains, erectile dysfunction, and things like that are definitely see your doctor moments. No, not doctor internet, a real doctor. ED, for example, has been described as a great dipstick for the condition of your circulatory system in general. Yanno, like your coronary arteries? Yeah. See your doctor.
11. If you are female and/or are in love with a middle aged female, you need to know about perimenopause. The mood swings, stress, lack of libido, sudden gusts of strong libido, dry skin, body shape changes and forty five other things that freak her and/or you the hell out? News flash. They may be normal, as a woman's reproductive career heads toward the finish line, even if she's still technically fertile. See also #10.
We're not taught anything about this next stage of life. That's why we don't know what the hell we're doing. Medical science doesn't know much about middle age. They study college students as the "norm" primarily, so how would they know? Also, when we're children and up through our twenties, physically we're much more alike than after 20 years of genetic expression, environmental related changes, and eating our own cooking.
There's mounting evidence, according to this article, that middle age is not the noticeable beginning of degeneration, but a developmental stage. Like puberty. It may well be that you're supposed to get grey hair, presbyopia, a paunch and back hair, and menopause for females so that, evolutionarily speaking, you can stop having more children and focus on raising the ones you already had who survived.
Be thankful for middle age. For most mammals, when your breeding life comes to a close, you die, leaving your last batch of young to die with you. Humans are different. We, along with elephants and some species of whales have a middle age. We have a time after childbearing, and before degeneration, from our forties into our sixties or so, maybe as much as seventy if you're lucky. I mean really, what else is there to do? The alternative - dying young - is worse.
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