Locust? Famine? Floods? You wish. Nope. The Aging Apocalypse is not the end of the world, just the end of your youth. And not just the gray hair, reading glasses, and overall crotchety demeanor you’ve been expecting. It’s far more nuanced. And, oh, it’s happening. The signs are there. I’ve been side eyeing them with a growing sense of helplessness that I’m powerless to stop my impending irrelevance.

#1. Birds
Sad to say, it starts with birds. And not Alfred Hitchcock birds. That’s too cool and cinematically interesting. Rather, just the average birds in your yard. At first you notice a red bird or a blue bird and think, “well, isn’t that pretty.” As the aging takes hold, you don’t even need it to be a brightly colored rare bird. Those blah looking ones will do.

You are now pointing out birds to your kids because you’ve lost all sense of reality about what young people are interested in. Hint: It’s not birds. I’m pretty sure that every time you genuinely admire a bird, you get a wrinkle.

#2. Ferris Bueller
The moment you realize Ferris Bueller is a total asshole, your Aging Apocalypse is nigh. It will surprise you as you watch this movie you loved as a kid and realize that, holy hell, Ferris isn’t seizing the day, he’s a self-involved narcissist. He’s a bad friend, a jerky brother, and a lying and manipulative child. His smug confidence makes you want to smack him in the head. You will only identify with one character. Yup. The principal.

You know you are the principal. You have lame clothes and a job that has left a you a shell of a person who is randomly angry. You are rooting for him to catch Ferris and restore justice to the world and there’s nothing you can do to pretend this is not happening. People our age who claim to still like Ferris? Kidding themselves. No judgment. The Aging Apocalypse will bring you to a desperate place.

#3. Traffic
One of the strongest signs of the Aging Apocalypse is when you become consumed with all things traffic related. You finally understand why your parents packed up in the middle of fireworks display you waited all evening…nay…all day, to watch. They knew that there would be no getting out that parking lot. Parking jamSo, you did what most kids did in the 70s did, you watched the finale from the inside of the car vowing you’d never, ever be like your stupid uptight parents.

Welp. So much for that. You’re them. From concerts to sporting events to fireworks displays, you are constantly mentally graphing and charting the ratio of enjoying yourself in the moment, to the price you are willing to pay sitting helplessly trapped in your car inching forward intermittently, hating every goddamn person who doesn’t get the “you, go, then I go,” code of honor in high volume traffic situations. Spoiler Alert: What wins out every time is your new life goal…being in your own bed.

#4. Your Basement
Remember all that crap your parents had in their basement? You smugly thought you’d never amass that much stuff, until one sorry day you realize you have. Your basement is a graveyard of old furniture. Bins and bins of holiday decorations. Upwards of 100 paint cans you are sure are multiplying like Gremlins. Most of them some variation of gray. Peanut butter jars full of nails, screws, wooden pegs. Why are you saving wooden pegs? No one know. No. One. Knows.

What’s happening in your basement is a battle for your very youth. You will fight this, unsuccessfully. What starts out as your vow to take back your basement and somehow not be a pathetic caricature of middle aged parents, ends up in a whimper of defeat with you slinking quietly out of the basement opting for sweet, sweet death to mercifully save you from this hell. It’s your kids’ problem now…and they totally have it coming.

#5. Celebrities
Here’s the deal. I don’t know who the fuck anyone is anymore. You don’t either. The tabloids and red carpet fashion show is just a collection of pretty strangers you vaguely recognize. Like…I think that might be one of those Chrises, You’ll pull up IMDB on your phone…in your browser. When it asks if you want to open the app, you mutter “don’t tell me what to do” and stick with the browser.

And the stars you grew up with? Unrecognizable from aging or savage plastic surgery that makes you, momentarily, happy you can’t afford it. Still, the Botox whispers seductively because if that is Michael Douglas, what hope is there for the rest of us?

#6. A Weekend in Asheville, NC
One day you will be looking for a weekend family trip and you’ll stumble on a town like Asheville, North Carolina. It’s nestled in the foothill of some mountains with a “cool” artistic vibe. You’ll start to mention things to do to your teenage kids who will be rightfully horrified. You hear yourself talking up glassblowing, pottery class, and live jazz brunches. You’ll say the words “artist colony” out loud and instantly you’ll look down and be wearing pleated khakis, Chico’s sweater, and rocking Amber Vision. Succumb.

#7. Bath Towels
Remember your parents’ towels? We had brown towels. Brown. In the 70s all color palettes were sensibly determined by the color of dirt, which you now get. We had them from my first memory until I left for college. They were torn, frayed, bleach stained, disturbingly thin, but most upsetting? They smelled like years of must. We’d be different right? Once we found out that for $7.99 you could get a new towel at TJ Maxx, there was no way we’d ever have old, worn-out, smelly towels.

What the Aging Apocalypse teaches you is that it was never about the cost of the towels. It was the complete and utter ceasing of giving a shit due to the endless exhaustion of parenting and adulting. Although you’ll replace them over the years, eventually, you will numbly fold a ripped, bleach destroyed, stained towel that has a bit of a funk and put it in the linen closet without so much as noticing or caring in the least. That’s when the Apocalypse is upon you.

Is There Any Hope?
Like all prophetic doom, there’s not much you can do to stop the Aging Apocalypse. You’re getting close to the kind of aging that will make you long for the days of being middle aged. The scales have been tipped…and, let’s face it, you are careening toward plain old, old. If you don’t believe me, why do you have a collection of spare buttons? Why do you fall asleep watching TV at 9pm, your head bobbing nearly off your neck? Why can’t you digest onions? Why are podcasts your primary form of entertainment? Why are you cold?

You’re a cautionary tale now of the inevitable march toward irrelevance and invisibility. But, all is not lost. I hear the glassblowing in Asheville is AMAZING! Fuck yeah it is.

Share this sucker and then…Follow me on Facebook for more of my thoughts on life, parenting, marriage, and the joy of being middle aged! ? Instagram! And for some other fun reads, check out my Viral Blogs!

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  1. This was hysterical, yet might have made me more depressed than before I read it because I now realize I am not only old but a freak ! Why you ask? Birds: Love them now , yet, have loved them since I was a wee lass …WTF ??? Ferris Bueller : Hated it then, hate it now …also WTF ? Traffic: Also worst nightmare but not a new thing. The stories of people being stuck on a bridge for five hours without nary a drop of water or a little nosh….scares the bejesus out of me, I would end it right then and there and just jump off the dang bridge ! Basement: My basement is more like a catacomb. Mostly started with old furniture that I thought, “Oh hey I ‘ll give it to the kids one day when they have their first apartment”, so goes the old toaster , coffee pot, random oriental rug, etc, etc……. Problem with this theory is they don’t seem to be moving out ! Towels: I might be slightly more hip than you because my towels are grey not brown, but same basic principal applies. Hides multitude of sins. I also do replace said towels from time to time, YET save the old ones ( store in catacomb of course !) because, you know, the kids might need them one day too …because after we spent 250K on each of their college educations they aren’t going to be able to afford to go buy new towels, right ??? OY VEY ….Maybe I ‘m really saving for me because after all that tuition I can’t afford to go buy any new towels, or take that trip to charming Asheville and become a glass blower ! Ugh……see the dilemma ? Old and crazy ! all “kidding ” aside….. I love your blog…..xo

    1. This totally made my day! Thanks for taking the time. And thanks for reading. I’m with you on the college tuition, by the way. New towels will have to wait!

  2. Okay, I started laughing so hard I cried, just after reading the Birds part, and now my newly acquired “reading glasses@ s are all fogged up. Thanks for being so relatable!!! And for making my day!

  3. Stop making me laugh out loud at work – I’m going to get in trouble despite being older than most everyone here…

  4. You hit the nail on the head with this one! I always love reading your blogs. And I realized I’m not the only one to be pointing out the birds! Along with all the celebrities we no longer know, throw in the Saturday Night Live musicians – I seriously know NO ONE anymore.

  5. omg laughing out loud!! Getting together with my college room mates for a weekend soon, sharing this with them before we meet up.

  6. All too true! So funny and I passed it on to my childhood girlfriends in MN as we are all turning 50 this year and they are currently stuck indoors braving the Polar Vortex with -27 degree weather so the perfect reading material to get a good chuckle. Oh…and I’m talking about the weather so another sign of getting older! xo

    1. Thanks for passing it along. I was out in Minnesota last summer visiting friends in St.Paul and Minneapolis. Beautiful place…in the summer 😉

  7. I am *dying*! You are so funny! Just had my 50th yesterday (party canceled because of three sick teenagers/young adult). This past weekend we were planning a spring break trip to… Asheville, NC! Husband’s birthday gift … glass blowing! 🙂 When I met my husband and slept over at his family’s home for the first couple of times, I swear they had three nasty, old towels in the entire house for a family of 5! We used to laugh/commiserate about it. So we bought them beautiful new towels for gifts for a few occasions which somehow always ended up disappearing! So my Aging Apocalypse includes a towel and washcloth buying obsession! The funniest thing is we watched Ferris Bueller with the kids and the *kids* were like, “he’s kind of a douche.” Saw some celebrity on a People magazine recently and was like, “Who the hell is that?” Oh, you forgot #8 Paper Towels. Which of course is saving a paper towel on the counter until it is ‘completely used.’

    1. Erica….oh my gosh, I thought my husband was the only one that did that with paper towels! Hahaha. I find myself looking for his “partially” used paper towels before I go for a new one ?

    2. You have to be kidding, turning 50 is piece of cake! My son just turned 60 ( not handling it real well) and daughter will be 58 in January. Well just let me say enjoy 50 and you have gotten some sense. Love the post though.
      Must sign on for more.
      Love the Ferris Bueller comments.

  8. Thank goodness I’m not as old as you. For example, no tin of buttons.

    On a high note, when your parasites move into apartments you have a place to put your discarded furniture and shitty spatulas you don’t like but won’t throw away. Tell them if they want new they have to buy it themselves. SET NO PRECEDENT.

    ?, ~T

  9. My husband and I are in our mid 50’s. We watch tons of college sports and have gone from the athletes being our peers to us saying we could be old enough to be their parents. Recently I pointed out to my husband that we could be grandparents to these young, student athletes (even some professionals). That really made us feel ancient!! Also, not only is the basement full of treasures, so is the garage! I tell the kids (ages 19,21,23 – haha kids!) that someday this will all be theirs! They are stoked (a word only old people use to try and sound youngish)!

  10. Meredith,

    As I sit by the fire warming my ever-cold bones, I’m laughing so hard I could pee my pants (another aging curse!). When you’re right, you’re right. Please, don’t ever stop making me laugh – it’s one thing that never gets old.


      1. Loved the post. Everything applies to me at age 50, but I just bought new towels, and I don’t have a basement. (I live in Toronto, but my family reunion is in…Asheville, NC every two years.)

  11. This list made me seriously lol. The towels is what was the cherry on top. You get your first place, and buy new towels. You buy another home, and go get towels that match the color scheme. The next thing you know, your kid has wiped his benzoyl peroxide-ladened hands all over his bath’s hand towels, bleaching the crap out of them, and you are still rocking the towels from first place (that you described perfectly ?). You finally succumb to letting the fam use the “good towels” and donated the first sets to the local dog shelter. Rex and Bella don’t mind ?

  12. So as I sit here going through my camera chip of about 1000 photos I came across… Glass blowing … I stopped to look. It always called to me and I never stopped even though I had taken the same road many days for many years. I saved the pics because I thought, until this moment, that I would share the fabulous art with my daughter and her friends. Nope, not going to, I am going out for new towels, and calling 1-800- GOT-JUNK to unload the legos that have been molding away in our basement for 20 years, along with my now deceased parents Christmas lights. The BIG ones.

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