Who Stole My Time?

As I write (as usual, the evening before the post goes live) it’s approaching the end of my 50th birthday, leaving me wondering where the hell the time went, and who stole it.

Inside, I’m definitely not getting old, despite the odd bit of silver in my hair and the aches and pains that come with the combination of too much me, not enough exercise (I’m trying to improve that), and my issues with resisting the pleas of delicious bad-for-me food sitting right there and crying out “Eat me! I’m wonderful! You’ll love it!”. Metaphorically, anyway. I’m not sure I could handle food that actually talked to me.

Seriously, my mental image is stuck somewhere in the mid-20s to mid-30s, with excursions back to late teens when I have an angsty fit (Yes, I was an angsty teen. It’s a good thing I grew up). Maturity? Oh, hell no.

Besides, there’s no way I’ve lived all those 50 years. There just isn’t. Everything has kind of blurred together and there’s suddenly this marker saying “thou art old” or something and I’m saying “Wait, whoa. Where did that come from and why is it talking to me?”

Actually, on second thoughts, I think I know where it’s got to. It’s taken off with my sanity and my brain, and they’re all having a threesome on a tropical island somewhere, drinking fancy drinks with umbrellas in them, and generally having a whole lot of fun. And they don’t even send post cards.

I have to wonder if getting old feels the same way for everyone, like someone’s played a dirty trick on you and slipped you a bunch of extra years you don’t feel like you really lived.


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49 responses to “Who Stole My Time?

  1. I keep wondering… wasn’t it just yesterday that we were joking about don’t trust anyone over 30… and I’m how old again? Nah, can’t be.

  2. Feel similar to me. And it’s jarring how I have this knowledge that is now of “antiquity” but isn’t to me. Also how I don’t feel like I’m really any smarter, wiser, etc. but wow are some people drowning in a sea of stupid.

    And I look in the mirror and see… well, not the attractive youth that ought to be serving those umbrella drinks, etc.

    • I see a couple replies seem to have vanished. And no notice. Now, I understand WP delenda est stuff. And I’d also understand, “Ox, shut up already.” but if it’s that, I’d kinda like to be told such.

      • paladin3001

        An ox of your temperament being told to be quiet? Perish the thought!
        Oh, and Moo! 🙂

        • I am Mostly Harmless…. but only mostly. As for what happens when all the safeties are off… actually, I’m not really sure any more. I hope there is no need to find out. It could be nasty. Or absurd. Or yes, yes.

        • Ox goof. MGC isn’t shedding comments. Ox forgot place he went all Columbo (“One more thing…”) was not MGC, but Cat Rotator’s Quarterly. Oops.

    • sam57l0

      Yes, Gerald VanderLeun WAS right. All our mirrors have been replaced with Chinese mirrors that make us LOOK old. Secretly, stealthily, in the night.

  3. paladin3001

    I feel your pain. Then again I tend to have a good idea where the time went.

  4. I feel as if culture and society hopped onto the interstate while I was reading the map. When I looked up, everything around me had shifted and while I recognize some basic land forms, the billboards and architecture and other vehicles look really, really different, and not always in a good way.

    • Sometimes I read the news and think we got invaded by Planet Asshole.


      The armed robber is going to sue the guy who took him down, for unnecessary roughness. I kid you not. And the f-ing paper printed it.

      • That made the morning radio show’s “News You Can Abuse” show today. *facepaw*

        • Since I carry a firearm, I have paid close attention to what passes for legitimate use of a weapon in a self-defense situation. It seems to be: “Use your firearm as long as they continue to behave toward you in a threatening fashion.” From the video, Robber Dude was still struggling down on the floor. Don’t want to be stabbed 17 times with the knife you brought in, so you could threaten others with it?
          Then STOP FIGHTING.
          “Sir, I do not wish you to stab me 17 times.”
          “How many times do you wish to be stabbed?”
          “Umm..maybe…four. How about four?”
          “Okay, then you need to make sure I know you aren’t trying to hurt me pretty quick!”

  5. Life is what slipped by when I was trying to be a Grown Up and Get Ahead.

    Lately, (since about age 55) I’ve discovered that was a pair of stupid notions and I don’t try so hard. People look at me funny, but then they always looked at me funny. No change there.

    Maybe when I hit 90 I’ll finally be a proper Grown Up. At 61 I’m still the same pouty teenager I was at 19. I just know when to duck a little better, and I’ve finally accepted that the normals are never going to stop looking at me funny. That’s just the way they are.

  6. I’d love to say I don’t feel my age, being 51, but after doing a bit of work on the roof, and having horrid arthritis, today I feel every year and then some. Where the 6 pack abs and 27 inch thighs go? They don’t even feel like they are there, under the blubber

  7. Mike Houst

    4 years ago I turned 55. My father died, after burying his wife 6 months earlier, and finally giving up the fight against metastasized lung cancer (he was a smoker.). At his funeral,I saw my brother, who looked like a bowling ball, and not the bowling pin I remembered. and my uncle, who’d already survived a couple of cancers, and looked like it. So I took a look at myself and didn’t like what I saw physically; lost muscle and strength, slower, back aching, joints aching, high blood pressure, 40 pounds overweight and creeping into the obese BMI range.

    So I started going to Weight Watchers meetings with my wife, to finally learn how to eat like an adult and not like a teenager. (After all, learning to eat like a teenager is the last way most of us learn to eat before we leave home and mom and dad. Nobody ever really taught us how to eat like adults.) read enough to understand dieting doesn’t work long term, and a new lifestyle way of eating was required. So it works for me, dropped half the excess, slowly, and working on the rest. Back and joints don’t hurt as much. Took up fencing and daily walking for exercise. Jerry Pournelle’s blog of frequently walking up the hills around his home were encouraging (at least until his stroke curtailed those.)

    The trouble is, exercise and retraining to eat take time. There’s only 24 hours in the day, I still have to work, still have to sleep, questioning constantly where can I shoehorn in the time for this. Ah, but an hour per day of moderate exercise is 365.24 hours, or 15.2 days of exercise per year. Latest research says that 20 minutes to 2 hours of moderate exercise each day can increase your life expectancy by 4.5 years, or 1643.6 days. So I figure that 1643 days of life gained at the expense of 15 days of exercise each year, it will take 108 years before the exercise stops benefiting with life extension. That works out to being a pretty good deal, since normal life expectancy for a U.S. male is about 78 years, and with another 4 and a half years that rises to 82, 83, years average, which is still way less than 108 years.

    And who knows? Being fitter and weighing less may mean I successfully dodge that truck while crossing the street.

    • It’s especially hard when disability makes aerobic exercise impossible. I maintain weight at great effort, and lose only by months of fasting (which isn’t much fun). I would LOVE to be able to do what you did – so enjoy the fruits of your labor – it drives me crazy when people who CAN change, don’t.

      • Dorothy Grant

        I am in awe at your willpower to fast. By the third day in, I get so brain-fuzzed that I have trouble remembering what street I’m on, much less where I was going, or why. (Which would be why I no longer drive for fasts of any duration!)

        • There is a vast difference between a protein-sparing modified fast and the usual fasting people do with juices or tea.

          Don’t try this unless you have medical supervision – potassium can get way out of whack. And other stuff.

          Protein replaces what your body needs to function, calories come out of fat storage. But you get NO carbs.

          I’m extra tired, which is a major problem for me, but otherwise okay.

      • Mike Houst

        Yeah, I can understand that. Calorie restriction only as a means of weight loss is probably the hardest way to go. I’ve seen about 5 to 10 percent of the WW folks try that route, and barely 1 in 10 of those have any success with it. Changing what you eat, while still enjoying what you eat, but taking in less calories, is hard, but beats starving.

    • sam57l0

      Congrats on taking up fencing. I did that some years ago, but had to give it up when the classes were cancelled.

    • Mary

      Can you get a standing desk? It doesn’t burn many more calories to stand than to sit — and you probably want to work up to it — but it doesn’t take additional time.

  8. I normally don’t feel any older than I ever did.

    • Carrington Dixon

      Exactly. I do not believe that our self-image ever catches up with the calendar. I know mine hasn’t. (I remember back in the 1960s, someone interviewed Igor Stravinsky and ask him how it felt to go from enfant terrible(/i> to grand old man. His reply was that he had not grown old; his contemporaries had — he could see that, but he himself had not. Nowadays I can truly relate to that observation.

  9. Chuck

    For me it’s all about panic. I get up every morning with more tasks than I can hope to accomplish and flail away until I fall over from exhaustion,
    Sleep and repeat.
    Keep busy and you will feel the pains and aches. Keep too busy and you have to power through it. (Panic releases Adrenalin don’t you know.)

    Signed: 18 year old trapped in an incredibly old and abused body.

  10. You did indeed live all those years. The richness of your writing and the sanity of your discussions here and elsewhere come only with the experience of decades. I’m 65, and whereas I’m bald and wore my feet out walking for exercise, I’m at the top of my game mentally and am lots saner than I was at 25. That said, there is a poorly recognized downer element to being this age, but it would take me a few hundred words to explain. Maybe another time.

    For now, happy birthday, and persevere. I celebrate the woman I read here. Please celebrate her with me!

  11. The years merge on the routine; year after year of the sameness of living. Where did the years go? They were devoured by the mundane.

  12. Happy birthday – you earned it.

  13. Happy Birthday, you young punk!

  14. Sleep is what’s making me notice that I passed forty a year ago, namely noticing the lack thereof.

    Used to be able to just stay up as late as possible in order to get work done, then get four or so hours of sleep, then catch up on the weekend by getting ten to twelve. Now? I stay awake but because I’m tired it’s hard to focus and I have to force it, and it’s nearly impossible to catch up on my sleep because even when my kids let me sleep on the weekend I seem to wake up after eight hours no matter how tired I still am. One thing I’ve found that works is switching to non-caffeinated drinks after four pm. I may still stay up just as late to get work done but at least I fall right asleep when I do go to bed instead of staring at the ceiling and thinking about the work I just did for an hour or so.


  15. I LOVED turning fifty. That was when I officially stopped trying to look like I cared what anybody else thought about me.
    I’m 64 now, and I bear on my body the marks of every one of those years, even the years I can’t remember. My gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, and I have safely attained crotchety status, any time we need it. We are sort of working on the ‘sweet old people’ goal now.
    Perfect day is the day you have.

  16. I have to wonder if getting old feels the same way for everyone, like someone’s played a dirty trick on you and slipped you a bunch of extra years you don’t feel like you really lived.

    Heh. Yep, that’s the feeling. Except I still felt pretty young at 50. Now that I’m 57, the joints are a lot creakier and bounce-back time after stress is noticeably longer. Can’t say I like it much!

  17. Happy (belated) birthday.

  18. A happy belated birthday.

    I don’t know – all of those years that I have lived (7 1/2 years your senior, Kate) are quite clear to me. What bothers me is all of these adults running around – and trying to figure out what happened to all the children. Blink – poof!

  19. Dorothy Grant

    Happy Birthday, Kate! It’s been a rough year, but a better one for having you here with us. Here’s hoping your next year is far better than the last!

  20. Mary

    Many happy returns of the day!

  21. Happy 1/2 century! Here’s to your impaling the unjust and noshing on pizza garnished with the tears of your foe for years to come.

  22. Ben Yalow

    And a belated happy half century birthday.

    And, from my older perspective, all I can say is that as long as you can keep doing things you want to, or feel you need to do, then it’s all worth it. But the years do begin to blend — was this at a Lunacon in 73 or 74; it’s harder to remember?