Thursday, September 15, 2005

Aging Gracefully

I got some good news yesterday. My editor, who is wonderful, glorious and a girl genius, gave me two extra weeks to work on my manuscript. To celebrate, I went out with some friends and drank one too many glasses of red wine.

This morning, I'm a tad hungover, which is why I've been staring at the same blinking cursor for the last fifteen minutes wondering if it's blinking a message to me in Morse Code. I didn't have that much wine, but the older I get, the harder it is for my body to process alcohol. This is also true of McDonald's french fries and anything chocolate.

I think when you get older, you just can't eat or drink as much as you used to. I think this would explain why at age 19, I could drink myself into a frat keg stupor, stay up all night and then go to the gym in the morning. It's also why at age 32, I have one glass of wine, and I just want to go to bed and sleep til 10.

My mom likes to tell me about the various stages of age-related decline. Her urgent missive to me is: Enjoy your twenties and your thirities, because it's all downhill from there. She's warned me that when I hit forty, I can expect four decades of gravity to take effect overnight. She says she went to sleep a pert 39-year-old and woke up a saggy, lumpy, wrinkled 40-year-old. "And just wait until you turn fifty," she likes to say (cue ominous music).

This is a tradition on my mom's side of the family. Her father likes to tell her what ages 60, 70 and 75 are like. "You don't know anything about sagging. Just wait until you turn 70 and you can't see the TV anymore because your eyelids are drooping," he'd say.

On a positive note, sociologists took a poll recently asking people (excluding my family members) what their favorite age is. The good news is that most people said close to whatever age they were. The favorite among women actually was 41, because most of the women polled were around that age. I take this as heartening news. It means that even though we had less cellulite, that most of us wouldn't want to go back to being 18.

I know I wouldn't. I wouldn't trade my slower metabolism for the hard-won lessons of the last fifteen years. To name a few:

1. Never drink on an empty stomach.
2. Always check your pockets before putting your jeans in the wash.
3. Frat parties are no place to meet boyfriends.
4. Never stare at yourself for longer than 15 seconds in a changing room mirror, especially if you're in your underwear or a swimsuit.
5. Jobs that suck away your will to live are not worth it. No matter how much they pay.

And guys - don't forget - if you donate at least $25 to the Red Cross for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and send me your donation receipts at before the end of September, you could win a signed copy of "I Do (But I Don't)." Just email me your donation receipts at I'll be picking winners on October 1.