Brenda Looper
Brenda Looper

Is anyone else exhausted, or it is just me?

This week we have the special session (planned to end today, but who knows?) on tax cuts and changes to the Freedom of Information Act (as far as I'm concerned, no on both, but a bazillion noes to the latter). Monday was the 22nd anniversary of 9/11, a day I still have nightmares remembering; in January, it had been 30 years since the bombing of the World Trade Center, which less than a decade later would be taken down by planes.

Then there are the things that just make you feel old: the 30th anniversary both of the launch of the public-domain worldwide Web, and of the premiere of "The X-Files" (which I still love; the episodes "Humbug" and "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" are favorites); the 40th anniversary of Sally Ride becoming the first woman and Guion S. Bluford the first African American in space.

Why am I older than these things? Is it not bad enough to see all the photos of friends' and former colleagues' children all grown up when I swear they were tiny babies just a few months ago?

On top of that, there are the usual parts of life that make you wish you could clone yourself and just take a nap.

Oh, a nap sounds soooo good right now. When I was in my teens and young adulthood, I couldn't understand how my parents could take naps in the afternoon and still get to sleep at night. I've been pretty much a lifelong insomniac. Naptime in kindergarten was usually spent not napping, even after putting my mat under a table to block some light; I might have closed my eyes, but I was usually thinking or telling myself stories.

I still can't nap most of the time unless I'm ill or I don't have to work the next day, but there are times, like the past few weeks, when I can feel myself dropping off. Most of the time I resist because all the Ambien and melatonin in the world won't help me some nights.

But that's not the only indignity of aging. There's reading glasses, of which I have multiple pairs in the office (at home just one or two pairs), plus a magnifying glass on a chain and a magnifying card in my purse. Since the pandemic we've been doing page proofs electronically, which is preferable for me because I don't need to store paper proofs. Plus, on my iPad I can blow up the text on proofs to make it easier to read, especially when I'm tired and my eyes are blurry.

My knees are weather indicators (especially since one, in an accident in college, smacked into the dash of my car as it slammed into a tree), as is my right shoulder (my right proximal humerus was shattered on a birthday and now has a titanium plate and screws in it). For that matter, my sinus passages let me know when the barometric pressure is unstable. Plus, if I move the wrong way and/or too quickly, I may be laid out for days.

Memory loss isn't new to me since my 2015 stroke (my short-term memory is hit and miss sometimes, but my long-term memory is good), and I've been forgetting why I walked in a room for decades, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time before I'll be telling the same story again to friends and family who've heard it over and over while they keep a polite look on their faces because they don't want to upset the old broad.

And gray hair? That started coming in when I was in my 20s (like my mom), but until fairly recently had not been very noticeable since I've always had a little blonde in my hair. Now it's coming in heavier and more frequently, but because my mom and grandma's hair was an odd salt-and-pepper almost to the end, I've decided not to let it go natural just yet. A cut and color with ashy highlights every six months or so works well enough to keep it not looking so obvious that I'm not a young 'un (as if anyone would really make that mistake, especially since I just said "young 'un").

On the other hand, as a Gen-Xer, I'm not a complete codger (kids, ask your parents what that is).

I still listen to current music (though not as much since I had to replace my car; with discounted Sirius XM, you'd best believe I'm milking the Broadway channel for all it's worth till I have to cancel next year). Still, if "500 Miles," "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," "White Wedding" or any of thousands of "my jams" comes on in a restaurant, it's hard to resist singing and embarrassing everyone at the table. If they're not also singing, that is.

I'm not afraid of the Internet, nor am I enamored of it to the point I have to spend all my time online. I have my favorite sites that I go to time and again, but I'm also willing to try new things, including disconnecting. Hey, I lasted through childhood and most of college without it; I can definitely go a day or two without signing in to social media.

And I still giggle when I find a great word or several, either on my own or through a friend, that makes me remember why I fell in love with the English language, reading and writing at an early age.

Yeah, I was a nerd then, and I still am. What of it?

Assistant Editor Brenda Looper is editor of the Voices page. Email her at blooper@adgnewsroom.com. Read her blog at blooper0223.wordpress.com.

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