37 Things I Don’t Know How to Do Despite Being 37 Years Old. So Stop Calling Me Ma’am Already.

January 27, 2013
You guys, I turned thirty-seven this week.

I know, right?

Who thought that was ever going to happen?

I mean, seriously, you guys, given my life choices, I should really be lying in a ditch by now. Or, at the very least, missing a few limbs. And a whole lot of teeth.

I can’t really say I feel much older.

Okay, maybe I feel a little older.

But that’s only because people keep on calling me ma’am.

By the way, people, YOU NEED TO STOP CALLING ME MA’AM.

I feel “ma’am” is one of those words that should only be used to address adult people.

And, I am not one of those people, I assure you.

After all, adult people know how to do adult people stuff! I don’t know how to do any of that stuff, you guys!

And to prove it to you, I came up with this list:

37 Things I Don’t Know How to Do Despite Being 37 Years Old. So Stop Calling me Ma’am Already.
1. How to tell my left from my right without doing that thing where you make an “L” with the fingers on your left hand.

I’m not even kidding, you guys.

2. How to tell which direction I’m heading in. Literally. And figuratively. But, mostly, literally.


I hate it when people are like, “Oh, walk north on such-and-such road, and then turn west.”

How am I supposed to know which direction north is?

I am not a human compass, you guys.

3. How to stop eating all the free nachos at Mexican restaurants.


You guys.



There is nothing I don’t love about those two words.

And, together, they are like magic – MAGIC I CANNOT STOP EATING.

4. How to stop eating all the food on my plate.

Yeah, so I just ate a pile of free nachos the size of most Mexican villages.

What of it?

That doesn’t mean I’m not going to eat every single morsel of my un-free, un-nacho meal I just ordered. Even though I know I’m going to be totally sick afterwards. And I know I could just take it home and enjoy it later.

Because, hey, who can think about later?

I’m too busy eating all the food right now.

5. How to dance.

Like an actual dance that is recognized by the world. And not by the world that exists in my head.

6. How to tip the people who work at fancy hotels.
Ooo, fahncy.

Ooo, fahncy.

It’s a good thing I can’t afford fancy hotels very often because I have no idea how to do that thing were you discretely slip money to the guy who carried your bags or hailed your cab.

The last time I stayed some place nice and the doorman hailed me a taxi, I ended up shaking the guy’s hand. But not with the hand that had all the money in it. And then I hopped into the cab with a handful of money that I forgot to give him.

7. How to pack without totally overpacking.

Or underpacking.

Or both.


Yeah, this was too much. And not enough. At the same time.

There is always that one sweater that I totally didn’t need and I never wear.  And never enough underwear.


8. How to act after getting in a car accident.

I got into an itty bitty car accident this weekend.

It was a little bit my fault but not entirely.

Either way I probably shouldn’t have hopped out of the car and instantly started apologizing.

But that’s exactly what I did.

I was also supposed to take pictures and call the police and get all of the other driver’s insurance information.

Did I do any of that?

Not exactly.

But I did have a nice chat with the man, shake his hand and tell him to have a nice day. Because, apparently, manners are the only life skills I ever learned.

9. How to change a flat tire.

I should probably learn how to do this.

10. How to parallel park. Or back up a car without running into stuff. And removing a rearview mirror or two.

I should probably also learn how to do this. Or just, you know, stop driving cars.

11. How to cook really anything besides spinach artichoke dip.
As good as it looks. And better.

As good as it looks. And better.

But, really, when you make a dip this good, who needs to know how to make other stuff?

12. How to talk to someone I super, duper admire. Especially someone who is kind of famous.

I always end up saying something that reveals I know way too much about that person. Like, all the names of their cats. Ever.

There's Chaplin and Margaret...

How are Chaplin and Eddie doing, anyway?

And I break out into hives.

Which is exactly what every famous person wants – a rashy, stalkery person prattling on about cats.

13. How to flirt.

I dominate the conversation and tell embarrassing stories about my childhood. Like, about the time my mom sold my pony.

And my voice gets all screechy.

And I break out into hives.

Which is exactly what every guy wants – a rashy, screechy girl prattling on about ponies.

14. How to stop breaking out into hives.

Maybe there’s some kind of cream I could get? Or a full-body skin transplant?

15. How to turn someone down without totally lying and making up some contagious disease.
This has been fun. But about next time? I have this contagious disease, see...

This has been fun. But about next time? I have this contagious disease, see…

Or I wuss out and refuse to answer my phone for two months until they stop calling me.

 16. How to break up with someone in a socially acceptable manner.

That doesn’t involve me leaving them at a truckstop. Or giving them a poem I wrote about our relationship and then handing it to them as I walk out the door.

Not that I’ve ever done those things.

Okay, I totally have done those things.

And it makes it so awkward when you run into them a year or so later.

Trust me on this.

17. How to react in the case of natural disaster.

I can never remember what you’re supposed to do in the case of each disaster. Like, am I supposed to go outside in the case of an earthquake? Or go to the basement? And what about hurricanes? And electrical storms? And locust plagues?

And, frankly, it probably doesn’t even matter because I’m also totally clueless when it comes to recognizing what is and what is not a natural disaster.

The few times I experienced earthquakes in Japan, I didn’t even know they were earthquakes. I just thought there was some really crazy construction going on in my apartment building.

18. How to react in the case of a not-so-natural disaster.
Ahh! Bao Dong! I think that means Zombie Attack.

Ahh! Bao Dong! I think that means Zombie Attack.

Plane crash? House fire? Zombie invasion?

I will be the person screaming and flailing and running directly towards the zombie. You can count on it.

19. How to swim in deep water.

Unless simultaneous doggy paddling and hyperventilating count as “swimming.”

20. How to do a push-up.

Or a pull-up.

Or really anything that requires my moving my body in an upward motion.

21. How to kick butt.

I’ve always wanted to take a self-defense class, so I could learn how to kick some butt if need be.

But, so far, the closest I’ve come is this cardio kickboxing class that I took at the gym once.

I have a feeling learning to punch to the beat of 90’s boy-band music is really not going to help me out should I ever need to defend myself physically. Unless, of course, there’s some Backstreet Boys songs playing in the background.

22. How to do the cheek-kiss thing.

It doesn’t matter that I lived in Brazil for a year where this is just what you do when you greet people. I still get it wrong.


I never know what direction the person is going in. And if I should actually kiss them on the cheek or do the air-kiss thing. And how many kisses there are going to be before it’s all over.

Which usually means I end up head-butting the person or licking their cheek.

Either way: awkward.

23. How to wear lipstick.

The closest I’ve come is lip gloss.

Because, seriously, I’m a fourteen-year-old girl.

24. How to do mascara.

Without making it clump all around my eyes and become all smeary in five seconds.

25. How to dye my hair without totally squirting chemicals into my eyes or missing a spot.

Or, umm, all the spots, so that my hair ends up looking exactly the same after I’ve finished.

26. How to select produce.


I play the game.

I peel back the husk on the corncob like everyone else.

I man-handle the mangoes.

I poke at all the peaches before I buy one.

But I have no idea what I’m looking for.

Rotten spots? Insects? Fairy godmothers tucked inside each fruit?

No idea.

27. How to stop myself from crying.

When I feel like I’m going to cry, there’s really nothing I can do to stop it.

Even when I’m in public and I know it’s going to make people feel awkward.

And even when I don’t have anything to cry over. Maybe I’m just tired. Or overwhelmed. Or haven’t had my required six meals a day. Or maybe it’s just a particularly touching episode of Masterchef.  (What? Don’t tell me you didn’t cry when the blind girl won.)

28. How to not start crying when someone else is crying.

I’m a sympathy crier.

If I see someone else cry or about to cry, I will totally start crying myself. Even if they’re crying about something that is totally unrelated to me. And they’re speaking in a foreign language I don’t understand.

It’s like when someone starts yawning, and then you start yawning.

Except with crying.

29. How to tell the people in my life I love them.


To all my family and friends who might be reading this post, I love you.

There. I said it.

Just don’t expect me to say it in real life. Because it will probably result in me breaking out in hives, crying and giving you a poem I wrote about my love for you.

I think we can all agree that nobody wants that.

30. How to not interrupt someone.

Especially when I have something to say that kind of relates to what they’re saying, and I want to tell them right now because I know I will forget about it in five seconds, but they’re still talking, and why won’t they stop talking already?

31. How to not take criticism personally.

I’m working on this one, guys.

I really am.

But it’s hard.

Every time someone says something critical about me or my work, the first thing I think is, “Everyone hates me, and I totally suck.”

Followed by: “I need ice cream.”

32. How to manage my time. And not get distracted by all of the Internet.

I’m also really trying to work on this one.

I even bought a big huge calendar last weekend to write down all the stuff I was going to do that was not the Internet.


And then I spent approximately a billion hours on the Internet.

33. How to not buy all the stuff.

Especially when all the stuff is shiny and pretty and can fit around my massive man-calves.

Ooo, shiny, man-calf boots!

Ooo, shiny, pretty, man-calf boots!

34. How to remember useful stuff like people’s names and birthdays.

Instead of stuff like the names of all their cats.

And, Blackie and Buster and Petunia and Blackie II...

And, Blackie and Buster and Petunia and Chester and Big Boy….

35. How to save someone’s life

I don’t know how to do CPR.

I don’t know how to do the Heimlich maneuver. (Heck, until I Google searched it right now, I didn’t even know how to spell Heimlich maneuver. Probably because I always thought it was the “Heimlich remover.”)

And the only thing I know about making a tourniquet, I learned from watching that movie 127 Hours. Which I watched almost entirely with my face jammed into a pillow because I was screaming so loud.

36. How to get to the point already.

I tend to be a bit long-winded.

And then usually about halfway through whatever I’m talking about, I forget what I’m talking about and just go on a tangent about cats.

And, Anne-Margaret and Fluffy and Elmo and Rebecca...

And, Anne-Margaret and Fluffy and Elmo and Blackie II…

Maybe you’ve noticed?

37. How to make a decision without hemming and hawing for a billion years. And then doubting myself immediately afterwards.

Yeah, so I’m already thinking that maybe telling you that thing about breaking up via poem was kind of a bad idea.

Can we all just forget that ever happened?

Lord knows I’ve been trying to.

What adult person things do you not know how to do despite being an adult person? And can we all agree that the people need to stop calling me “ma’am”?
P.S. Didn’t buy me a birthday present and feeling really bad about it? You still have time to nominate this blog for a Bloggie in a category of your choosing! Nominating closes tonight (Sunday, January 27) at 10 PM EDT. 

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On January 27, 2013 at 2:20 pm Deedee said:

    I’m going to be 42 years old this year, and I’ve yet to change my own tire. Don’t sweat that one, for real. That’s what AAA is for.
    Deedee recently posted..Lots of Lemonade

  2. On January 27, 2013 at 2:23 pm Laura said:

    I relate to wayyy too many of these, but ugh, that kissing one is the worst! This is how I ended up kissing my ex-boyfriend’s dad on the lips when we first met. Awkward moment for everyone, right there.

  3. On January 27, 2013 at 2:35 pm Marta said:


    I’m having my 25th birthday TOMORROW. Argh. I still don’t know how to tell my left from my right. The difference is that in our super catholic country kids are being taught that the left in NOT the one that you’re crossing yourself with.

    I still don’t have my driving licence and due to the new regulations only 15-25% of people pass the theoretic driving exam. I should buy myself a horse. Or a pony.

    And I wish I knew more about boring but important stuff like politics or economy.

    And knew how to create a super duper blog template.

    Or knew how to shorten jeans or how to sew in general. My grandma is a tailor, my mom can sew like no one else.

    But time management, money spending and taking things personally, oh my, it’s like I’m reading about myself!

    • On January 27, 2013 at 2:38 pm Marta said:

      Oh noooo I wasn’t even second! And I have a potato avatar this time. Very Polish, indeed.
      Marta recently posted..Task sixteen: Close my studies

    • On January 27, 2013 at 8:29 pm Sally said:

      I cannot hem pants to save my life! I know how to sew simple stuff like buttons and small holes, but I don’t trust myself with hems. And my pants are always too short because I have super stumpy legs. So either I need to have my mom do it (difficult when we’re not in the same continent) or I walk around with my cuffs dragging.

  4. On January 27, 2013 at 2:43 pm Stephanie said:

    I do the L thing with my hand too. If I ever become a hand amputee I’m 100% screwed.

    Happy Birthday!

  5. On January 27, 2013 at 3:04 pm Jess said:

    Happy birthday, Ma’am! Sorry, couldn’t resist. I also tend to remember my acquaintances/neighbors/friend’s relatives by the names of their cats.

  6. On January 27, 2013 at 3:17 pm the life pursuit said:

    This is me. Actually and entirely me. Except I can put on lipstick (ish). And when I veer off onto a tangent, it’s rarely cat related.

    I had sorta kinda hoped that by the time I hit 37 I would have magically developed the capacity to change a tyre while air-kissing strangers, breaking up with a guy in dignified fashion and simultaneously turning down free food? No?

    Oh dear.
    the life pursuit recently posted..This country is, like, big.

    • On January 27, 2013 at 8:24 pm Sally said:

      Well, I’m not going to say that it won’t happen for you. Just depends on how much time you have. Some life skills take longer to develop than others. Air-kissing seems pretty easy. But turning down free food? That could take years to figure out how to do.

      • On January 29, 2013 at 2:56 pm the life pursuit said:

        Yeah. You would think air-kissing would be easy.

        But then you have to factor in the whole ‘how many kisses am I supposed to be doing?’ thing. One? Two? Three always really confuses me. And frankly four is just taking the piss.

        So I have a worrying tendency to panic and end up kissing someone’s ear while also trying to hug them instead of kissing, and then I blush.

        It’s going to take me way past 37 to get my head around that…
        the life pursuit recently posted..This country is, like, big.

        • On January 30, 2013 at 8:00 am Sally said:

          I think you should really come to an agreement beforehand. Like, maybe even have a conversation. Or a written contract. “I hereby agree to be cheek-kissed no more than three times starting with the left cheek.” That’ll clear everything right up!

  7. On January 27, 2013 at 3:21 pm Craig Bottomley said:

    Turns out I don’t know how to nominate someone for a bloggie, but I believe in self-improvement.

  8. On January 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm The Guy said:

    Heimlich remover had me in hysterics. Classic.

    Many happy returns Sally, forever young. Some great articles there and remembering cats names is VERY important, just ask my fiancee.

    Does the fact that I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award http://tinyurl.com/bfq8qe7
    exceed any Bloggie?
    The Guy recently posted..The Magic Of Melbourne – Olympic Boulevard

  9. On January 27, 2013 at 4:40 pm Tia said:

    Happy Birthday! Don’t feel too bad, I think there’s a lot more of us out there than we’d care to admit. 🙂

    I’m 42, apparently, or possibly 28. It’s a toss-up. Wow, I’m with you on a ton of these! Sympathy crier, yup. Crier for no reason, yup yup.

    For me, I guess I’m a product of exposure, or lack thereof. I’m a city girl, with most of my life living in those turn of the century walk-ups or South American countries. Not suburbia.

    So I’m not good with fancy home appliances, like dishwashers. I don’t understand complicated home thermostat thingies. I’ve never owned a car, so I’m no good with changing tires, or even understanding people’s stress about the maintenance of their cars. Oh, and I have a carpet phobia, but I’m good with natural disasters!

    • On January 27, 2013 at 8:17 pm Sally said:

      I really wish I didn’t have to deal with a car. Unfortunately, public transportation in Buffalo is pretty non-existent. Especially out where my family lives. Luckily, my dad’s pretty handy when it comes to car repairs, so I usually just whine to him about any problems I have. But if I move anywhere far from my parents, I’m going to have to either take up biking or live somewhere where they actually have a metro.

  10. On January 27, 2013 at 7:18 pm Maria said:

    #13 is my favorite. This year try saying the things to him you’d like to hear. No scratch that you’ll end up telling him he has great shoes or asking where he got his wallet.

    The right guy will find your pony stories adorable.
    Maria recently posted..Dinner with Bill

    • On January 27, 2013 at 8:09 pm Sally said:

      I also have a pretty good story about my pet duck. I dream of one day pulling that out in a bar and having the guy totally fall in love with me because of it. A girl can dream, right?

  11. On January 27, 2013 at 7:44 pm Josh @ I Ran So Far Away said:

    As a fellow 37 year old, I’m no better on these than you. Can anybody explain the kissing thing as I’m getting ready for a summer in Europe? I’ve messed that one up so many different ways.
    Josh @ I Ran So Far Away recently posted..A Toblerone for Breakfast or: Why You Should Plan Ahead if You’re in Europe on Sunday

  12. On January 27, 2013 at 8:15 pm James said:

    I’m turning 40 in a couple of months. I can’t believe it. I’ll forever be 25 in my head. And when I’m like the oldest person in a group of people, I’ll be like: WHO is supposed to be the adult here! There’s NO ADULT SUPERVISION! Aaaack. I feel like I should be saving up for retirement. Or having children. Instead of traveling and taking on fun but irresponsible jobs.
    James recently posted..Travel Photo Roulette Awards Show

  13. On January 27, 2013 at 8:40 pm ChinaMatt said:

    There’s plenty that I’m still learning to do. Problem is I keep forgetting things when I learn something new. Or maybe I just forget everything.
    ChinaMatt recently posted..Frigid Return

    • On January 28, 2013 at 7:43 am Sally said:

      Hmm… that might be a sign you’re getting a little TOO old. Don’t be alarmed when everyone starts calling you “ma’am” too. Even though you’re a guy.

  14. On January 27, 2013 at 9:21 pm Uncle Ed said:

    I have a freckle on my left arm for resolving the letter d from b, left from right, used it for years. The suck-up gene is harder to overcome as is the “interrupt conversations” gene, some sort of weird timing fluff, I will never have the right timing for talking to any other human beings, no idea why. I had a close friend, former? CIA operative and tech teacher lock me firmly out of a conversation and make a bet concerning what would happen if he openly criticized me. The suck-up gene took over, he won the bet, big time, ugh!! Swimming I might help with, hands flat with your tummy, lay on back, extend arms, turn hands at right angles, push water toward your feet but mostly parallel to water surface, repeat. You are now jet propelled and you can sail like that for hours 🙂 Your naturally curly hair and desire for cheesy foods will actually help!

    As for the need to analyze transactions, I will give you an A+ and a gold star for that but with the caveat, your aunt, a descendent of some Mayflower guy (now there is a solid decision) has forbidden me from ever post analyzing purchases, sales, field trip navigations, church decisions, book editing, etc., etc. But the insights are priceless 🙂

  15. On January 27, 2013 at 11:04 pm Priya said:

    OK, I must have turned 37, too. Because girl, I don’t know how do any of these things either. I don’t know my north from my west, I can’t parallel park, flirt, or swim. You are like an older version of me, Sally. Only one of us may have a tighter grip on reality. Not sure which one.
    Priya recently posted..World Domination, Boy Bands, Mariah On Idol, Feeding Myself, And I Don’t Even Know What This Post Is About Anymore

  16. On January 28, 2013 at 12:35 am cosmoHallitan said:

    I do the b and d thing with my hands at dinner to make sure I’m using the right bread plate and drink glass. You’d think after 35 years I’d have figured it out by now, but no. My husband still laughs at me when he sees me doing it under the table.

    PS – I love that you left someone at a truck stop. Bet they totally deserved it.
    cosmoHallitan recently posted..Belgian Beer and Chinese Deer Wine at Jackie’s Beer Nest

    • On January 28, 2013 at 7:41 am Sally said:

      I don’t even know what this b and d thing is! I think I’m going to need to Google search it as I am always grabbing the wrong water glass and bread plate.

      PS — Yes, yes, they did. 🙂

  17. On January 28, 2013 at 2:06 am Sediqa said:

    “How to do the cheek-kiss thing.” Me too. I accidentally ended up kicking a girl on her neck. She was completely weirded out. Thought I was hitting on her.

    Also happy birthday!
    Sediqa recently posted..Replacement kitty

  18. On January 28, 2013 at 6:01 am Layla said:

    I never learned to peel an orange 😀

  19. On January 28, 2013 at 7:35 am Liz T said:

    I changed my own tire on Saturday! Not to brag. Wait, yes, totally to brag. 🙂 But I can’t do most of that other stuff, and I’m older.

  20. On January 28, 2013 at 8:03 am Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) said:

    The first time someone called me ma’am, I was 22-years-old and had just moved to the South. I was pretty sure in that instance I would hate living there. That kind of shit does not happen up in Canada! 😉
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..And Now for Some Culture…

    • On January 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm Sally said:

      22? Yeah, that’s totally jumping the gun. I think nobody should be allowed to call you ma’am until you’re at least 50. And, even then, you should have to sign some kind of written consent form telling people it’s okay to call you it.

  21. On January 28, 2013 at 9:52 am cartonmilk said:

    Ohh~ nice lists there~ but u sure HAVE to learn at least one of those u noted in the list after this. You still got whole life to learn those though 😛
    cartonmilk recently posted..Nagging Child

  22. On January 28, 2013 at 10:22 am Angela said:

    Hahah, the kissing one is the worst. I once kissed my boyfriends grandfather right on the mouth that way. It was horrible. Ever since then I make sure I’m absolutely sure we are both going in different directions.

  23. On January 28, 2013 at 11:39 am Don said:

    The boots were a good decision. Work it!

  24. On January 28, 2013 at 1:08 pm Andi of My Beautiful Adventures said:

    Happy belated Birthday!!!!! Honestly, who cares if you can’t do any of these things? You’re still beyond cool! 🙂
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Asheville, North Carolina: Biltmore Estate In Photos (Part 2)

  25. On January 28, 2013 at 1:22 pm Michelle said:

    Make rice! I am HORRIBLE at burning it or not cooking it long enough.

    god I feel so ashamed admitting that.
    Michelle recently posted..DietBet and Weekly Update

    • On January 28, 2013 at 7:49 pm Sally said:

      I have to look up the “recipe” for making rice every time I do it. That and hard-boiled eggs. Which you think would be easy given the fact that the name kind of says it all. But, no.

  26. On January 28, 2013 at 1:56 pm Carmel said:

    Happy birthday! I have actively resisted actually knowing what I’m doing with our taxes. It scares my husband a little bit. Instead I usually end up crying, then call my dad for the 4 billionth time to find out what I did wrong.
    Carmel recently posted..Christmas Dinner & a Farewell (for now)

    • On January 28, 2013 at 7:48 pm Sally said:

      OMIGOD, we are the same person. I LOATHE taxes. I’ve been able to kind of avoid it living overseas (I left Japan right before the cut-off when I’d have to pay taxes & I didn’t make enough in China to pay taxes on it). I am so dreading having to do that this year. I’m sure I will be crying to my dad in no time.

  27. On January 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm Dana said:

    First, happy belated birthday!! I’m voting for you.

    Second, you’re hilarious. You really are.
    I was just now reading this post to myself and I laughed out loud so many times that I had to read it out loud to my husband, who also laughed and agrees you’re hilarious.

    (And the funniest thing is, I can relate to a lot of this! especially the part about being distracted by all of the internet.)

    I had to admit to him that I don’t actually know you in real life, but I stalk your blog, so it feels like we’re friends. 🙂 So it’s about time that I leave a comment, haha!

    Keep up the great writing, and best of luck with mastering some of the things on your list… 😉
    Dana recently posted..Looking back on the past year…

  28. On January 28, 2013 at 3:18 pm Nathalie said:

    Happy Birthday! Love your list; I am turning 30 soon and there are many things on your list I don’t know either.

    The hand trick is easy since I’m left handed; I think of the hand I write with (silly but it works for me)! I don’t get the whole North-East-South-West directives either. “Right” or “left” or “past the blue building” is all I need to know. How to get to point A to point B and back is hard unless I’ve previously done it a few times or reviewed the itinerary 10 times before venturing out there. Let me loose in the middle of an unknown mall that is not of rectangular shape and you can be sure I will somehow get lost.

    I’m French Canadian so I got lucky with the whole kissing thing; it comes naturally to us. 🙂

    Parents taught us growing up that we should always finish everything on our plate so it’s second nature to eat everything that is on the table, especially when it’s free! It has become a habit. Don’t ever leave a plate of food/snacks in front of me; I will eat it all. I have to push myself to stop eating.

    I also think “crying when someone else is crying” is contagious like yawning. I can’t help it!

    What is my lipstick colour and how do I wear it? No idea. My skin is so pale that no colour ever looked right on me so I just go with transparent lip balm/lip gloss. Can’t be bothered to wear lipstick.

    Mascara? I had the same problem all my life but made a breakthrough with this one recently; the ones that work best are those with plastic bristles instead of the soft bristles. On top of that, I use my fingers to take the excess off and use a lash separator brush if needed. Oh and waterproof mascara helps a lot since we cry so much. 😉

    I can’t save a life either – I think I know how from seeing it demonstrated on TV but never tried it or took a course for it.

    There rarely are earthquakes here; been through a couple that were around 6.0 and I thought it was because of a big truck passing by…until I saw no trucks outside.

    I also have a problem getting right to the point. People get lost in all my explanations and many details…and I always wonder why no one ever understands me (oh, I’m doing it again).
    Nathalie recently posted..You may be dating a Chinese guy if…

    • On January 28, 2013 at 7:46 pm Sally said:

      I’ve tried a bunch of different mascaras and the lash separator and wiping it off with my fingers but it still ends up clumping. I truly think I have defective lashes. Is that a thing?
      And glad you can relate, Nathalie. I think maybe I need to go hang out with some French Canadians to get the hang of the kissing thing. Or just to make myself even more awkward.

  29. On January 28, 2013 at 5:33 pm Laura said:

    That’s me flirting with you which is uber creepy because I’m old enough to be your very senior sister or your mom if we were in a third-world country or an episode of Extreme Teen Moms…what was I saying? Oh yeah, I can’t do most of what’s on your list except the cooking, mascara, lipstick parts. And the only reason I can “cook” is because I had children and eventually I had to wean them and then it was ghastly expensive to eat out for every meal.

    Happy Birthday!

    • On January 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm Sally said:

      Hmmm… you’re making having kids almost sound like a good idea. If only because they might make me be a bit more responsible. The operative word here being “might.”

  30. On January 28, 2013 at 6:09 pm Audrey said:

    I laughed so hard as I am 37 too and can totally relate.Happy birthday!

  31. On January 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm Isabelle said:

    I’m 44 and still can’t master quite a few things from your list!: 1, 9, 13(weird, because I used to be good at it in another lifetime!), 15, 20, 21, 27 (getting better!), 30(very much struggling with that one), 35(should definitely work on that!). And I could very well add to your list! Like negotiating a mortgage, hiring construction people for small repairs, arguing with the electricity company, have proper hairdo and more, more, more! As long as you improve on a few things as you go along, that’s ok. Most people pretend they are good at a lot of thing but truly aren’t!

    • On January 30, 2013 at 8:04 am Sally said:

      Ahhh, I could totally never buy a house. I’ll be renting for the rest of my life. Or living out of a cardboard box. I could not deal with mortgages or construction workers or any of that!

  32. On January 29, 2013 at 12:33 am Jen Ryder said:

    I am sitting in my office here in China with 20 very somber Chinese people, unable to contain my laughter at this post and getting weird stares. You crack me up! I can definitely relate to eating every bite of all the things on my plate. It’s impossible to resist. Buffets are my weakness…
    Hope you had a very happy birthday!!
    Jen Ryder recently posted..Cambodia, Scenic and Up-close

    • On January 30, 2013 at 8:03 am Sally said:

      I had to ban myself from buffets — especially breakfast ones — a few years ago. Not only do I make myself sick, but I also stress out because I’m worried I won’t be able to EAT ALL THE STUFF. And you can’t do a buffet without EATING ALL THE STUFF!

  33. On January 29, 2013 at 4:50 am Naomi said:

    jeez you’d be so boring if you could do all those things, we all love you because you are such an honest, funny person about all your frailties and hidden talents. I certainly don’t have the guts to reveal what you have, and no way I have the capacity to remember peoples’ cats names, that’s a rare gift! Don’t change, and I expect one new addition each birthday from now on. LOL
    Naomi recently posted..How does my garden grow?

  34. On January 29, 2013 at 10:27 am Talon said:

    I was laughing so hard about the cheek-kiss thing. It throws me, too. And then there are those moments when you think they’ll do the cheek-kiss thing but you aren’t really totally sure they don’t want just a handshake, and so you do this whole awkward hand and body bob so that you look like you’re imitating some bird’s mating dance.

  35. On January 29, 2013 at 3:13 pm Michael said:

    Happy 37th b-day, I’m getting there soon. Anything I should look out for?

    As for the list, I can’t do half of the stuff you listed, especially “how to put lipstick” haha 😉
    Michael recently posted..Thinking About Traveling? 5 Tips for Choosing Your Destination

    • On January 30, 2013 at 7:59 am Sally said:

      Well, you probably don’t have to worry about people calling you “ma’am” so nothing to worry about. 37 feels a lot like all those other 30-year birthdays. And like a few 20-year birthdays.

  36. On January 29, 2013 at 7:38 pm Stephanie - The Travel Chica said:

    Damn… I was hoping I’d learn most of these things in the next few years.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Photo Essay: The few things I like about Winter in Ohio

  37. On January 29, 2013 at 8:56 pm budget jan said:

    Hate to squash all hope but I am 57 (yes that is not a typo), and I can only cross a few things from your list. My worst fail is the free corn chips, but then who can not stop eating them, unless of course you do not like corn chips and that is too awful to even think of.
    budget jan recently posted..Tuesday in Townsville – Art in Strange Places

  38. On January 30, 2013 at 1:46 pm Amy said:

    Sally, so, so funny. 🙂 I’m 40 (and sadly it really does all start to go downhill after your 40th birthday – who knew?) and loathe being called “ma’am” (convinced it’s code for “Where’s your walker?”). I also have never changed a tire. And I don’t feel like a grown-up either. My cat licked a cookie I had sitting out on the coffee table while I was fixing a cup of tea. Upon telling this story to my boyfriend, his immediate response was, “Let me guess. You ate it anyway, didn’t you?” Yes, I did. Are there people in this world who would not?

  39. On January 31, 2013 at 4:36 am Kaylin said:

    I’ll be 25 this year, which is a real milestone birthday for me because in my head I’m still like 19 or something and totally unprepared for the world. I feel like by this age I should have figured out how to somewhat be an adult but it makes me feel better that you don’t even have it figured out at 37.

    I’ve been desperately trying to learn how to cook for myself, more for health reasons than anything else. Eventually eating out at McDonalds and junk food from the corner store is gonna catch up to me. Also, eating out is ridiculously expensive here in France.

    Speaking of France? The cheek-kiss thing BOGGLES MY MIND. Like I just can’t. I try and I always feel awkward about which direction to go, and I also feel REALLY WEIRD when men I don’t know very well (such as some of my co-workers that never speak to me) try and do it to me. I just end up going crazy-eyes on them and they walk away muttering about strange Americans.

    I think the only things I can do on your list are tell right from left, (and that’s because I’m left-handed), mascara (had a WEAR ALL THE MAKEUP phase in high school), and dance (took lessons).

    Also I commiserate with you on the man-calves thing. I bought my first pair of knee-high boots only in the past year…
    Kaylin recently posted..Day 28: My American Travel Bucket List

  40. On February 2, 2013 at 5:59 am Michelle said:

    In 22 days, I’ll be 35. There are so many adult things I can’t do either. Can’t dance. Or apply make-up. Or be graceful in tough situations. I still struggle with tying my shoes. But I can change a tire–assuming I can get the lug nuts off. And do CPR. And be calm–at least on the outside–in a crisis. So I guess it’s 50/50. By the way, I call everyone ma’am…even 5 year olds

    • On February 4, 2013 at 10:36 pm Sally said:

      What? Really? I hate the word ma’am. I would never subject anyone to it. But I also kind of hate the word “miss.” So I think I’m just going to start calling all the ladies I meet “fairy princess” or “hot lips” — regardless of their age. I feel that will go over well.

  41. On February 3, 2013 at 2:23 am Kat said:

    Okay. We are the same person. No seriously. Let’s be internet e-friends forever ever.
    Kat recently posted..Love Letter #2, Wada, Chiba, Japan

  42. On February 7, 2013 at 11:07 am Neens said:

    Just found your blog via a fb post by Gigi Griffis. So glad I followed the link because your blog is laugh out loud funny (well, actually, it is cackle out loud funny, my dogs were seriously perturbed by the strange noises escaping my lips)! Can’t wait to read more! :oD
    Neens recently posted..Poem: Just Because

  43. On February 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm Krisabele said:

    Belated happy birthday! No one can do everything and we can always add something to our skill list as long as we are alive. I am 24 years old, and a couple of moths ago, I finally learned how to ride a bike!

  44. On March 4, 2013 at 11:50 pm Ceri said:

    Now that I’m an adult I’ve learned that I never will really be or act like an adult and I’m comfortable with that. 🙂

    Happy Belated Birthday, hun!
    Ceri recently posted..Scenes from the Museo de Arte Moderno

  45. On April 17, 2013 at 2:03 pm Madhu Bhardwaj (@madconnection) said:

    I love number 29 and I also love many others whose numbers i don’t remember now.
    You seem to my sister from another mother.
    Madhu Bhardwaj (@madconnection) recently posted..Microsoft Office 365 Indiblogger meet in New Delhi

  46. On April 23, 2013 at 1:31 am Hina said:

    This is an epic list. And I am a compulsive list maker. Therefore, I speak from observation and experience.

    You are a very cool 37-year-old.


  47. On April 29, 2013 at 5:32 pm Laila Atallah said:

    LoL. Ahh. I’m rolling on the floor. Ditto to most of yours. I did buy a whole bag of makeup, though, to try and learn how to apply it … 3 years ago. It’s like my boogie man in the basement, except it’s in the hallway. Isn’t that where everyone keeps their makeup? How to properly scramble an egg. I still have to ask my husband to do it for me whenever I get a hankering. Couldn’t mow the lawn if you paid me. Have no idea how to do any fancy stuff with the tv. It took me a while, but I’ve got turning it on, and starting the dvd player down. Nope, the “L” thing with my hands still doesn’t help. I have to bring both hands up to my face, tap on one of my hands repeatedly, and think really hard, and after about 60 seconds of this I can 50% of the time get it right … or left. I hope you’ll do a reprise of this one each year.

  48. On May 20, 2013 at 8:04 pm Sab said:

    Awesome! Love this post! Bookmarked!

  49. On August 21, 2013 at 7:56 am Cat said:

    It’s 4:40 am, six days before my 37th birthday. I’ve been up journalling for about an hour and enjoying some stellar rosé. I have the day off “tomorrow” (which I only call “tomorrow” because the sun has yet to rise), so I was making a list of things to get done that will aid in my attempt to continue growing up… when that got sticky, I decided to ask the interwebs about this conundrum.
    Your post had me in bits! I laughed (as quietly as possible, so I wouldn’t wake my sleeping boyfriend… one of those restrained guffaws that, left unchecked, could’ve caused an aneurism), I cried (yes, my allergies helped, but then I also started crying because my allergies have made my eyes water for the past week, and my eyelids are all raw and sore) and I felt the need to thank you profusely for this delicious insight into so many things I, too, have yet to master as I enter my >gasp!< LATE THIRTIES.
    I hope this year has been stellar for you, thus far. And I hope to one day be able to doggie paddle while hyperventilating, too. I thought I'd be able to swim by my 30th birthday. I did, once, but have nevet been able to replicate the moment.

    Thank you!

    • On August 27, 2013 at 9:01 pm Sally said:

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY! After you wrote this comment, I was thinking I should go back and read this post and see if I’ve learned anything I didn’t know when I wrote this. But I’m a little scared to. I’m pretty sure that not only have I not learned anything of these things but I’ve also started forgetting some of the things I used to know… like how to doggie paddle.

  50. On August 7, 2015 at 8:16 pm Ann said:

    Awesome. One of the most relatable birthday lists. Makes me feel a little more normal. haha

  51. On March 27, 2016 at 6:34 am Maranda said:

    I know it’s been like 3 years since you wrote this, but can I just say, I think you might be my spirit animal. Except I have never been to Japan, or Brazil, or outside of where I’m from, really. I’m actually here because I googled “I’m really bad at being old-ish” in a desperate attempt to not feel so alone in my teenageness (also 37) and also not so judgy of myself. At least half the things on this list…me. So thanks for this. So much.

    • On March 27, 2016 at 11:04 am Sally said:

      Maranda, So happy you could relate! I’m kind of scared to look at this post again to see all the things I still don’t know as I really haven’t matured much in the past 3 years. So, not to worry, you are not alone! Also, how happy am I that you found my post my googling “I’m really bad at being old-ish.” LOVE IT!


  1. unbrave girl | Weeklyish Challengey Thingie: Do Something Cool

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge