38 Signs I’m really, super, duper old. Or really, super, duper awesome. Either one really.

January 26, 2014
1. My sneakers are named after a famous podiatrist. Not a famous Greek god.

2. I regularly fight the desire to grab twenty-year-olds and ask them what the heck they are wearing.

3. I also regularly fight the desire to tell twenty-year-old boys to pull up their pants and twenty-year-old girls to start wearing some pants if they’re wearing tights that they think are pants but are clearly not pants because if I can see your underwear they are not pants.

4. This semester, I’m taking a class at the university where I teach.  I’m twice as old as most of the students in the class. Literally, TWICE AS OLD. That means I could be their mother. Or their twice-as-old, older sister.

5. Last week one of my classmates asked me what the Watergate Scandal was. I suspect this is because she figures I was the only one in the classroom who was alive back then. (I wasn’t. Well, I almost was. But still.)

6. I complimented someone on her harem pants — the same kind of pants I had back in the seventh grade. She told me that they were “vintage.”

7. My knees. Oh god, my knees.

8. I eat oatmeal every morning. I even buy the old-fashioned oats. Because kids these days and their quick oats.


Mmmm…. oatmeal.

9. I get super excited when I can go to bed early. The other day I went to bed at 8:00 and it was THE MOST EXCITING NIGHT OF MY LIFE EVER.

10. I have to remind myself not to wear the same pants everyday. In my defense, they are nice pants.

11. I’ve started saying things like, “When I was your age…”

12. I started reading romance novels. Amish romance novels. Come to think of it, I don’t know if this is a sign that I’m old or just weird. And mildly obsessed with the Amish.


“50 Shades of Amish”

13. My car is an Oldsmobile. A BEIGE Oldsmobile. Seriously, if that doesn’t say “old lady,” I don’t know what does.

14. Also, when I drive, I drive like I’m ninety. I’m that person in front of you driving 30 miles per hour on the freeway because the roads look a little slippery, and I don’t want to get in an accident, so you can go ahead, flash your lights all you want, I will not drive any faster. JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A DEATH WISH DOESN’T MEAN I DO, YOU HEAR ME, YOU WHIPPERSNAPPER?

15. My back. Oh god, my back.

16. My sensible shoes have started to outnumber my ridiculous shoes. And, if we’re going to be perfectly honest, my ridiculous shoes aren’t all that ridiculous.

17. I wear insoles in my shoes for arch support. Because, apparently, once you hit 30 your arches become freeloading jerkholes and stop supporting themselves.

18. Nice N’ Easy Natural Soft Black. Enough said.


19. I can’t eat anything spicy if I ever want to sleep again.

20. My neck. Oh god, my neck.

21. I cry. A LOT. Over pretty much everything from credit card commercials to student speeches to people’s Facebook status updates. I don’t know if this is the result of being more in touch with my emotions or because I’m old and can no longer control the fluids leaving my body.

22. When I stand up after sitting for a long time, my body makes sounds. Lots and lots of sounds. It’s like I’m a creaky old house. But in human form.

23. When I sit down after standing up for a long time, I make this “ufffhh” sound that’s kind of like the cross between a sigh and a grunt and it is really not attractive at all. I can hear it coming out of my mouth, and all I can think is “OH GOD NO, PLEASE TELL ME I’M NOT THE ONE MAKING THAT SOUND.”

24. I am totally the one making that sound.

25. I remember astronaut ice cream. I also remember thinking we’d be eating all our food in freeze-dried, astronaut form by now. I’m kind of bummed this is not the case.


26. I own more tea than alcohol.

27. I also drink more tea than alcohol.

28. Also, it’s decaf tea because I can’t drink anything caffeinated past noon if I ever want to sleep again.

29. Speaking of sleep, is it time for me to do that yet? I mean, it’s only 6:00 PM. But that’s a reasonable bed time for a Sunday night, right?

30. Speaking of alcohol, I can’t even remember the last time I had more than three alcoholic beverages in a row. I don’t know if this is because it’s been a long time since I’ve done that or because my memory has started failing me.

31. Speaking of… wait. What were we speaking of?

32. My hips. Oh my god, my hips.

33. When my students tell me that they’re cold after walking to school from the parking lot, I tell them about how I had to walk to school from my apartment. Two miles. Through the snow. Up hill both ways.


You’re cold, students? Well, look at me!

34. I very regularly can’t figure out how to make the technology work in my classroom and need one of my students to help me.

35. I hate texting almost as much as I hate talking to people on the phone. And I REALLY hate talking to people on the phone.

36. I talk to strangers a lot more now. In this past weekend, I had conversations with at least six random people I didn’t know. I would have never done this before. I don’t know if this is because I’m more confident. Or if it’s because I’m turning into that crazy old lady who talks to people on the sidewalk. Either way, it’s kind of fun.

37. I also don’t care as much about what strangers might think of me. Yesterday, I went to the grocery store and bought iced animal crackers and red wine and rocked it at the checkout like it was no big deal.  In the past, I would have at least thrown some carrots in my basket in an attempt to look like a person with some idea as to how nutrition works.

38. I turned 38 on Friday. THIRTY-FREAKING-EIGHT-YEARS-OLD YOU GUYS. I’m pretty sure I never thought I would ever see this age back when I was rocking harem pants. But it’s good to be here. Even if I can’t buy all my food in freeze-dried, astronaut form. (Seriously, you guys? When is that going to happen? Also, I’d like to know when we are all going to get flying cars like on The Jetsons.)

What signs have made you realize you’re not the young whippersnapper you used to be? Unless you are a young whippersnapper. In which case, you need to get off my lawn.

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

  1. On January 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm Reannon said:

    Ha ha, cute list! I hate talking on the phone/texting too! I hate that has become such a thing now (with everyone glued to their phones all of the time) that if you don’t answer your phone or answer a text right away, people get irritated, or worse, they start to worry that something has happened to you.

    • On January 27, 2014 at 12:49 pm Sally said:

      Luckily, I don’t get a whole let of texts. Which is a good thing because I usually have my cell phone ringer off for work, so I usually don’t discover I have a text until hours after I’d gotten it. Everyone would be suspecting I was dead all the time.

  2. On January 26, 2014 at 8:11 pm Jenni @ Traveler for Good said:

    This is hysterical! I so remember the astronaut ice cream from visits to the science museum in elementary school. Also – playing Oregon Trail on a Macintosh Apple 2E (before they were just a “Mac”).

    I also celebrated a birthday this week, only a few years younger than you (and by a few, I mean 2). Yesterday at the grocery store I had a frozen pizza, a bag of chocolate chips, a box of cornstarch and a bag of macadamia nuts. But I have not outgrown putting stickers on my car – because that’s a thing here in Hawaii.

    Happy Birthday!
    Jenni @ Traveler for Good recently posted..I Saw a Hawaiian Monk Seal!

    • On January 27, 2014 at 12:47 pm Sally said:

      I actually just bought some astronaut ice cream the other week when I was at a museum with my niece and nephew. I’m a bit apprehensive to try it though for fear that it won’t be as awesome as I remember.
      And, YES, Apple 2E’s were the BOMB.

  3. On January 26, 2014 at 8:30 pm Pamm said:

    Well, of all of your posts, this one has to be the best of them all. And not because I identify with each and every one of those items on the list (and could easily add another 25). And just wait for the day you feel older than dirt.

  4. On January 26, 2014 at 9:23 pm Janice said:

    Argh, I was feeling totally superior and completely aloof until I got to #8, and read it not only as I was shoveling oatmeal into my mouth, but actually dribbling some oatmeal down my chin. After that, I realized that your list is spot-on. Welcome to 38! =)

    • On January 27, 2014 at 12:39 pm Sally said:

      The worst is when my body makes those noises and there are other people in the room and I know those other people have heard those noises because those noises are LOUD but they’re being too polite to say anything but I feel like I should explain or something but I don’t so there’s just kind of this awkward silence… which is punctuated only by my body creaks. That’s the worst.

  5. On January 27, 2014 at 12:45 am Brittany @ Paws for Beer said:

    I have recently started calling some of my younger co-workers “kids”. They usually roll their eyes at me but I know when they get to my age they’ll understand. That and all the back, feet and neck pain that I now have. Getting old sucks!
    Brittany @ Paws for Beer recently posted..Photo Friday 1/24/2014 Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

    • On January 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm Sally said:

      A lot of my coworkers call our students “kids.” I try to refrain from this partly because most of our students are over 18 and we have a lot of older students (sometimes even older than me) so technically none of them are “kids”. And partly because I know it will make me feel even older than I already feel!

  6. On January 27, 2014 at 3:21 am James said:

    Can I add a #23b? Making the “ummmphfff” sound whenever getting UP out of a chair? And circulation. Always bad circulation. Sigh. (Loved this post!)
    James recently posted..Photography For Dumb Bloggers

  7. On January 27, 2014 at 4:44 am RenegadePilgrim said:

    I’m turning 40 in a couple months…I feel your pain! But, I am still planning to go trekking in Nepal in October to celebrate because that’s what I do… 🙂 Are you going to your 20 year high school reunion this year?

    • On January 27, 2014 at 12:33 pm Sally said:

      I don’t think we’re having a 20 year reunion. At least, I kind of hope we’re not. I don’t think I can hang out in a room full of my high school buddies complaining about our arthritic knees.

      • On January 27, 2014 at 5:29 pm RenegadePilgrim said:

        I went to mine two years ago to see if anyone else had come out since our last one! Alas, I was the sole lesbian…and I grew up in a small town outside of Portland where it’s common for people to have lots of guns and chew tobacco. 🙂 Social media has really changed the way we all interact now…I’m ‘friends’ on FB with people I never talk to…most of them from high school. So weird to me.

  8. On January 27, 2014 at 6:44 am Ceri said:

    Happy Belated, Sally. 😀 I know I’m not as young as I used to be because a) I am that person who wonders what the HELL that kid is wearing and b) I reminisce about the good ol’ days.
    Ceri recently posted..My Korean Bucket List

    • On January 27, 2014 at 12:30 pm Sally said:

      It’s really bad now that it’s winter. I walk around and it’s really hard not to grab kids and tell them to put a hat and some sensible boots on. This weekend, I saw a girl walking around in 3-inch-heels in the middle of a snowstorm and I almost died trying not to say something. ALMOST DIED!

  9. On January 27, 2014 at 8:27 am Hata Trbonja said:

    I will also be 38 this year. I love naps. OMG! Naps are the best thing in the world! As a matter of fact I might take one after I finish this comment.I have also started to appreciate soup and sweaters. All I need is a pocket full of kleenex and butterscotch and I am all set.
    See you at the nursing home!
    Hata Trbonja recently posted..The Most Expensive Street

    • On January 27, 2014 at 12:27 pm Sally said:

      Soup and sweaters are THE BEST. I even have a “house sweater” that I wear at home (hence the name). It’s a cardigan because OF COURSE IT IS. And I get all out of sorts if it’s in the wash and I can’t wear it. Only problem is that it doesn’t have pockets so where am I going to put my kleenex and butterscotch?

  10. On January 27, 2014 at 8:40 am Renee Wilson said:

    Hilarious, Sally. At least we will keep laughing as we get older!

    • On January 27, 2014 at 12:26 pm Sally said:

      You know what they say about laughing at yourself… actually, I can’t remember what they say about laughing at yourself. I hope it’s good whatever they say.

  11. On January 27, 2014 at 8:54 am Bisa said:

    I just turned 40 last month and I’ve been thinking about how old I am and feel. I haven’t started coloring my hair because “I’m growing old gracefully”. Until next week. The biggest change for me besides my knees is my eyes. I use to see people pull off their classes to read things up close and thought that was crazy. Now I know. Doctor said I will need bifocals in a year.

    Good list.

    • On January 27, 2014 at 12:25 pm Sally said:

      I’ve actually been coloring my hair for about the last 10 years because my hair is prematurely grey (thanks, Dad, for those genes!) and since it’s so dark, it’s really noticeable. Oh yes, and my eyes definitely suck more than they used to. But, don’t worry, bifocals are quite nice these days! Not that I would know anything about that… ahem.

  12. On January 27, 2014 at 9:07 am Jasika said:

    Omg this made me lol so hard I cried and nearly choked on my fried rice!

    I know I’m getting old when I can’t remember how old I actually am and either have to ask my cousin or do some math >< (I'm 36…. I think!)

  13. On January 27, 2014 at 9:51 am Selly said:

    A belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Love your list, it’s funny and humorous, just like you. A lot of my students are in university and I’ve started to talk to them like “When I was young…” or “When I was your age…” I suspect I’m somehow confused about my actual age…

    • On January 27, 2014 at 12:22 pm Sally said:

      When I was working overseas and was surrounded by college students, I didn’t feel nearly as old as I do now. Maybe because I’m older now or because I’m surrounded by American students, whom I can actually understand when they’re having conversations in the hall about how wasted they got this past weekend… or worse! Makes me feel so old! I’m sure my Chinese and Japanese students talked about that stuff, but I could never understand them.

  14. On January 27, 2014 at 12:52 pm Andi of My Beautiful Adventures said:

    Hahaha I feel like you and I are the same person! Especially #2!!!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Germany With AirBerlin: Day 2 (Part 2)

    • On January 27, 2014 at 12:56 pm Sally said:

      It’s so bad especially now that I spend most of my time on a college campus and a REALLY, SNOWY, COLD college campus at that. I feel like I should be carrying around hats and scarves and mittens for all those poor underdressed college kids!

  15. On January 27, 2014 at 1:35 pm Patty said:

    Happy Birthday!
    I have 20 years on you and all I can say is it gets worse. Sorry!
    Best thing is just laugh and keep moving, never stop moving.
    Patty recently posted..Wow, Wow and Wow

  16. On January 27, 2014 at 5:05 pm Teresa #JoyfulJourneyist said:

    As someone who just turned 50, I can say the “worst” things about getting old have already hit you! The BEST things are just starting to show their face and they far outweigh the list above 🙂 Mainly, you just don’t care what anyone thinks about you anymore so you have a whole lot more free time for………..sleeping, eating oatmeal, reading Amish romance novels, and talking to strangers! Wait, maybe its not that you don’t care, maybe you just can’t remember. Either way, its all good. 40’s were my favorite so far but I’m really digging the 50’s 🙂

  17. On January 27, 2014 at 6:21 pm Leslie in Portland, Oregon said:

    Sally, you are just approaching what can be the BEST years: more freedom, less anxiety, continuing good health. (Try some yoga for those joints!) No way you are anything near old in any sense of that term; you (that is, you, in particular) are lightly-seasoned youth! (And, with your sense of humor, I doubt you will ever be old.)

    • On January 29, 2014 at 7:05 pm Sally said:

      Thanks, Leslie. And I have actually started stretching everyday & using some of the few yoga poses I can remember. Not that I can remember many… you know, memory problems.

  18. On January 27, 2014 at 7:25 pm Isabelle said:

    I can definitely relate to many items on your list! One I can add, and sorry if it’s too much information!, I’ve had white hair since I was 18 so I don’t view this as an old person’s feature. BUT nobody every mentioned that the OTHER hair on your body also eventually turn white. yuk!! Believe me, you feel VERY old when this starts happening!!!!

  19. On January 27, 2014 at 10:45 pm Laura said:

    Happy Birthday! This is hilarious! Ever since I turned 30 I lost the ability to hold my liquor. I used to be able to drink like a champ and now I can barely get out of bed in the morning after like two glasses of wine. Oh well, I save money at the bar at least.
    Laura recently posted..Focus on Your Budget – 2014 Self-Improvement Series

  20. On January 27, 2014 at 11:42 pm Heather said:

    LMAO–you’re awesome and I totally relate! I just turned 34 last Thursday and do many of the same things you do 🙂 Remember you’re 38 years young 🙂 Keep on rocking the wine and animal crackers….

  21. On January 28, 2014 at 2:54 am J said:

    You never fail to make me laugh! Thanks for this post. I realized I’m not that young, when I started eating almonds in chocolates. 😉

    Happy birthday! 🙂

  22. On January 29, 2014 at 2:02 pm Ruthi said:

    Sorry darling but 38 is super young too.I can’t believe that 1. my baby is 24 2.there are people who have never heard of John Lennon 3.my students were born in 1995 or something.They don’t understand the concept of Woodstock or Flower Power.It’s tragic.I also LOVE going to bed at 8pm and reading a BOOK! I also can’t understand why kids think it’s exciting or cool to wear ripped jeans or have their underwear showing…
    Ruthi recently posted..I’m back….time to go again!

  23. On January 29, 2014 at 2:53 pm Angela said:

    Congrats on 38!!
    I’m ‘only’ 28 and still at least once a week I tell someone ‘I remember when I was your age…’ Or ‘I’m 10 years older than you so trust me on this one…’. Does this mean I’m getting old or am I just hanging out with the wrong crowd.
    Angela recently posted..Something Dutch: Ontbijtkoek

  24. On January 29, 2014 at 7:19 pm becky hutner said:

    Happy Birthday Senorita Hilarious! I related to waaay too many items on this list. Bad knees and back? Since my early ’20s. Grey hair? Started at 25! And now at 33, I am constantly stopping myself from the dreaded, “When I was your age…” The “kids” don’t want to hear it & it just makes me feel lame. Hey, getting older is better than the alternative right?
    Have a fantastic & productive year!
    becky hutner recently posted..Myanmar in 3 Anecdotes: Adventures in Transportation

  25. On January 30, 2014 at 3:59 am Carmel said:

    Dark golden brown. Sigh. Of course, I’ve had grey hair since I was 18, so it’s not really a sign that I’m old, it’s more of a sign that both my parents went grey early in life.

    My knee makes a terrible popping noise going up stairs. And down stairs.
    Carmel recently posted..PAK OU CAVES

    • On February 1, 2014 at 12:12 pm Sally said:

      I get my premature grey from my Dad who has had grey hair ever since I can remember. Meanwhile, my mom has the same color hair as me and has yet to dye it. So annoying!

  26. On January 30, 2014 at 11:53 am Amy said:

    Happy Birthday! This post made me laugh out loud. And as a fellow old lady, that Amish thing is just weird, not because you’re older than dirt. I knew I was getting older when everyone started referring to me as “ma’am”. Every sentence that starts with “Ma’am…”, I don’t hear the rest of; I just mentally complete the sentence with “here’s your walker. Please get your brittle bones out of here before something snaps and we get sued.”

    • On February 1, 2014 at 11:59 am Sally said:

      I hate ma’am with a passion! I found that really hard to deal with when moving back to the States. I left the U.S. in my twenties so I was still getting away with being called “miss.” And then came back in my mid-thirties and everyone was calling me “ma’am.” Ugggh.

  27. On January 30, 2014 at 11:54 am Heather said:

    Haha, I totally bought two packets of astronaut ice cream at the Smithsonian this fall and gave them to my FIL and BIL for Christmas. Girl, I am so with you on the pants! Tights – and leggings for that matter – aren’t pants! I don’t know if you’ve read any Gary Shteyngart, but in one of his books the girls of the future are wearing transparent “onion skin pants.” Oh how I hope it doesn’t come to that.
    Heather recently posted..The Best Meals We Ate in NYC: Northern and Eastern Europe Edition

    • On February 1, 2014 at 11:57 am Sally said:

      I bought a packet of the ice cream when I was at a local aviation museum the other week. I’m kind of scared to try it. Partly because I’m worried it won’t be as amazingly awesome as I remember. And partly because what the hell is even in there???

  28. On January 31, 2014 at 9:03 am Charu said:

    I’ve been a silent lurker here for ages but at “50 shades of Amish” I just *had* to comment. If only to say I laughed so hard I spit out the water I was drinking. But then I dribble all the time these days nobody noticed. I turn 39 soon. So yes, sigh.

  29. On February 4, 2014 at 5:35 am choi kum fook said:

    Miss Sally, you are now considered in the age of “Golden”! So you must look ahead and dry to achive things you have been planed. Meanwhile you have to look after the Health.Many things could not be done without health.Health is most important asset of lifetime!

  30. On February 4, 2014 at 3:41 pm Val said:

    OMG!!!!!! I can’t stop laughing!! I can relate to each and every item you listed. Hang in there, it won’t bother you as much when you are 60! It’s time for Jenny, my Westie and I to take our afternoon nap. Then we will watch Dr. Phil. Love your blog.

  31. On February 5, 2014 at 3:12 am Naomi said:

    Happy belated Birthday. I’m just about to turn 50 and although I can identify with every one of your items now I have to say I couldn’t at 38. I agree with Teresa, my 40s have been the best!

    my memory is definitely a bit shaky though….
    Naomi recently posted..Oh my oh my! What a big camera you have!

  32. On February 6, 2014 at 10:38 am Amber said:

    Omg! I love your site! You sound so much like me! (That’s a good thing!) I have so many “comfy” shoes now! My husband calls them “prescription shoes.” That’s definitely a sign! I eat oats with fresh fruit in the morning which is so gross but hey it makes me feel like I’m eating healthy

  33. On April 21, 2014 at 11:34 pm Meesh said:

    I don’t know how I missed this the first time, but I’m laughing my ass off right now!!

    As someone who is closing in on 49, I can relate to all of it! And as others have pointed out, the best is yet to come!

    And I’ve added “spend a day/weekend with Sally” to my bucket list.. fyi… #notastalker

  34. On November 4, 2014 at 10:18 am Pleddie said:

    I loved your list. I think all us “Old Fogies” (sp?) can add some. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
    I still call it an icebox. (If you don’t understand, that’s now the refrigerator or frig.)
    When I wash my dishes, I find I am washing more spoons than forks.
    When I went to China, I only took what I felt I absolutely needed. I hid my billfold in my house, with the rest of all those things we carry. (I was robbed a few years ago) I still can’t find it…
    I was talking to a friend and referred to a person as, “this young lady.” Hell, at my age, they are all young ladies; even you, Sally.

    • On November 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm Sally said:

      Ha ha. I love being called a young lady. That and being called “miss.” The Walgreen’s cashier called me that last night (and he had to be all of 20) and it made me SO HAPPY.

  35. On February 4, 2015 at 1:02 pm Jennifer said:

    All these things. Except, I really hope the astronaut food trend stays at bay because I really, really love hydrated food.
    Jennifer recently posted..House Update: IKEA Hacks And My Inability To Let Go Of Christmas


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