I'm too old for this stuff

Are any of you slowly realizing that you don’t enjoy doing some things that you loved earlier? Or that you are physically or mentally just not able to cope with certain activities that you took completely for granted a few years ago. With age may come wisdom, mental stamina, endurance and all of that delightful “meaningful” stuff, but you also realize how your tolerance for certain things diminishes. If any of you follow that absolute fountain of wisdom, “How I Met your Mother”, there was an episode concentrating on what Ted calls “The Murtaugh List”. Murtaugh being a reference to Roger Murtaugh, Danny Glover’s character in the Lethal Weapon series, who constantly says “I’m too old for this shit”. Of course, as the narrator, Ted, is telling the story to his children, he replaces “shit” with “stuff” (and also “smoking a joint” with “eating a sandwich” throughout the series, a common flash back being of the characters in college, stoned in their room, holding an enormous sandwich!) Barney, always up for a challenge, takes on the list, going through piercings, raves and what not, only to realize he’s too old for this stuff!

Anyhow, this isn’t meant to be a summary of the episode, but more of a mulling on some not-so-recent realizations and what I discuss with several friends as well, just to re-confirm that I’m not alone! I am enjoying my early 30s (yes, still early, very early!!) and I differ from Murtaugh slightly. He was obviously older, but for me rather than “I’m too old for this shit”, it’s more of “I don’t want to do this shit anymore”! What probably got me thinking about it was when Sid went out a little over a year ago, super excited about a boy’s night out. They were going to be out on the town, drinking their way through the bar (responsibly of course, a cab had been called for transportation), discussing all that boys do on such nights out and basically having a crazy, no-limits sort of night. “Don’t wait up” (which I rarely do, another thing that has come over time is a “Don’t mess with my routine” attitude, selfish but true!) were his parting words as he scuttled out at 7 PM. AT 11 PM, the sound of cab doors banging downstairs signaled a rather early return. Drinking and revelry did continue back at home and massive hangovers the next morning made Sid say “I just can’t do this easily anymore”! And that, my friends, is perhaps an unfortunate, but accurate observation.

In college and till much later, it didn’t matter who invited me to a party, or who I had to hang out with, or how many friends’ places I crashed at, it was all part of a phase I thoroughly enjoyed and did it without batting an eyelid. Going out a few times a week, staying up through the night and functioning perfectly normally through work or classes the next morning was easy. Now my socializing is relegated to the weekends mostly and even though I indulge occasionally on weekdays I am cranky and whiny by 11 PM, the crankiness lasting much of the next bleary eyed morning. And ever since I’ve had my own home, I absolutely hate staying over anywhere else, and my goodness, even more so without a change of clothes! Travelling or a planned night-over is different, but of course my toilet kit is a bulge of toners, cleansers, cotton wool, safety pins (how apt!), asprin and other assorted meds, and much more meant to arm me to save the world, or rather wake up looking respectable. This is not to say that I don’t party when I want to, but the occasions are fewer and further between and though I will admit to being able to dance anyone (above or below the age of 31) under the table (I mean seriously, there is no competition!), I wake up the next morning with absolutely inexplicable hair; dizzy beyond belief; a voice that makes Sid dive under the covers in terror of realizing he’s woken up with a stranger after a drunken night (and probably because he thinks it’s a strange man he’s woken up with!); and spend most of the morning hobbling painfully around the house - that step-ball-change, lunge, double-pirouette and shimmy shimmy from the night before not seeming like such a good idea now!

I’m definitely getting too old for some stuff. I cringe when I hear the word “dude” being uttered by anyone above 18. I realize I can’t pull off a sparkly bindi with a tank top and jeans (a Gwen Stefani phase I went through in college where I never left home without my 3rd eye and in retrospect I don’t think I pulled it off then either, but hey 18 is a forgiving age!). I wouldn’t be caught dead in a t-shirt with anything written on it (you know the types “What you looking at”, “I’m too sexy for this t-shirt” etc) though I do have one I go running in (so no one sees me) which prudishly states that “I don’t hook up”! I can’t stomach road-side food too well anymore (but I have to admit I was never very good at that!) and Sid and I cringe when we remember the absolutely amazing parathas we used to eat almost every second night with a very dodgy chilli paste that I would rarely touch now. I think winking at someone now looks really cheesy, though I do like being winked at ;) I cannot tolerate sms language even though I used to cram it in when I had a pre-paid phone connection and recently I was shocked by an official email from someone I barely knew who thought I’d enjoy the casual tone starting with ‘Hi bdy’ (Hi buddy). They were too lazy to even write “buddy”!

And there are some things that I may not particularly like but which I am resigning to as a part of getting older. My friend, Ayesh, and I speak fairly often on the phone and have realized a marked difference in our conversations. From gossip and guys we’ve matured to the woes of being unable to be ladies of leisure (when will be able to quit our jobs and live like memsahibs!) and that absolutely heinous topic – maids! “Reem, I’ll have to call you back. I’m doing the dishes, my maid didn’t show up, I’m going crazy” is a common one-liner I hear when I call her, a sea-change in what the word “doing” used to connote in previous conversations! I have long accepted being called “Aunty” by friends’ kids or the smaller lot, but I would definitely have a heart-attack if a 15 year old would bestow that title on me (which unfortunately Sid was subjected to recently when playing badminton with some teenagers – not Aunty of course, but Uncle). Sales girls at counters offering me pearly jars of anti-aging creams (they say “It’s good to start young” so at least they think I’m young); discussions about buying a house; actually thinking about quality over quantity (for shoes, clothes, whatever) and much more are just these shifts I’ve noticed more frequently.

But this isn’t about feeling old, on the contrary, I never feel old, ever. I just realize that past phases aren’t as appealing as they used to be and I just can’t carry off a lot that I did earlier. As for the things on the Murtaugh List - hmm, I don’t think I’m too old for more piercings, just depends where! And I still have to get that tattoo! I may be too old for some stuff, but I don’t think you ever outgrow being a bit stupid, and subjecting yourself to “I’m-going-to-regret-this-later” stuff.

What’s your Murtaugh List?


Ponnamma said…
WOW Reem...Loved your write up....I could relate to a lot of them..I experience them too :)
johncheeran said…
Hi reem,

john cheeran here. you can email me at johncheeran@gmail.com

Manish Bhatt said…
Mine has grown too long to cram into a blog post, much less a comment. Kids (one's own) have a catalytic effect on this list, I've noticed.
I think that there is a specific age for every act that you have been doing so far till now. It seems that most of the people like you are willing to enjoy every single moment of their lives.

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