On the eve of my 25th birthday, some habits I ought to break

I cashed in a one-day free trial coupon to accompany Mike to the Washington Sports Club the other day for a brief, but respectable workout (the resonant effects of which I am a bit surprised not to feel ripping across my deep tissues.) While wrapping up my elliptical session, an LCD screen advertisement caught my attention. It was one slide in a loop of publicity info about the gym – fitness tips, testimonials from members, and amenity lists – but one fact got my attention. “Did you know?” the screen began, “You lose an average of a half-pound of muscle every year starting around the age of 25.”

Gulp. Half a pound a year? If this statistic is true, I will probably be left with no muscle at all by my mid-thirties. More unsettlingly, though, is the fact that muscle loss is one gradual step in the process of aging – many of which start to chip away at us, ever so slightly, by the time we’ve cleared a mere quarter-century. That’s not all, either – not only am I about to start losing my already scarce stores of muscle mass, but my cellular regeneration is about to begin a slow decline, too. As for my reproductive, renal, respiratory and other systems?  They’re not safe, either.

Tomorrow, I turn 25. Given the fact that my cheeks have apparently surpassed their peak plumpness and will forever be steadily sinking, I must face the fact that my relative youth can no longer account for some of my more suspect behavior. And so, in no particular order, here is a sampling of things I ought to tweak about my life, starting now, in the interest of becoming an adult.

No more using the dryer as a secondary dresser

So, here’s the thing. All in all, following through with a load of laundry, from start to finish, takes hours. This period is woefully lengthened if you a.) forget to switch everything to the dryer after the wash cycle for an indeterminate amount of time, b.) have a crappy dryer and/or washer that is incapable of completing the job in one cycle, or c.) have several garments which you refuse to put through the dryer, and instead insist on air-drying. All three of these circumstances apply to me, which basically means that I cannot put soiled garments into a washing machine and expect them to be ready within much less than a day. The problem is, by the time I remember them, it is time for another dryer cycle to shake out the wrinkles induced by sitting in a pile in the wash. And because I tend to ward off laundry day until I am literally out of usable underwear, I often grab clean underwear from the dryer instead of my dresser for several mornings in a row.  I suspect that this sort of thing doesn’t happen to functioning adults. I doubt that people who have their proverbial shit together leave their already-dried bras hanging on doorknobs for 72-hour periods. It is time to stop doing these things.

No more confused panic at feeding time

I am a poor cook. I also have no interest in food preparation. Many people claim to love it. The process relaxes them, they say. Not me – the need to sustain my life through repeated and consistent food consumption agitates me endlessly. Don’t get me wrong – I do enjoy eating. But I resent my biological dependence on it. I find it irritating that I have to interrupt a thought or activity because of a gargling belly, and I find it even more frustrating that this particular physical sensation presents me with a dilemma: what the hell do I eat? What should I throw together to nourish myself? What do I already have in the kitchen? What can I do with those items in order to yield a satisfying, but healthy meal? I never know what exactly to do when I get hungry. It happens all the time, but it always feels like a brand new problem I have to solve. And then it takes so much time, and confusion, and effort, and it highjacks my energy. I wish I could ingest meals in pill form to avoid this conundrum, but I can’t. What I can do is figure out a handful of easy, filling and nutritious meals. Then I have to actually discipline myself to get to the grocery store every so often, so that I can make them. And if I plan ahead, I won’t have to wait until my hunger is nearing emergency levels to address it.

No more college-style Saturday nights

I am vaguely aware of how technically obnoxious it is to talk about being too old for something that I happily lived through only a few years ago. And clearly, I am nowhere near forsaking the sauce and swapping my dancing shoes for cozy slippers to don whilst I quilt. But, my maturing palette is growing less and less fond of fruity cocktails. I no longer believe that the antidote to a dud of an evening is more drinks. I don’t still feel a tinge of obligation to politely chat with whatever random bar guy flirts with me. In fact, I’d rather buy my own drink than charm my way into a free one. A friend from Chicago recently asked me when ‘last call’ was in DC. I didn’t even know. I guess I have never stayed out late enough in this city to close a bar down. You know who does know when last call is? People born in 1990. For the first time in my life, I am old enough to remember living through the birth year of people drinking with more gusto than I. Sure, I knew it was 1990 only because my preschool teacher wrote it on the chalkboard so we wouldn’t paint backwards 9s on our homemade Christmas ornaments, but still. I remember it.

No more clinging to things I don’t use, need or like

This applies both to the perverse number of undergarments I have with holes in them, as well as to facebook friends whose names spark barely a single memory. I have never de-friended someone before, and that is no small feat. It means that I have some 850 odd facebook friends, many of whom are people that I met once at parties that happened seven years ago. Still, until now, it has still struck me as slightly harsh to go through the effort to de-friend them and effectually declare that I no longer give a hoot about their lives. But, hell – I’m 25. I’m losing muscle every year. If I can’t find the strength to shed bulk from my life now, I might never get the chance.

Don’t worry, though, it will be a great birthday. I’m definitely not frowning over it. Seriously – I need to start being more judicious with my frowning. I can’t spare the epidermal elasticity.

– A still technically 24-year-old Natalie

About Natalie Shure

literature, life and latte lady

4 Responses to “On the eve of my 25th birthday, some habits I ought to break”

  1. These are pretty great resolutions. May you follow through, and enjoy the benefits! Have a happy birthday! 🙂

  2. Undergarments with holes! Ha, don’t we all have such a collection of those. I went on a spree recently and threw out a bunch, and then immediately went out and bought a couple new ones. It felt really good. So did de-friending over a hundred people on facebook. Nice work, keep up the de-cluttering! 🙂

  3. it’s my 25th birthday next monday….thanks for reminding me of my own advanced age. happy birthday!

  4. One of your best ones to date. Loved it.

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