Ah, the slow march of death. Thank goodness it’s slow. You rarely notice it’s even happening. Nope. It just tip toes along until one day you walk past a mirror of you on less than five hours sleep with an entire Louis Vuitton set of luggage on your face where your lower eyelids used to be.

I, quite famously this yearstarted getting back in shape, lost 30 lbsbecame an aunt, was chief baby assistant and dog wrangler to my sister for almost three months, then moved to New York City (a place that triggers ALL my OCD) to work for my former internet stalkee, ol’ West Memphis himself, T. J. Holmes as head writer for his new show on BET.

I also discovered that concealer was my new BFF because WHAT THE F&@# JUST HAPPENED TO MY EYES!

Mostly it was due to my new Don’t Sleep  lifestyle where a new show, like a new-born baby, demands all your time and energy. I was spending 12 and 14 hour days at work, giving myself over to the new show process. The end result was that when I’d wake up in the morning my eyes looked like the zombie apocalypse had come, and I was patient zero.

It was in this moment where I was debating purchasing an eye mask you keep in the freezer to de-puff my eyes that it occurred to me there was once a time when puffiness could be reduced by “drinking lots of water” and “being 24.” What was this fresh new horror where I only looked like “me” if I had some foundation powder and concealer at my disposal?

I turned 35 this year and, honestly, didn’t think that much of it. My mother, her joints racked by arthritis, has no pity for my dark eye circles. She wishes her only problem were some tired looking eyes as opposed to a body that had betrayed her and turned heavily-addled. It sounds weird to gripe about feeling old or looking old or being old when you’re only in your 30s, and I’ve always felt that way. While peers cried over turning 30, I shoulder shrugged. It wasn’t like I was facing menopause and various hip surgeries like my mom. At 30, she was raising me and my sisters, running around in three-inch heels and being the Claire Huxtable of Landseer Drive in North St. Louis County.

Yet, even me, of nuance and good spirit and “age is a state of mind,” has been left feeling like my body has betrayed me this year – possibly because I’ve demanded more of it than I have in years. In my annoyance, I realized all my gripes were really about the signs of aging – albeit these were the more benign ones that foretold of rougher bumps further down the road.

Yet, there they were, looking me in the mirror after putting in 12 hours’ worth of work four days in a row:

  1. The aforementioned “tired,” saggy, dark eyes: No amount of hydration seemed to make them go away.
  2. Stupid Random Aching Ankle: Ever since I started my new work out regime, my right ankle has been in various stages of severe pain and non-use. It’s likely a stress fracture. And I feel like I’ve been waiting for it to heal for six months. Just when I think it’s all good, I wear the wrong kind of flat shoes and my ankle feels like it wants to snap at any second and end it all. And I don’t even know how I injured it, other than maybe it perhaps disagreed with the rigorous nature of my workout sessions.
  3. Were Hangovers Always This Bad? I’m journalist, which, by definition means I know how to handle liquor. I have entire elaborate contingency plans for when I get really inebriated from how 1) “I don’t fall down” and 2) always have a plan on how to get home. Yet when a certain brand of liquor decided to give our show’s host an award I nearly didn’t survive the open bar. The next day I almost wore sunglasses the whole day because WHO TOLD THE ENTIRE WORLD TO BE SO BRIGHT AND LOUD? HUH?!
  4. 2 Chainz: I’m going to be honest. Before we had him on T.J.’s show, I had no clue of who he was. Sorry 2 Chainz. But I did love his thoughts on voting rights and felons. But I’ve been told that thinking all the new, hip, young folks music is scary and weird to you is a sign of aging.
  5. Soup: It’s now my favorite meal. Especially since my jaw almost always hurts from a long day of clinching it due to stress. Fun times.

Now, are these signs the worst thing ever? Not really. I won’t be losing that much sleep over things that can be solved with sleep, glasses of water, and a good concealer. Yet, I still remember a time when I needed none of those things.

Am I getting older? Of course I am. But do I care slightly more than I did before? Possibly.

The slow march of death is going to get us all, but now I’d like to slow that guy down an ever bit more.

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