Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters

Getting Old is a Good Thing

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Yes, I am one of those annoying 23-year-olds who offend anyone over the age of 30 by saying out loud, “I feel like I’m getting old.” People, I didn’t even want to turn 16. My 15-year-old self said, “Um, I’m good. I really don’t want to be turning 16. I’m already halfway to 30. That’s enough.” So each year when I become an older person, I sort of hate it. I’m sorry, but that’s just how it feels sometimes.

Especially when T. Swift’s song, 22, comes on the radio. I can no longer relate to such a song.


HOWEVER! Sometimes I get one of those oh so lovely reminders that I am very lucky to be aging (somewhat gracefully, I hope) and to be past certain aspects of my life. Such as:


Today I was in the parking lot behind my work. It just so happens to back up against the field of the high school I attended. The timing was perfect, and I witnessed a class doing P.E. outside on said field. I felt so sorry for those students. P.E. was a nightmare for me. If you know me in person, you might have already heard my schpeal (did I spell that right?) on public school physical education. I think it does two things, and pretty much only these two things: 1) elevates the athletic kids to a higher level and 2) scars the un-athletic kids for life, possibly making them never want to wear a sneaker ever again. I know the arguments. I know that it’s supposed to be good, and where else will some kids ever get any exercise? and how else will they learn essential life skills like getting smacked in the face with a dodge ball (me)? and we can’t possibly eliminate P.E. in school because it’s too important. Ha. To that I say, How about we start funding a real Home Economics class, where instead of learning to sew a teddy bear on the end of their pencils, students learn how to make a great meal out of scratch? How about we talk about how food is just as important to an overall healthy lifestyle, if not more important than playing soccer for one humiliating hour of their lives? Oh my gosh. If I don’t stop now, I never will. And this is not what this blog is about. This blog is about being happy to be getting older!!! Which I am. NO MORE PHYSICAL EDUCATION!!!! Luckily, I did put on a sneaker again, and I am more physically active in my life than ever before. No thanks, by the way, to P.E.


I was one of those teenagers who paid to lay in a tanning bed. I did. Can’t tell you why. Can’t tell you what I was thinking. All I can say is, I’m glad my family no longer makes fun of my always orange/red nose. It was ridiculous and I’ll eat leafy greens every day for my entire life trying to undo the damage. (I didn’t edit the picture below at all… that’s me in all my too-tan glory!)

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17 in this picture. I’m burnt to a crisp, while Meredith is a healthy tone. Oh my word.


It was freaking hard, being apart from Greg. But we did it!!! We made it through two years long distance. The odds were against us and we beat ’em! My first two years of college were spent mostly talking to Greg on the phone and looking up the next flight I could get to go see him in Nashville. At the time I thought it would never end. Now, it feels like a lifetime ago.

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first long distance reunion

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too many….

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up close photos…


taken of….

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Seriously. It’s silly. These are just 5 out of probably one million too many photos that look exactly the same. (That last one, btw, was taken at 3 A.M. after we packed up all of Greg’s stuff in Nashville… meaning we no longer had a long distance relationship. It was a good day!!) I’m glad to be living every day with Greg and to no longer feel the need to document each breath we take in each other’s presence.


I think each one taken of me, each year, was embarrassing. This is one of my favorites:

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3rd grade

I actually begged my mom for these jeans. “The baggier, the better, Mom.”



Never again. Notta. Now I set my own goals, get my own work done, and it’s on no one’s time schedule but my own. Goodness, I love that.



Yes, it’s true. Getting older means I have made it this far, and for that, I should only be thankful. I read a quote that said “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”

Each wrinkle, each sun spot, each time I bend over and make a slight grunting noise to stand back up straight (yikes), I will remember these things. I will remember that I no longer have to suffer through P.E., I no longer have to get ready for the first day of school, I now get to see Greg every single day, I don’t have homework to do and I only get tan when I actually spend time outside.

In another three months I’ll be 24 and I’m sure I’ll have days when I dread it. But when I consider my life, what it has become through this process of getting older, I can really only think of good things. Actually, getting older isn’t scary at all. I wish I could go back and tell my 15-year-old self that. But at least I know it now.

<3 Lou

Author: Melinda Haas

Melinda is a writer, blogger, artist and teacher. She lives in Wisconsin with her family.

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