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Updated by Nathaniel FitzGerald on Jun 06, 2018
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The Most Annoying Parts of Getting Older (And What To Do About It)

In December, I turned 31. And while my thirties might not feel as old as I expected, there are some of tell-tale signs of aging that I can't ignore.

1

I'm always tired

I'm always tired

When I was a teenager, I got by on five hours of sleep a night. And I was still pretty energetic. In fact, most of the time I'd get in trouble in class, it would be because I was too "on" for the teacher's liking.

Now, I need at least seven hours of sleep if I want to function. And even then, I still have to deal with the dull roar of exhaustion weighing on me like I'm wearing a fifty-pound weight around my neck.

The temptation is to just slam as many cups of coffee as my French press can hold, but sometimes that backfires.

Instead, the most effective thing I've found to fight adult-onset tiredness is activity. If I push through my exhaustion and do whatever it is I want to do anyway, I generally feel more energetic afterward. It might seem a little counterintuitive, but it works.

2

My Eating Habits Have Betrayed Me

My Eating Habits Have Betrayed Me

I graduated college at 160 pounds, having eaten whatever I wanted my entire life. I built a reputation as a little bit of a garbage disposal. No food was too unhealthy, and no quantity was too much. My friends will occasionally still offer me the rest of their food if they can't finish a meal.

And for most of my life, I suffered no ill effects as a result of that.

When I hit my late twenties though, my body turned against me. Soon enough, I was knocking on the door to 200 pounds. Then, I started getting acid reflux whenever I ate the meaty, cheesy foods I craved.

I hated the way it made me feel, but I hated the thought of cutting out pizza even more.

Luckily, I didn't have to. All I did was track my calories with an app and controlled my portions accordingly. I'm still able to eat the foods I like, just not as much of it as I would otherwise. And while I might not be back down to my graduation weight, but I'm on my way. And I don't feel nearly as bad after I eat.

3

Worrying About Hair Loss

Worrying About Hair Loss

Most of my life, I've kept my hair pretty long. But if I look at the rest of my family, it's anyone's guess whether or not I'll be able to keep that up.

My mom's dad still has most of his hair, thought his hairline has receded. Her brother is bald on top. My dad's dad had small tufts on the side of his head, but my dad's hair is just as thick as it was when he was in college.

Not a lot of consensus there. So any time I feel like more hair is coming out when I shower, or if my hairline looks higher than usual, or if I see a photo from a bad angle, I get a little paranoid.

Judging by old photos, my hairline hasn't moved in the last decade—I just used to sweep it forward so it hid my hairline.

But I still want to do everything I can to decrease my chances of hair loss. I use separate shampoo and conditioner. I don't overcomb my hair. I don't wear hats frequently.

My fear might not be assuaged, but so far, so good.

4

My Eyes Are Getting Even Worse

My Eyes Are Getting Even Worse

I've never had good vision. In fifth grade, I had to set six feet from the board to see it at all. I got glasses over the summer, then switched to contacts in eighth grade.

During college, I went back to wearing glasses more often, but I kept a stock of contacts for when I wanted to go without. Once that supply was out, though, I didn't rush out to refill.

Recently, I finally bought some more contact lenses. And I was shocked at how differently my eyes acted with them. They were irritated more quickly, and I could barely see anything within a foot of my face—which was bad news for using my iPhone.

But, I can work around it easily enough with a pair of light reading glasses. And they're compact enough that they don't get in the way when I'm not using them.

5

My Hearing Damage is Adding Up

My Hearing Damage is Adding Up

I'm a musician. I was brought up on punk rock and electric guitar, and I liked to play loud. Basement venues aren't typically noted for their acoustic dampening—especially when you're as close to the front as you can get.

Unfortunately, I learned the importance of earplugs too late in life.

I have to ask people to repeat themselves now. My wife often complains about how loud I listen to my records. I couldn't hear that voice saying Yanny at all.

I might not be able to undo my hearing damage, but I can try to prevent it from getting worse. I never go to a show without earplugs now. And while that might seem a little lame to my punk rock sensibility, it's a lot lamer to not be able to hear anything.