The Swim to My 50s – WTH? What Gives?


Word has it that as we age, we tend to become more set in our ways.  Or maybe it is the fact that we do not care what the hell others think anymore and are too cranky to change. Whatever the reason, the end result is that we hang on to our routines for dear life because it feels safe and comfortable.

Time seems to be somewhat of an obsession with older folks.  They suffer from an uncontrollable nagging need to know what time it is, what time something begins, what time it ends, what time they need to leave, what time you are picking them up and what time you will be calling. And, even after you have confirmed the designated time at least 70 times, they ask you again.

I get it that our idiosyncrasies are only going to multiply the older we get.  However,  I was under the impression that as we aged, our “silly” fears and phobias would fade away into the night along with our youth and we would become fearless (or is it  the fact that we can no longer see or hear whatever used to scare us?).    

As I approach my 50’s, I am experiencing the opposite to be true.

Back in the 80’s when I worked downtown Boston, I was your typical city slicker commuter (yes, I wore my shiny white Reeboks to walk to the office and then changed into pumps once I arrived).  I lived in the burbs back then and took the commuter rail to and from work.  I spent at least two hours a day (on the good days when there was no train mal-function) on the train.  

I passed those precious commuting hours nodding off, drooling, checking out the cute guys in their suits, eavesdropping on other’s conversations, looking over my shoulder to see what my seat mate was reading – you know, the things one does on trains.  I was a happy, phobia- free train passenger.  The question I have is, what horrible traumatizing event am I repressing that is responsible for my latest phobia?

 I have developed an insane intense fear, of driving over train tracks.  We are talking, rapid heart beat, sweats, the shakes, having to close my eyes, wanting to call my husband to come get me and yelling for my mama to save me!  Just like that.  I now mourn the normal, happily driving over the tracks kind-of-gal I used to be. WTH? What gives?

Just look how intimidating trains can be!

Just look at how intimidating trains can be!

I do not know if the derailment that occurred a couple of years ago on the track I most often cross, is contributing to this phobia.  It’s not like I was on the train when it happened, or on the road.  To make matters worse, the last time I suffered through a cross-over, there was a small train maintenance car whipping by right in front of me on the track, without any warning.  No red lights flashing, gates or bells!   I am trying to deal with this disability…by going 10 miles out of my way to avoid any tracks but one always sneaks up on me.

Then, there is my fear of thunder and lightning to reckon with.  It is not an uncommon fear but for crying out loud, it has gotten worse!  My teens stare at me in disbelief.  They cannot watch their otherwise strong mother, turn into a pathetic being when there is a storm.  For some reason, my words of choice when I hear thunder are, Ay Ay Ay!  I close my eyes, cover my face and Ay Ay Ay throughout the whole storm.   Hearing the crackling sound of lightning hitting something near by, sends me over the edge.  We are talking, call 911.  I have also noticed that as I get older, the Ay Ay Ays… get louder.  Not a pretty sight.  WTH? What gives?

The final phobia I will discuss with you, before you un-follow me because I have completely scared you away, is not being able to touch the restaurant pagers they give you as you wait for your order or table.  No, no and no!  When the nice hostess hands me the pager, I immediately go into my, Don’t you (waving my Spanish pointer finger) be giving me that dirty, filthy, touched by everyone pager that vibrates – mode.  If I must take it, I use a haz mat suit napkin between my hand and the thingy.  If my husband is with me, I make him get contaminated. WTH? What gives?

I have never been a germaphobe and have not minded getting down and dirty (breaking a nail – yes, but not getting dirty).  It now appears that I have developed OCD.  WTH? What gives?  

Like I needed new reasons to dread turning 50.  

BTW, what time is it, what time are we leaving and what time are we getting back?




{A big THANK YOU to everyone who participated in Susie Strong Day}

17 thoughts on “The Swim to My 50s – WTH? What Gives?

  1. Dude my OCD has gotten worse with age, but I manage to get around and survive my Rainman like tendencies 🙂 Ha! You’re too funny so glad I’m not alone on this one.


  2. Ha! The time thing is hilarious – have you also noticed that for (some) older people one appointment means their diary is effectively FULL UP ‘Oh, I can’t meet for coffee that morning, I’ve got to be at the dentist at 5 pm …’ Whaaat?! But I feel for you on the phobias. The OCD thing is what’ll get me too – I can already steer a supermarket trolley using just my wrists, which is definitely not normal – but I suppose in the end we’re all just slightly different shades of strange!


  3. I turned 50 two years ago and am still dealing with the aftermath! Thankfully no phobias have developed or worsened. But I know what you mean when you talk about older people, my MIL recently moved in, and talk about chaos! It’s been a tough transition for all of us.


    1. Thanks for visiting, appletonavenue! Glad to hear no phobias. Hopefully it will stay that way with you. Tough to think that we will be behaving like our elderly loved ones one day. Ay Ay Ay! 🙂 Good luck with your MIL.


  4. Phobias, especially of common things, are so hard to work around. I have been ornithophobic since I was a teenager. To the point that I can’t function in certain places. Hard to explain why.

    I think some of yours are just the growing older process where we see the bad things and know what can happen. We realize we aren’t immortal. But still very disconcerting.

    Good excuse to always have someone else with you to take the restaurant vibrating pager. And next time I’m handed one, I will think about this post.

    Have a great day on this side of the tracks on a non-stormy day waiting for the host/hostess to call your name.


    1. Thanks, Pamela! It is true that we all have our own fears/phobias to contend with – I guess that’s what makes us unique. 🙂 Thanks for wishing me a train-less, storm-less, paiger-less day! 🙂


  5. I hear you, Maria. I think I am more fearless in some ways, but I have developed a preposterous fear of the dark. I don’t mean a dim room. I mean, when I went to get a facial, they could not cover my eyes, because I felt like I was suffocating. It is so bizarre. And, I lie there and tell myself I’m NOT suffocating. I CAN breathe. Etc. But, it does not help.


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