The great thing about Daylight Saving Time ending early this morning is that we should be in full darkness by 5:30 p.m., and that allows me to justify being in bed by 8.
During the summer, it feels very wrong to be in bed then, like I'm louche in my habits and prone to sighing and am two or three dubious steps away from wandering the house in a moldering wedding dress, Havisham style.
But if it's already been dark for a few hours, well then hey! That's fine!
Also, I think this means I'm getting old.
I once had an editor beautifully describe the process of aging as a gentle hand on the small of your back, guiding you along a path of milestones – for example, the first time a parent tells their child, "Hold the door for the lady" and you realize you're that lady.
This is melancholy and lovely.
It's also a wicked lie. I'm finding the process of aging to be more the jerk who bumps into you on the sidewalk because they're on their phone and not only doesn't apologize but keeps on walking without a backward glance, while meanwhile you've lost your balance and tripped off the sidewalk into the mud.
I'm finding it to be an inglorious procession of knees that I can hear in action when I walk up stairs and public spaces that are just too loud.
While I can still claim to be in the summer of life, I definitely can't claim to be 20. Far from it, in fact. More and more often, I catch myself doing things that can only be met with an internal scream of "SINCE WHEN???"
It seems like one day I was fine, and the next day I woke up and all the Billboard Top 10 songs sounded the same to me. Here's what else:
■ Going to bed at 8 p.m. Not that I was ever one to be out painting the town red at all hours – I wasn't – and not that I do it every night, but… it's so cozy in bed! I can read there! And fall asleep by 9 p.m. if I feel like it! Which I usually do!
■ Saying "yep" when I stand up. I did this the other day, and I'm not sure what to make of it. I stood up from the couch, said "yep" and had an existential crisis.
■ Seeing someone with an actual compass on their dashboard and wondering whether I need one. My rearview mirror tells me the direction, and I live in Colorado, where the stuff on the horizon always orients me, but no, I might need an actual, physical compass for my dashboard. Like my grandpa had.
■ Only occasionally eating a piece of candy to get the taste of vegetables out of my mouth.
■ Getting super psyched about an Amazon lighting deal on sherpa-lined slippers. They were $12! And involve memory foam! What was I supposed to do, not buy them?
■ Being really into the weather app on my phone. I check it at least five times a day. And I feel meanly, weirdly triumphant if what it says is happening hour by hour isn't actually correct: Ha-HA! You say it's full sun right now, AccuWeather, but it's actually partly cloudy!
■ Spazzing over bowls whose lids I can't find.
■ Forgetting what I went upstairs to get once I arrive there. Usually, I follow this with lying down on the bed and Googling whether there's any legitimate research supporting the purported memory benefits of gingko biloba, then crying for several minutes about what obviously is incipient Alzheimer's.
■ Very strongly believing that having to stop places is a hassle. Ugh, I need gas? HASSLE! I'm out of milk? HASSLE! That cop car behind me has its lights on? HASSLE!
■ Buying sponges in bulk. I didn't do this before, but now I do, and I have a whole bunch of sponges under the sink as a result. I'm not sure why this is happening.
■ Printing recipes off the internet. A) I'm probably never going to make 98 percent of them and b) I could just look at the recipe on my phone or iPad as I cook. But nope, grandma here prints them on her horrible $30 printer with the $16 refillable bulk ink from Amazon that makes everything look terrible. Bon appétit.
And this isn't even a complete list! But it's a list that I know is getting longer and longer as the days and years slip away. It happens to all of us, yet I'm still so shocked that it is happening to me. Me! Of all people! I think it would be best if I went to bed.
Rachel Sauer is at email@example.com and would be very sympathetic to the weird things you're noticing as you age.