My eyebrow hairs stayed a uniform length for the better part of five decades and suddenly they have ambition.
I need to keep my feet warm and bundled all the time around the house. The other day I caught myself shuffling. Shuffling! It’s a slipper-y slope.
Clearly, getting older is not good for my self-esteem, and if there’s anything I’ve learned from raising children it’s that self-esteem is more important than grammar, math and moving out of your parents’ house.
That’s why I’ve decided I need to indulge in some self-care.
Self-care is a relatively new concept. It’s what we used to call “self-indulgence,” except now it’s smoothies instead of Oreos, yoga instead of whiskey and adult colouring books instead of adult videos.
In the wake of a great shock, self-care allows people to focus on their own needs. For example, self-care can help someone recover from Donald Trump, who, ironically, was elected by people focused on their own needs.
Self-care is different from self-help. Self-help is a means of changing yourself. Self-care, on the other hand, is a means of making sure change can’t find you cowering under a blanket.
As in an airplane emergency, wherein you should place the oxygen mask on yourself before attempting to place it on your child, so too in self-care you should avoid airplanes at all cost because those things are deathtraps.
Self-care is the selfie of the soul (hashtag mental health, hashtag inspire, hashtag hashbrowns).
But if ever there was a trend I can get behind, it’s one that’s all about putting me first. If they come up with everyone-agree-with-me-care, I’ll get on board with that too.
So today, as I turn 51, one card short of a full deck and surrounded by jokers, here is my self-care plan that will, I can assure you, involve cake.
I begin my day with a long soak in a bath filled with orgacha berries, renowned for their soothing qualities and scent of quality hotel rooms, as well as eucalyptus treacle and hand-husked quinoa, which offer the kind of powerful exfoliating properties you don’t want to turn your back on.
After I have unclogged the bathtub drain and picked the quinoa husks out of my beard, I dress myself in a traditional loose-fitting garment known in French Colonial Africa as “les pantalons froufrou.” This is followed by 15 minutes of meditation, during which no one is allowed to use the toaster. It’s complicated, but it’s my self-care, so no questions asked.
Meditation, incidentally, is very important for self-care because it quiets the mind. If ever our society’s vast problems are to be solved, it will be through not thinking. I, for one, will not be thinking about turning 51 and the fact that I was born the same day as Scottish actress Shirley Henderson, best known for her role as Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter films. I will, however, be moaning.
Many people swear by the need to properly hydrate as part of their self-care regimen. Hydrating is the same as drinking water except two gallons a day and never from the tap. I, personally, choose not to indulge in hydrating because I am a 51-year-old male whose imminent hobbies include knowing where all the public restrooms are.
Even though it’s my birthday, I don’t want people making a fuss over me. No singing. It’s embarrassing, and embarrassment is positively negative. My self-care vis-à-vis my birthday is for everyone to be aware of my birthday but not actually mention it. Simply thinking of me constantly will do, preferably with great fondness, verging on reverence. There is no need for actual eye contact. Only cake.
In fact, if people could simply drop off their gifts (cakes) without bothering me, that would be great. This is a self-care day, after all, and it’s unreasonable to expect me to care about other people too.
Of course, self-care does involve eating right. Again: cake, obviously. But also a diet rich in vegetables, fibre, nuts, artisanal fling beans, wolf-milk cheeses, Cornish hackberries, avian phlegm curd, Burundi lizard tarts, itemized kale fragments and – it goes without saying – gluten substitute.
At last, as I rub the emollient-rich shoe polish into my skin, I end my self-care day with a self-affirmation. I tell myself I’m good, I’m strong and I have a full half-century of wisdom to draw on, not counting those first three years when I peed my pants.
And finally, I let everyone know about my self-care journey, because if you don’t tweet it, it never happened (hashtag blessed).