T Minus 40: Baby Teeth

Maybe I hold onto things too long…

I’m 39 years old and I still have baby teeth. Two of them. The first bottom molar on either side of my mouth is a primary tooth. It’s an oddity. People are charmed by it. Of course, you know the conversation has taken a turn towards boring when you have to bring up your 39-year-old molars to keep things lively.

When I first got the X-rays that revealed the lack of permanent teeth in those positions the dentist told me they would probably be ok until I was around 30. Then I would need to consider my options for replacements, either a bridge or dental implants. I was not looking forward to that decision. I’m happy to say those suckers are still holding on in there (especially because I have no dental insurance) and they don’t appear to going anywhere any time soon.

It’s weird turning 40 and noticing how old some of your stuff is. It started with realizing my teeth were ten years past their predicted expiration date. Then it dawned on me that Yves and I have been using the same picnic/beach blanket since like ’97, and it wasn’t new then! That’s when I started to feel like I was getting older. It occurred to me that I’ve sat on that beach blanket and played the same guitar for 18 years, although there was a span of time after I cut off the tip of my finger that she didn’t see much action.

One of my favorite t-shirts is from a school program I participated in at Johns Hopkins when I was in 7th and 8th grade. I still wear it. Although, I recently retired it as a workout shirt to preserve it. I would still have had two of them, but while cleaning out my dresser in my 20s I decided that I didn’t need two of the same shirt. Had I known that sucker would last 27 years, I would have kept it. The other day I found a picture of myself at the beach in ’97 or ’98 wearing a black hoodie, I looked closer and recognized it as the black hoodie that’s hanging on my hallway coat rack right now. That thing has stories!

I still have the set of towels that I took to college with me, although they mainly get used by the dog now. Until recently, I had the matching bathrobe. OK, the robe was getting pretty worn out, but I would have kept it if Yves hadn’t gotten me a new one for Christmas. I had to make him throw the old one away when I wasn’t looking though. I’d grown pretty attached.

Sure, we all have mementos and keepsakes, but to notice day to day items that have been in my life for so long got me thinking that maybe turning 40 isn’t all that big a deal. Obviously my needs haven’t changed much if I still wear a Betsey Johnson dress I bought in 2001 all the time. I call it vintage now.

Memories lie dormant inside these items for years, but when they finally speak up it’s like an old friend who just knows all your stories. Maybe things were better made 20 years ago, maybe I hold onto things too long or maybe I’m just cheap, but at least when I say to some kid, I have bras older than you, I’m not lying.


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