I am doing 2018 differently.

This year, I knocked out all three annual cat exam visits in January. Over the past ten days, I hauled each of my girls to the office and went through the checklist of shit that might be wrong.

They’re all in exceptional health. Roxy is a terrorist kitten. Molly lost a little weight but is otherwise healthy. Emma has some chin acne and needs a dental. It’s the first patch in a very long time where nobody is super-old, and my biggest concern is about how my cats look.

So, how do they look?

They’re adorable, of course. Look at my social feed where you’ll see that my cats are cute and full of personality. They’re all talkers, and they don’t just sit in the basement and scowl. I have three chatty little sisters who keep me company all day long.

But I found myself asking the weirdest questions at the vet. Does Emma’s fur seem a little yellow to you? Does Roxy look as smooth and glossy as she could be? I know Molly has allergies, but can we make her eyes a little brighter?

I realized, oh my god, I’m trying to get Instagram cats. Seriously, I’m trying to apply real-life filters to my cats so that mom can rake up the “likes.” In my head, I’m trying to make them accidentally famous. Do people do this with their kids? Critique appearances, pose them and apply filters?

Goddamn, the internet is awful. Then, when I turned my gaze on myself, I realize that I’ve been googling Eyelid Thermage on a regular basis because my birthday is taking a mental toll on me and my allergy-sensitive eyes are tired and crepey. I’ve been looking for a non-surgical way to enhance my appearance, and this is on my list because I’m insane.

I’m fine. My cats are fine. The internet is toxic. Nobody cares about my wrinkly eyes.

Knocking out the annual cat visits in combination with my birthday reminded me that we’re all getting old, but it’s also an opportunity to reframe the story that we are all healthy and still together. Molly and Emma have been with me since I lived in Michigan for a few years. Roxy is icing on the cupcake of my family. Sure, we’re older. But we are better for it. Bonded to our morning routine of boo-boo-kitty crunchies and afternoon noshes.

Instead of looking at the mirror of my social media accounts, I need to pay more attention to what’s happening in real life. Molly with the crusty gunk, Emma with the chin acne, Roxy with the crazy zoomies, and me with my tired eyes.

We’re unstoppable.