This week is my birthday, so I thought I would write about aging.
I came across a particularly relevant quote from 80s rocker, Pat Benatar…”I have enjoyed every age I’ve been, and each has had its own individual merit. Every laugh line, every scar, is a badge I wear to show I’ve been present, the inner rings of my personal tree trunk that I display proudly for all to see. Nowadays, I don’t want a “perfect” face and body; I want to wear the life I’ve lived.”
There are some things in life you just cannot change, no matter how much you would like to do so. Getting older is one of those things. The harsh reality is today is the youngest I will ever be. Although the idea of getting older causes many people sadness, sometimes even depression, in my mind it makes more sense to face it squarely. For me that means concentrating on being the healthiest (physically/mentally/emotionally/spiritually) 44-year-old woman I can be.
I will admit there were a couple of things about my age that gave me pause this week. One of them was standing in the line of the high school cafeteria with my fourteen-year-old son as he got his picture taken for a school I.D. He asked me if I felt old standing in the room with so many teenagers. I said no, although in truth it did cause me to look a little closer at the crowd surrounding me. What I observed was how much more mature looking the girls were than the boys. And, more importantly, I fully realized that no matter how old I get, I never want to relive my teen years. Honestly. It’s such a gawky, awkward time in life. Trying to figure out who you are, how to fit in, keeping up with who is your friend and who is just playing mind games…no thanks, going through it once was more than enough.
The other thing that caused me to reflect on time/age was my eldest son’s 25th birthday this weekend. I find it staggering that I have been participating in the parenting game for a quarter of a century. Especially in light of how much parenting I have left to do. And I’ll tell you this, God has a sense of humor. I know this because He gave me the daughter I always wanted last. You see, I was 36 when Nick graduated from high school, so I considered myself somewhat hip and relatable. When Mia graduates I will be staring double fives in the face. I often wonder how the hell I am going to be relatable and hip at that age. Not cool, I left that behind a long time ago (assuming of course that I ever possessed “coolness”)…but relatable, you know, with an ability to understand all the changes, challenges and confusion of being a teenage girl. That will definitely take some skill when I am in my 50s!
Looking a little closer at Ms. Benatar’s quote, I especially like the end, “I don’t want the “perfect” face and body; I want to wear the life I’ve lived.” It took me a lot of years to feel comfortable in my own skin and to figure out who I am and what really matters in my life. To be honest, I would say that has only happened in the last year or so. And while my body is beginning to show all the traditional signs of age [wrinkles/crows feet, some gray hairs poking through my highlights, cellulite on my hips and stomach, blah blah blah], on the inside I could not be more excited and energized about the coming year(s) and what they have in store for me. A career helping others navigate recovery, volunteering my time where I think I can make a difference, continuing to work on my relationship with God, my husband and my children, enjoying the time I have left with my parents…these are just a few of the many things that make my life so worth living. Not to mention continuing to write, which is a hobby that gives me a great deal of pleasure.
A BIG thank you to all of those people who have taken the time to read, comment and support my writing during the last year. It means more to me than I could ever put into words.