Well friends, here we are!
On this, my 51st birthday, I would like to thank you all for following me here! I felt that launching on my birthday was a gift to myself I’d always remember and I am grateful you are all here to celebrate with me.
I hope in the following weeks and months to come that you enjoy these posts; that some of them will resonate; that you’ll leave me a comment; that you’ll want to share with others; or maybe one of them will just give you a good chuckle for the day.
So without further ado: I feel like I’ve forgotten something….
I keep waiting.
One of these days, someone from the birthday police is going to track me down and say “We’re terribly sorry,” (and I always hear it in an uppercrusty English accent) “but you’re not really as old as you think you are.” And I look at my driver’s license, and suddenly I see The Math has been all wrong all this time, and I’m NOT as many years old as the bad, faulty Math led me to believe (I also get bonus happy points because in this scenario, The MATH is wrong which is a total 180 from our usual relationship).
It’s not that I had a problem with 30, 40, 50, or even 51 (we’ll see how the rest of the decade shakes out; I’ll keep you posted). But in my head, well, I’m just not old enough to be in my 50s.
I’m not sure when The Math first started going wrong. I remember thinking – briefly – when Z was born “Am I really old enough (ie, responsible enough?) to have this little person entrusted to me?” I was (only) 35. And it was only a brief thought because, well, then ‘being a Mom’ happened and I haven’t had time to have a longer, more leisurely thought since, unless I hide in the bathroom or the walk-in closet (although the cats have discovered me there, and if you have cats, you know there’s no time for yourself, only for them). But every now and then, there are moments in time that I think “I can’t possibly be this old…right?”
Moments such as:
-When you stop being carded.
-When staying out past 10pm is enough to throw you off all the next day (remember when you could stay out with friends until 2am and still function just fine at work?).
-The first morning you wake up and something/everything hurts – and you didn’t even have a good time getting that way.
-When your doctor is suddenly younger than you.
-You get called “Ma’am” (does “Sir” bother men as much?)
-When you look at your child’s homework and think “they just aren’t teaching it the way they used to” – and you hear it in your grandpa’s voice.
-When the waiter/waitress starts carding you (and let’s face it, they know full well you’re over 21) because they think it’s going to score them points and get them a bigger tip (which it might).
And then the inevitable comparisons to your parents creep in. Your subconscious is trying to get a grip:
“My parents weren’t this much fun when THEY were (insert age here).”
“My parents looked a lot older when THEY were (insert age here).”
“My parents acted a lot older than I do when THEY were (you know the drill).”
And of course, we have the catch phrases that are supposed to make us all feel so much younger: “40 is the new 30.” “50 is the new 40.” And I kid you not, I just saw “60 is the new 50.” It’s only a matter of time before we see and hear “70 is the new 60,” (is anyone else starting to believe a Baby Boomer must have come up with this idea of bumping us all back a decade?) I do think we’ll all need to be more than a little scared when they start skipping decades all together. If I read “80 is the new 25” I’m outta here. That’s just bad voodoo and that can’t be good for you.
No wonder I feel like I’m off a few years. You, too?
If I stop to really think about it, though, I really do not mind aging. I’ve had some pretty amazing moments. I am a better parent. I’m open to more ideas. I DO mind the mystery aches and the fact that some things just don’t work like they used to (and ok, I really don’t like being called “ma’am”). But I DON’T mind having the knowledge not to make the same mistakes I used to. I DON’T mind feeling completely comfortable in my own skin now. I DON’T mind that I am much more choosey about the battles I’ll wage. As for the ones requiring a fight? I will attack with more ferocity and heart than anyone ever thought possible. And I’ll win now.
I guess that’s what all those heartbreaks and mean girls and unfair decisions – and fireworks and best friends and sometimes just pure luck – were meant to eventually teach us. What I’ve realized now is that we needed to listen to the lessons at 10, 20, 40 to really “get” the message that everything changes, and this too shall pass, and there’s SO much MORE out there! That our actual digital age has nothing to do with anything. That’s why, if we’re really diligent in our studies and pay attention to what the World is trying to teach us, we’ll understand all the sooner that the number doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with who we really are, but what we do during those digital intervals has EVERYTHING to do with it. The lesson, it seems, is in the journey. And haven’t we really always known that? We just need to take it to heart sooner.
So if you see the birthday police wandering around my neighborhood, go ahead and send them my way. And when they say (in their uppercrusty accent) that I’m not as old as I think, I’ll tell them “No, I’m good, thanks.”
Until Friday, Friends. Cheers!