Sunday Confessions: Ageing
My mom says age is just a number.
That our age doesn't define us. Only we can define ourselves.
She's a staunch believer that it's important to not take life too seriously.
That how we view life and live is a true reflection of our age and thats way more important than the year we were born.
And while all that is fine and dandy l can't help but notice she's taken to some new habits and changes in the past few years.
Her hands are gnarled with memories and brilliant blue veins clash with her pale paper skin.
She can walk into a room and walk back out wondering why she went in there in the first place.
Sometimes when watching the sun spill over her shoulders the silver stands out more than the brunette.
I can't help but notice that even though her spirit is young her body is not.
And l have no clue how that happened.
Seemingly it was just last year that she was giving me money for the icecream man, last month she was explaining what a menstrual cycle was, last week we were fighting about my teenage brattiness and it was just last night she was helping me pick out a college.
I'm not sure how it's legal for time to do that. Present itself to be everlasting but disappear in the blink of an eye.
When l was younger l used to wish to be older and now that l'm here l'm desperately looking for the brakes.
It hits you all of a sudden with sickening clarity when you're an adult. One day you realize that your interests have changed and you know 'stuff'.
Like adult stuff.
Like why you should put kitty litter in your trunk. You know where the water shut off valve is. Sleep is no longer overrated. You appreciate a toolbox and know it will be more necessary than a 12 pack of beer for a house warming gift. You amazingly remember what bills are due when and are skilled at being able to know which one you can short without screwing yourself. You talk about the weather. You know where laundry soap is on sale and have a reference for a good neurologist for your friends dad.
Somehow, we've gained confidence or the "l don't give a shit gene". Not sure which one really, but happy that l trust myself to make my own decisions and care about what truly makes me content.
And we talk about poop.
That's a sure sign we're aging. And we don't giggle about it. Our doctors ask us about it. Our mothers tell us about their bowel movements (well mine does but we've been known to overshare). Our friends get excited about their children pooping in the potty. Our pets poop and we have to clean it up. lf someone mentions a stomacache the first question we ask is if they've pooped.
I was not prepared for that.
But it becomes the norm. Not just talking about poo, but check ups and weather reports and genuinely concerned about how someone 'really is'.
Life comes at you fast. One minute you're fighting with your parents for a later curfew and the next your begging them to fight for their life.
And even though l can almost see time speeding up around me and am more comfortable going to baby showers than raves sometimes l feel like l was 17 yesterday not 12 years ago.
I thought for the longest time it was just me. That all my friends had this adult thing figured out and l was merely pretending, just coasting by. Until one night of margaritas and Milanos showed me l was so wrong. Here we were a group of women from different backgrounds. Some married, some single, some mothers, some employed or in college all wondering who let us grow up.
It was truth or dare time, which really just means a game of truths so we can ask the questions we've been dying to. l was asked if l felt like if being an adult was all it was cracked up to be.
There was a momentary pause then my floodgates bursted. Every insecurity about me being an 'adult' and doing it wrong came to light.
After my three minute tirade l expected uncomfortable silence til we moved on to the next question. Screw them if they judge me for being real. (That's the not giving a shit gene l referenced earlier that comes with age...and margaritas).
But no sooner than l went to take a sip everyone else chimed in excitedly.
They felt they were a bad mom, they didn't know if they were in the right career or how they were going to pay off college or help take care of an ailing parent.
lt was so refreshing to know we weren't the only ones struggling with this growing up thing.
Aging can be a difficult bridge to cross. lt's realizing that time is both our friend and our enemy.
We don't want to move our feet forward in fear of missing life because it's moving so fast. But it's standing still that's our death. Not growing, not changing, not adapting that will kill us the quickest. We have to accept our aging bridge it's a part of our beautiful world.
The funny thing is we've been on that bridge our entire lives. We're just now realizing it because we've seen how short some peoples bridges have been.
It's coming to terms with the circle of life and that can be difficult.
Seeing your mother who could carry the world on her shoulders looking defeated with tubes in, and monitors on because of a heart attack is terrifying.
Seeing your baby cousin with her beautiful children is heart warming.
Noticing the wrinkles map of where smiles have stayed and eyebrows were delighted by surprising news on your grandpas face can be shocking.
lt doesn't judge or discriminate, it just marches on whether or not we are ready for it to move forward.
And the only way to combat aging is to accept it. Trust me. Aging is time and experience showing itself to you.
It's showing itself by not allowing you to recover like how you did in your twenties after an all nighter. lt's making itself known by making you regret the spicy food after 9:00 p.m. lt's rearing it's ugly head so you understand far more about hospital bills and planning a funeral than you've ever wanted to know.
Aging is also our best friend. lt shows us how important it is to cherish every day and enjoy each moment. lt's a reminder that no matter how planned out we have our lives everything under the sun will intervene til we get knocked on the path we're suppossed to be on. lt reminds us to say 'l love you' every chance we get and take the opportunity when it knocks because you never know if you'll get the chance again.
I think there's a widely thought misconception that becoming older equates weakness. l feel it's the opposite. lt's the time that we get to revel in what we know and allow ourselves to be comfortable in who we are. lt's seeing failure and loss, life and love, pain and grief, happiness and joy, war and peace and knowing life goes on.
Witnessing all that does not make one weak, it gives them a profound strength they carry with them daily.
Aging is beautiful and scary, but inevitable. So we may as well embrace it and the only way to do it is with open arms and a youthful spirit.