Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Is age really just a number?

Ok, so as you've gotten older, have you noticed the years piling up a lot faster than they used to? 

Birthdays seem to come at warp speed and you gradually begin feeling like an overwhelmed batter, stuck at home plate, ducking and dodging for survival. Or perhaps crouching and wheezing. 

If only that pitcher would slow down, just a little, maybe we could limp, awkwardly, to the sidelines and slump over the bench, unnoticed...

I remember, clearly, a time when I wanted to be 16 so bad because then i would finally be able to make that penultimate trip to the DMV every child dreams of, and every parent dreads. You know, where they give your Jenny permission to sit behind the wheel of a car, most likely your car, and drive out on the open road where speed limits reach a staggering 65. And half-blind seniors hold their wheel in a paper thin death grip, lest the urge to top 35 miles per hour suddenly overtake them.

Yup, you know.

But that was only the beginning. After 16, the next target was 18, because that meant high school would be a thing of the past and I could start earning money working at our local library. With the accrued cash in my pocket generously outweighing my monthly bills, I couldn't wait to be a mature 21. Everything was just cooler once you left the teens, right? I was on to bigger and better things. 

I liked 21 a lot and decided it would be nice to stay there for a while. It was the perfect compromise between young and adult. I got the respect I wanted without too much pressure to change my still slightly childish ways.

My 22nd birthday came and went with only a little shrug on my part. Another year, no big deal. After 23, though, I began experiencing a twinge of reluctance to turn 24. Somehow, that was too close to 25, which meant I'd be a middle aged 20.  

(And yes, I imagine some eye rolling, along with a few groans of "I wish I were still that young." Believe me, I get it.)

Well, that moderately dreaded 25 came and went, but it was nothing compared to 26. Let me tell you, I pretended to be outwardly happy, but inside, the number danced around my brain like a cat chasing its tail. 

Summer arrived and with it, 27. Ugh, I was over the hill and on my way to the big 3-0. I thought about applying wrinkle cream because surely those lines would be showing up in droves now. For once, I was happy that my pasty white Irish skin had seen less sun than most vampires.

Right after turning 28, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. Amid the excitement and busyness of her impending birth, a new year started and, with it, one last stop before 30.

Dum dum. Those dreaded numbers which send a chill down my spine and keep me reaching for the age defying masks.

I'm currently in that limbo between two age brackets, waiting for May to boot me over the fence with a kick of finality. 

But if age is only a state of  mind, why does it matter so much? Why am I obsessing like an OCD fanatic jacked up on mountain dew? Perhaps it's because I have no control over this particular aspect of my life. Or maybe I envy Peter Pan's world of never never land...

Whatever the reason, I'm trying to stay positive and upbeat.  I have no idea what's waiting for me on the other side of 20 something, but I'm hoping it's good.

Al though I won't say my birthday and I are best buds, we are at least on speaking terms. Hey, if it brings me gifts and a free burger at Red Robin, there should be a small, grudging, level of respect, right?

While I still haven't conquered my turning older phobia, and maybe never will, I'm trying to live in the moment and not focus so much on the age thing. I gotta say, watching my daughter grow before my eyes, brings a whole new level of "time flies" to my awareness.

I'm aware that I want to take part in my life fully, not as a spectator watching from the sidelines, but as the person in the middle, actively taking those swings, even if they don't always garner massive home runs.

I want to be comfortable in my own skin, crow's feet be darned, so numbers won't control my happiness or sense of worth. 

Hey, I'm a work in progress, so be patient with me. 

My new favorite quote:

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