One day it dawns on you that you really can’t cop to being in your forties when your son is almost thirty–although I am from the South…and complex math is not my strong suit.
When a bartender who looks like he never had to live through the indignities of the 70’s nor even the rebound of the 80’s tells you that the drink you just ordered is the drink of middle-aged women everywhere. (Between you and me, he didn’t deserve to live….but he wasn’t worth the jail time.) You give him a jaundiced eye and ask him why it seemed like a good idea to tell you that. And he shrugs and says, “You want to avoid stereotypes , you know. Okay, maybe he was worth the jail time….
You realize that somehow the word f**cking became an adjective and you missed it.
Standing in the checkout line at the grocery store you realize you don’t recognize anyone on the covers of the various tabloids.
When your kids are listening to some of the classic music from their past and you weigh in waxing poetic about the Stones and Led Zepplein, Chicago and Sir Elton and the kids look at you like you shouldn’t be allowed out in public without a keeper and a leash. So, you pull up info on these bands on the Internet and get a good look a Mick Jagger…..and realize he must’ve been injecting embalming fluid all these years. You close your computer and tell your kids to ignore you, which they do most of the time anyway.
When you need to heed the call of nature in the middle of the night and you lie there contemplating whether it will hurt more to lie there ignoring the current situation or to get up and hobble to the bathroom.
When you finally realize your mother was right when she told you that rarely does anything good happen after midnight. In fact, in thinking about it, you can’t remember the last time you stayed up to midnight (yes, those of us in the Pacific Time Zone are thrilled in New Year’s Eve when we can watch the ball drop in Times Square, clink out glasses and call it a new year and a good night.)
But there are some good things to being older than I ever thought I’d be:
I have tons of grist for the writing mill.
I enjoy the pleasure of my own company over the thrill of the chase, and a good book over an average dinner date. And the company of my kids and good friends over everything.
I know it is an incontrovertible truth that most people are not what they seem.
I can say whatever I want and people act like that’s to be expected. My son will roll his eyes and say, “You know Mom.” I’m down with that….as the kids say.
I can content myself with having “good bone structure” and ignore the fact that my ass seems to be taking growth hormones.
I am who I am and other peoples’ opinions are their own business. And when someone feels compelled to tell me they didn’t really like the book I’ve written, I shrug it off and tell them they’re entitled to think that way…..then I promptly write them out of my will.
Hey, being a grown up is still a work in progress–two steps forward, one step back. I’m not perfect. And I did have sort of a heart-stopping moment this morning. Enthused with my new commitment to fitness, I decided to drive out to this place I know where I can walk a nice loop and get lots of change in elevation to challenge my heart. On my second loop, my brain suddenly came online….and I couldn’t remember having put on my pants. I reached down and sighed with relief. I had put them on, I just didn’t remember doing it.
I am one step away from a truly embarrassing moment. I’d better pay more attention….if only I could muster the energy to control my brain. But then I’d have to remember I need to….
The other day I was with a group of outstanding women of all ages. One of my dearest friends told the group that we could talk about anything other than our health, because, if we started talking about that then we’d know we are old.
And we are, for the most part. But with age comes, if not wisdom, at least perspective….God can be cruel but she wouldn’t be so much so as to not give us something valuable in exchange for all the aches and pains and wrinkles and….gravity issues.
So, if you could go back in time, what is the one well-earned pearl of wisdom you know now but wish you’d known then?