When I was rolling up on my fiftieth birthday, someone said to me, “Isn’t fifty the new forty?”
I shook my head. “It’s pretty much the same old fifty. Not much new about it.”
Even with plastic surgery, science and eating a miserably healthy diet, we all still get older. Those birthdays roll around, whether you like them or not.
I don’t actually mind getting older. It’s just…
When I hadn’t been a mom very long, I asked my mom when I’d feel like a grown-up. She told me she’d let me know. Still haven’t gotten that phone call. I used to wonder what she meant when she insisted she still didn’t feel it. And I’d think, you’re my mom! Surely you feel it. You’re a grown-up.
I’ve lived my life, watched the years roll past, our kids have grown into really cool adults, and gravity has gone to work on my body (and not in a good way).
As each decade came and went, I kept waiting to feel it, to feel older, to feel old. To feel wise, to feel venerable. I rolled over the half decade mark without feeling it. Now I’m closing on the big six-0. Not to that birthday yet, but I can see it out there, getting closer. Not this year, but soon.
And I have to say, it is nothing like I expected. There are a few more aches and pains. I don’t “bounce back.” I splat, but I don’t bounce. Not anymore. Ever. I tried a trampoline, thinking that kind of bouncing would work. Yeah, didn’t got well. Gravity is really cranky.
But here’s the weird part: I don’t feel that different. I still feel like me. Inside me is that little girl, holding her dad’s hand. The teenager who wondered what she’d be “when she grew up.” The new mom. The wife. The author. The old mom. The un-trophy wife. The hermit. The reader. I still like to read–and write–about a girl and a guy looking at each other for the first time and feeling that tingle down the spine that means they’re going to fall in love.
Now I understand what my grandmother meant when she said, she’d look in the mirror and wonder who that old woman was. I’m inside me, looking out of my face, not into it, so I go along, living my life, feeling like me. Sometimes I even feel sassy and not that old and then I catch sight of what you all see and think, holy crap, who is that? And then it’s, oh crap, that’s me! Sometimes I really do look like a stranger to me. It’s a very weird feeling.
I’m more than the sum of all the things I’m done. Not just the sum of my years and the damage the living has done to the outside.
Even though I have earned every gray hair, laugh line (grin) and muscular surrender to gravity the hard way, and I plan to keep them, thank you very much, I can kind of see why people go for plastic surgery. They want to look on the outside, like they feel on the inside.
If you’re young, you won’t believe me. If you’re older, then you’re probably nodding your head and thinking, oh yeah. And maybe you’re also thinking, nope, didn’t see it coming. If you did see it coming, then you are wiser than me, which is also something I thought would happen as I got older. I really thought I’d feel wise. Does anyone know what wise is supposed to feel like? I know what I thought it would be, but not what it is.
So, those of you ahead of me in birthdays, has it hit yet? Is there a line you cross where you suddenly feel old? Where you feel wise? Being sick doesn’t count! And those of you who are younger, do you think I’m just a bat crap, crazy old lady?
All comments are entered into my monthly drawing for $10 AnaBanana gift card, whether you are old or young. Winner is announced in the first blog post of the new month.
Perilously, and always and forever the same, until I die and beyond, yours,
Because I still love to read and write about falling in love, I’ve written 13 novels where a guy and a gal fall in love. And in some of them there is shooting and explosions, or space battles with shooting and explosions. For more information about my books, hop over to my website at paulinebjones.com.