Thursday, April 26, 2012

Five for Five: Age

I heading towards the big 4-0 in a little over a year.  I know I should not be too worried.  Forty is the new thirty.  I have over a year to get over it.  I understand all of that.  Really, I do.

But I have a son who is going to start middle school in the fall.  I have a son who will begin Kindergarten in the fall.  I can't be young and have a middle school-er, can I?  I mean, do you remember what your parents and your friends' parents seemed like when you were twelve?  I'll say it for you: ANCIENT.

Somehow, the idea of a middle school aged kid and a Kindergartener shouldn't go together.  I mean, they are both monumental milestones.  Forty: a monumental milestone.  I am a little freaked out.  


And I kind of feel sorry for my husband.  

Can you imagine what things are going to be like?  Mommy is turning forty and running from a midlife crisis in sensible (read: old lady) shoes while her baby is starting school for real and her oldest is going through pre-teen, emotional, pre-adolescent bullshit. 

Yeah.  Life will be grand.  Please note that this statement is oozing in sarcasm.

So I have done what any sensible woman would do (besides wonder how the hell I got to here).  I booked a cruise.

I know what many of you who have followed my blog for a while and remember last year's ill-planned cruise are thinking.  But I was smart this time.

I know no one in my household will be making a major religious sacrament.

I know that everyone will have testing in April. 

I know when the last day of school is in 2013 (no eye rolling, please.)

I made sure we leave two days AFTER the last day, making it virtually impossible to screw this up.

Except that we won't be celebrating my fortieth on the ship, because my big day is the day before.

Nor will we be celebrating my husband's fortieth (as he is quick to point out, I am eleven days older), because we get back before his big day.

And I'm okay with that.  I want to be in the comfort of my own home, frantically packing for five when it hits. 

I wonder if it will hurt.

I guess my biggest problem is that my mind cannot accept this.  I don't feel older than 25, at most. And maybe there is the crux of the issue.  In my head, I am 25.  My body says otherwise if I carry too many groceries at one time or I try to scoop my sleeping five year old to bed.  My body screams: NO!!  You are not 25.  You are there.  Where you thought you would never be.  You are arriving at middle age.  Shit.

It took me most of my life to finally be comfortable in my own skin.  I have a better clue of what I am doing now in most areas of my life.  I can live in my own head now; the noise has considerably gotten quieter.   I have finally found the courage to be the person I thought I could be.  I have challenged myself physically (6 half marathons in a year, yo!).  I have pushed myself to do the impossible (have you tried to keep three boys clean, groomed, fed and entertained while holding down a full time job?) and still manage to want to try new things (like assisted handstands in yoga or getting up each morning and doing it all again).

How can it be that the calendar says what it says?

I suppose that it is the amount of milestones that we will be celebrating in early June 2013 that has me grasping.  A son finishing his first year of middle school and inching towards 13.  A middle son ready to start his last year of elementary school.  A baby boy finishing his Kindergarten year.  Mom AND Dad reaching middle age.

Any of these, by themselves, are enough to have you reeling, even just a teensy bit.  If broken up into chewable pieces, you can savor each one separately, brace yourself for the next one.  But all of them simultaneously is a lot to get used to in a short amount of time.

This passage of time is relentless.  You don't get to just stop at your favorite part and linger for a while.  It goes by FAST and furious.  Good and bad.  All of it.  The photographs chronicle.  Looking back, it seems like 5 minutes ago.  And that's the cruelty.  There is no time to lament.  Enjoy it NOW.  Or it will seem so five minutes ago, but really be five years ago in the blink of an eye.

And, really, that's all age is.  Time.  Time your ticker has been ticking.  What you have done with the time you have been allotted.  What you have done with the body you were assigned.  What you are going to do to make up for the things you wish you had done differently. 

Age means that you know the difference.  You have the wisdom to discern, to change tactics, and make it okay.

In the end, the extra little lines that make their debut slowly on your face, you've earned.  I would rather have earned them smiling, laughing my ass off (if ONLY that were true!), and etch them deeper in my face by continuing to live on my terms.

I mean, 40 is 30 with ten years experience, right?


  1. Slip on those sensible middle-age shoes with excellent arch support and stand firm. You can do it! =>

  2. I love this ... I wrote today about in spite of all the pieces of evidence that pile up hinting that I'm an adult, I still sometimes feel like a teenager sometimes. My daughter is going into 4th grade and it outright shocks me when I think about it. I think your cruise plan sounds perfect!

  3. Getting older has its privileges- booking a cruise is one of them. I hope that this cruise will be everything you dream of.


  4. I spent my 40th in Mexico. Believe me, 40 goes down easier with a cocktail in your hand! ;)

  5. This fall will see my oldest in middle school and my baby in kindy -- and it has me in knots. The beauty of living in the South is that I'm one of the older parents of the kindy kids and the younger parents of the middle schoolers. It's a weird sandwich of ages.

  6. Ah, I know a lovely sensibly shod lady who's baby in is kindergarten and eldest is in college. I'm sure she's still 30, right?

    No. 40 is just 30 with a record. So much more interesting.

  7. I am approaching 40 soon too. I've realized the older I get, the more comfortable I feel sinking into my skin. You are right... age is not only knowing the difference, but willing to speak up about it.

  8. Turning 40 was a cinch - didn't mind it in the least - except for that food poisoning that ruined my ski trip. And just for a little perspective - when I turned 40 my oldest was a freshman in high school and my youngest in kindergarten. Ouch! I have three boys too - nice to meet you!

  9. So, I'm turning 40 in a few months. But, see, well, Sweetie is 52. SO. I'm basically not able to have any reaction at all. I will ALWAYS be YOUNG. Which is good, except it's kind of strange, too. Anywayyyy, you know I enjoyed this. The sarcasm, the real, the cruise. WOW! Am really enjoying being back here, Maria!


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