Before I get into what I really want to say, let me say this: for months, I published five pieces a week and loved doing it. However, writing that much is a lot of work and I just cannot do it these days. I don’t have the energy. Still, I love writing and (even more) love hearing from you all; so, I have decided to write weekly on Mondays and Thursdays. From time to time (like today) I’ll throw something else in just because it’s on my mind; but, I commit to writing at least on those two days of the week to give the site more predictability.
Now, on with the show……….
A few years ago, my dad and I were discussing age and what it feels like. I marveled that 40 just didn’t feel like I thought it would. He chuckled and said that neither did 72! He had expected to be in a rocker on the front porch yelling at neighborhood kids to get off the lawn. Instead, he was out fighting forest fires and slinging a chainsaw removing downed trees from roads.
Most of my coworkers are significantly younger than I am – in fact, I’m old enough to be the mother of many of them. However, because we perform the same job and because I don’t know them in any other age context (like a friend of my son), I forget that I am not their contemporary. I was reminded last night.
A credit to her mother, one coworker called me “ma’am” about five times in the space of as many minutes. I wanted to choke her. Finally, I said, “Call me “ma’am” one more time. I wantcha to.” She laughed and said that she was just being respectful. I get that and, like I said, she’s a credit to her mother. However, with each iteration, I felt myself becoming more stooped and stiff. I’m pretty sure I even sprouted a few grey hairs. (Thank goodness for Miss Clairol! We are TIGHT, I tell ya.)
Another coworker was ragging on my elevated energy at having heard Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way” just before exiting the car. “It was a good song, like, ten years ago,” he said. I guess that made the song classic rock and me an old fossil. Grrrr.
I thought I would be this Having It All Together Woman at this age, but I’m not. I don’t. And, honestly, I don’t think all that many of us do. I think that we do the best we can with what we have every single day. We hope that our decisions are right and we learn from them when they are not.
I think I have a clue as to why over 40s are reluctant to give their exact ages. If I say, “46” I’m afraid you hear, “nearly 50.” And there is a part of even me that still thinks of 50 as old even though I know it isn’t. My body, my mind and my emotions are certainly much different than they were when I was younger; however, in large part, my spirit still feels about 25. It dreams. It appreciates beauty. It laughs at the absurd. And it grieves when it feels hurt.
Age hasn’t changed my spirit the way I thought it would. Maybe, if they live long enough, these children will realize that, too. However, if they keep on with the “ma’ams” and ragging on Lenny, they may not make it.