I’m turning 44 next week and while part of me says “Holy $h!t how can that be possible?”, there’s a deeper and calmer part of me that says “Bring it”.
When I was a teen I never thought I’d make it to 20. Not that I planned on dying, I just could not imagine myself being so old as to be 20. The worst possible thing would be happening. I would be an adult.
Well, I made it past 20 twice over (and a little bit). I still think the worst possible thing that could happen to me would to become an adult.
I had to go downtown in Calgary a couple of weeks ago to get my passport. It was cold out so we walked through the plus 15s to get to the Harry Hay’s building. While we were walking all the cool downtown businesspeople were out having their cool downtown business lunches. Some of them looked happy and excited to be there and some of them looked completely beaten down by life. What I thought as I walked past them was “Thank God this is not me. I would never be happy living this life down here. I’m so happy I chose a career path that keeps me out of an office.” I know people who have office jobs and love, love, love them. Me – not so much.
My kids have been known to say things like “We have to go to _________ and they said we need a responsible adult. You’re an adult mom, they don’t have to know you have the maturity of an 8 year old, try and see if you can pass it off.” And they say it with smiles on their faces. Because they have told me over and over how much better it is to have someone who loves to live life as their parent (they were around when I didn’t love to live life, so they know the difference).
It seems to me that once you’re in your 40s, unless you have cosmetic surgery (even then it only covers up so much), your face tells the world what kind of life you’ve lived. A lot of my peers look exhausted, run down and like most of the fun has been sucked from their lives. Others look happy and full of life (ojas) – they’re the ones the others talk about “how does she stay so happy and young looking?”
At our church we have “the candy man”. He’s an older man who sits up at the front of the church with a big bag of candy and passes out a piece to each child as they walk back from communion. Last week before church he walked up to me and gave me a tootsie roll, then as I was walking back from communion put his hand out to stop me and then gave me a whole handful of candy (I very inappropriately did a little happy dance in the aisle). I’d like to think he recognized that my inner child needed a little something sweet to get through the rest of service (I was the only adult to get candy). He’s also made me decide that in 50 years or so when I’m finally old I’m going to be “the candy lady”. In a church where so few of the kids know the “grandparent generation” he is loved and visited with by all of the kids.
I may still not be 100% sure what I’m going to be when I grow up. But I know what kind of life I want to live. I want to continue to be the mom singing along (badly) to Def Leppard at top volume while my kids cover their ears and yell “mom!!!!! aghhhhhh“. I want to continue to smile every day and wake up with the feeling of gratitude that the day ahead is going to be another wonderful day. Although my physical age may be increasing, I want my emotional age, my spiritual age, to remain at an age of happiness and joy.