Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Catching 40 in the Headlights

Every once in awhile, I catch myself.  40 is just around the corner, and I'm not that "young" anymore.  Sometimes, it blows my mind to think that I have a child who is in the third grade.  I'm not old enough for that, right?  Of course, to keep things in perspective, I remind myself that at 40, my mom had 2 girls in college and another (me) finishing high school, aged 20, 19 and almost 18.  I'm definitely not old enough for that, right?

I remember being in 7th grade and thinking that the juniors and seniors looked so mature.  I still look at my senior picture from high school and think "I look so young!"  I also think "boy, were we ever clueless."  Even now, when I see people who were just a few years ahead of me in school, I still think they look so much more mature than me.  How is that possible?  And yet, when I look closely in the mirror, I see those lines that will never go away, I see the signs of the time on my face.

My generation has an interesting place in history.  We used to have to look things up in books and encyclopedias, sometimes waiting for weeks to check something out at the library.  Our news came from daily papers and the 6 o'clock evening news (on one of three channels.). Our children have never known life without instant gratification, and it is all hand held.  They get their news instantaneously, sometimes even before the dust has settled.

My generation has witnessed technology develop at an alarming rate and watched society struggle to keep up.  Our children are teaching our parents how to use computers.

And here I sit, struggling with the idea of age.  It is just a number, right?  You're only as old as you feel, right?  And yet, somehow, on some of those days, I feel much older.  At 31, my body bounced back pretty well from child number one.  The weekly or even bi-weekly trip to the gym was sufficient to keep things toned and healthy.  At 36, after child number 2, the spirit was still willing but the body...not so much.  Now bruises last longer, falls are harder, twists and sprains hurt more and seem to take longer to heal.  We have turned into those "weekend warriors" we used to laugh at.  No longer the indefatigable varsity athlete, we are only half joking when we ask for an oxygen tank on the sideline.  We really do know what Bruce Springsteen is talking about in "Glory Days."  We really did have a friend who back in high school was a big baseball player, or another who could turn all the boys' heads.  Now we are raising kids and hoping they aren't half as stupid as we were back then.

A small irony in my own struggle with the annual dousing of the flames of wax is that my little one is getting older.  Now in preschool, I sometimes find myself wishing she would walk faster, be able to keep up, and not need the stroller or the nap.  Then I look into that little face, remind myself that she is only 3 and hope that the clock will slow down and that those calendar pages will stop turning quite so fast.  I want more time with her just to play and snuggle and not have to worry about after-school activities or what someone said in class or bullies.

Can we just stop the calendar for awhile?  I'll avoid the "big 4-0" for a little while longer and my baby will stay my baby for a few more precious years.  That  is o.k., right?  As I sit here typing this, my knee hurts from playing basketball yesterday and I'm somewhat dreading the need to train for a 10K run coming up in a few weeks.

I suppose that if we continue to have birthdays it means that we are alive and well.  If we continue to have them surrounded by friends and family, that means we are blessed to have those relationships that many may not.  If our children are there to help us blow out the candles, we are perhaps even more blessed.

Marketing people like to say that 40 is the new 30 (who else tells us this stuff).  I'm not exactly sure what that means, but if it means that at 40, I can be a mom with a career and still have a life of my own and be "hip" once in awhile, then I guess I'm o.k. with that.  I will continue to go to rock concerts even though some of them are too loud (my ears must be getting old) and I will continue to ride roller coasters and laugh and giggle my way through Disneyland.  Of course, as an added bonus - as B and K get older, I can embarrass them just a bit, too by doing those things.  Because I'm not that old, yet.

To my friends who have already hit 40 this year or will be doing so in the next few months, I'm right there with you.  Still younger, but there with you.  And we've got this.