How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon? – Dr. Seuss
(No makeup. More than twenty-four hours since my last shower. And nursing the last of a head cold. This is my face. I will own it.)
I’m not afraid of wrinkles.
I’m not. Or of saggy upper arms, or a saggy rear end, or a saggy…well, everything, really. But already, I notice the slow onslaught of age. I don’t have the same stamina as when I was a teenager. My back hurts on most days. When I bend down to pick up something, the cracking of my joints sounds a bit like someone playing a xylophone. I have less than half of the flexibility I possessed ten years ago. I forget things all the time. I don’t don’t sleep properly. I don’t eat properly. I go to bed with make-up on. I don’t drink enough water. I forget to put on sunscreen. I don’t put on moisturizer every day.
I will be thirty-four years old in November.
Nowadays, thirty-four isn’t a big deal. At least, it’s not supposed to be. Forty is the new thirty, and fifty is the new forty, and eighty-three is the new sixty-seven. I should be in my prime, right? My childbearing years are far from over. I have three children already, but I’m sure we could fit a couple more in before I’m old enough that it becomes a risk. I should be glorying in my youth. I should be owning my age. I should revel in the fact that I most likely have more than half my life still ahead of me.
But I feel it. I’m starting to feel the years now, whereas I didn’t before. I’ll glance at my bookshelf and experience a quick flash of panic when I realize I probably won’t get all those books read in my lifetime. I look at the list of places I’ve never been, and wonder if I’ll get to visit any of them before it’s too late. There are moments when I sit back, stare at the wall, and think… I don’t have enough time.
So, no. I’m not afraid of wrinkles. What I am afraid of is not having enough time to do everything I want to do, to experience everything and taste everything and see everything. There are dozens of stories in my head, and new ones cropping up all the time. Will I be able to write them all?
Probably not. And this is something I need to face. I won’t be able to do each and every thing I’ve dreamed about since childhood. There most likely won’t be a moment when I’m on my deathbed, surrounded by five generations of family while I check the very last item off my to-do list, settle my head back on the pillow, and breathe my last with a sigh of satisfaction, of having accomplished everything I set out to tackle.
And… this is okay.
Right, even before I typed that, my fingers hesitated a bit. So I can tell myself it’s okay, but there will always be a part of myself that isn’t going to be fooled.
That fear will always be there. That I haven’t done enough, that I should’ve traveled more when I was young, before I had kids. That I should’ve sat down and read through Anna Karenina instead of marathoning the first season of Black Books for the seventeenth time. That I should’ve gone for a walk instead of taking a nap.
No, no. Scratch that. Naps are awesome. I will never bear a grudge against a nap.
So I am almost thirty-four years old. I am not getting any younger. Things hurt when I wake up in the morning, and different things hurt when I go to bed at night. I still eat tacos when I should be eating a salad. And there are a few wrinkles now, and shadows under my eyes that never quite go away.
Come on, Middle Age. I think I’m ready for you.