Thursday, October 2, 2008

"Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?"

It is very strange to get older. Okay, I know I'm not that old, and that really isn't what this post is about. I am in no way complaining about my age, but I've just been noticing it more lately. My sister Maddie was talking about how old my mom was when she was born, and I said, "I'm only a year younger than she was." For a split second, she tried to think of something to make me feel better, but then she just started laughing (her nervous laugh).

I am nearly 32 (or as Macy would say, I am 31 and a half). In some ways I do feel older. It is very different to be 24 and pregnant versus pregnant in your 30s (no, I am not making an announcement). I look in the mirror and see little lines forming around my mouth and eyes, and lets just say that everything is not nearly as "perky" as it used to be. I am more tired, and a bit more "disillusioned" with life because of some of the stuff we've gone through. Yet, at the same time, I feel such deep connections to people and I am in awe at the generosity and goodness of humanity. I guess life is more complicated. However, in many, many ways I don't really feel liked I've aged that much. I look at these boys that come to piano lessons talking about the newness of 7th Grade, and cute girls, and awkward dances, and it isn't that hard for me to put myself back at Riverview Jr. High - 19 years ago! I remember that 30-somethings seemed quite "established" and even refined and dignified to a 7th Grader. But, I don't feel like those 30-somethings that were once my Young Women leaders and my friend's mothers. I definitely don't feel refined and dignified. (Did they feel refined and dignified, or was my perception just way off?)  And, thank you very much Madeline, I do not feel like I am too old to have another baby. I had a thought tonight: Does everyone feel that way?

My sister's and I went to a Senior Center to sing tonight for club meeting for our old Bishop. As with most things, when we think we are doing a favor for someone else, we are really so enriched by the experience that we see it as other people doing a favor for us.  We took my grandpa, and he accompanied some of the songs for us on his guitar. He and my grandma met a man there that they grew up with and they started laughing about when they were in school and telling stories about when they were kids. When we were done singing, Florence (my old Bishop's wife) took me downstairs where there was a gallery of paintings. Her husband has submitted three entries. I was impressed! Some of those paintings were really, really good and very innovative. There was one watercolor painted out of muted blues and subtle browns. It was abstract and had a woman holding a baby. It was amazing!

I looked around at all of these people whose bodies were obviously aging, but did they feel the same way that I do? I guess I assumed that by the time you reached 80 (and probably a lot sooner), some sort of seasoned wisdom rested on your persona. But inside each of these bodies is a giddy 11-year-old, a headstrong 18-year-old, a carefree 20-something, a young mother/father, a 40-year-old up to their eyeballs in busy-ness, a young grandmother/grandfather, a sixty-five year old retiree, and a 70-something discovering new abilities and hobbies, and whole lot in between. They are also carrying a lot of joy, sorrow, success, defeat, gain, loss. They are entire souls, and not just the age on their driver's license.

I keep waiting to feel 31/32. As if I will suddenly figure out my role and be able to fulfill it to perfection (or close, at least). As if I will suddenly feel "old enough" and therefore "done" having children. As if I will "mature" (whatever that means). But I don't think that is ever going to happen because age is just a number, it is not who we really are at the core of our soul. We are so much more! We are all those experiences, all those people that entered our lives and left an impression, and all of those feelings. What do you think? 

Madeline and me in 1989 (nice perm & nice VCR in the background):

DISCLAIMER (can it be a "Disclaimer" at the end?): I never thought that "older" people weren't capable of creating beautiful paintings or leading fulfilling lives, and I certainly didn't mean to come across that ignorant. It's just that they (meaning my own grandparents) keep commenting on how old they are, and they seem to readily point out their limitations. But, they haven't done a very good job at convincing me. I think they have many moments when they feel extremely young. Do you think it is just their bodies that feel "old" and "rundown" (their words, not mine)? Do you think their soul is still young at heart?


Roccy said...

I still feel like I'm 12. Where'd the time go? I often wonder that.

But you're so right - we're that same person inside with so much potential.

You are a beautiful writer. Thank you for sharing!

Sinclair said...

I think I am 22, or may 12, or even 26 in my soul. Yes, I can vouch that I feel that way. I always looked young for my age, so it wasn't until recently (will be 37 this year) that people peg me for anywhere close to my age. But I still feel like I am waiting to feel "old enough" and "capable" and "sophisticated" (who am I kidding, sophisticated is not at all in my soul!). What I mean to say is: "Here, here!"

Kristy said...

I am so with you. I feel like (since I am 32), that I should have my act together. But, I don't. I remember everyone in their 30's seeming so put together, and so sure of who they were. I don't feel that way at all, and I've been in my 30's for two years now! Oh well.