Although I appreciate the thought behind the quote “Youth is wasted on the young,” I’m not sure I’d want to go back and do it all over knowing what I know now–especially if I had to go through all the angst and raging hormones of adolescence again.
With age comes knowledge, experience, the ability to make better choices, a broader sphere of influence and–if you’re lucky–some measure of wisdom. And it takes all those years of fits and starts, of falling down and getting back up again, to figure it out. I don’t see it as a waste–it’s simply part of the process.
I remember realizing when I turned 25 I could no longer use my age (i.e., youth) as an excuse for the terrible decisions I had made up to that point. I was expected to be a grown up, with all the attendant hassles and responsibilities that go along with it. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), I was not very good at following the rules.
On my 46th birthday (last year) I put my hair up in pigtails for the first time in, oh, 35 years or so, took a picture and posted it on my Facebook page. And then I told my friends I was freaking out because I was officially closer to 50 than 40. *gulp* It was a sobering moment because, regardless of what Oprah says (50 is the new 30), 50 sounds so ooooold to me. But I got over it, went to work for a few hours, ate chocolate cake my coworkers treated me to and then went home and played in the dirt for a while out in my garden. In other words, it was just another day.
This year wasn’t much different. I’m back in Chicago and will be gardening in a community garden again rather than in my back yard, but other than that my 47th birthday was no big deal.
What is different is how I feel inside. Some people call it serenity; some people call it contentment–some might blame it on lethargy. All I know is the worry and anxiety I had at 25–silly stuff like what do people think of me and what am I doing with my life and when is that guy at the end of the bar who’s been staring at me for the past hour going to get off his ass and buy me a drink–are no longer a part of my lexicon.
I am edging up on 50 and the path that has gotten me here has been a squiggly one–and you know what? It’s all good. On most days I am just fine with where I’m at, ’cause I know it’s right where I’m supposed to be. Yeah, I need to lose weight and I’m not in the best living situation right now and I’m definitely no millionaire, but I am OK with me today and am looking forward to tomorrow in a way I couldn’t even imagine at 25.
Welcome to my new blog. It’s about life pushing 50 and its attendant “unfoldings.” I hope to be able to use some of my knowledge and experience to find and share useful information for people “my age” and older.
It’s been a hell of a ride. But I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for the peace and contentment I feel right at this moment. How about you?