Saturday, July 5, 2014

I was thinking today about aging. A friend posted on Facebook about how much cheaper things were when we were young. I commented how we had so much less but we felt so much richer. Others commented on simpler times but so much more fun. And then it dawned on me......when our parents talked about their childhoods, we thought it was ancient history. They'd say, it was cheaper to live, life was simpler, we had less but we enjoyed more. It's happened, we've turned into our parents and not only do we sound just like them but compared to us now, at our age now, they would have been youngsters when they were talking about those same things, in their thirties at most. Time is such a relative thing. Movies and books we considered from the "olden days" now are equivalent to looking back at the same entertainment in the eighties and nineties.

That started me thinking about life and getting older. I wasn't upset when I hit thirty or forty. Actually, I wasn't upset when I hit fifty. Why was that? Because my "mid-life crisis" happened five years prior to that. Of course....side note here.... when I mentioned my mid-life crisis at forty-five, my friend Pamie said, "What? Mid-life? You mean you expect to live to ninety?" To which I replied, "YES! YES, I do!" What I didn't expect was the sudden realization that I was no longer "the kid." Maybe it hit me so hard because I was the youngest in the family. I use to say that my big brother would think of me as his baby sister even if we lived to be ninety and a hundred respectively. But I wasn't just "the kid" in my family. When I did the arts show circuit in the eighties and nineties, I was called "the kid" by all of my friends. Who knows if I was the youngest or I just had a baby face. People use to tell me that I looked much younger than my actual age....emphasis there on "use to." But one day in a Boston convention center in the midst of a snow storm which kind of put a damper on sales....well, it put a damper on some people's sales, mine it shut entirely down.......... I was sitting in my booth and listening to the girl who was set up across from me. She was twenty-nine, newly married, extremely enthusiastic about the show and life in general and this was her first show and she was excited and thrilled to be there. It was then that I realized I was looking at the new "kid" on the block and looking at myself fifteen years before when I'd done my first national show. I felt emotions that I didn't even know I had inside me but they weren't emotions I was unfamiliar with because I'd watched my friends, who were a few years older than me, go through the same thing in the years before that moment. I sat there and I felt a rush of jealousy and resentment for this lovely young woman just because I knew she was in for the ride of her life and I was at the end of that particular journey. Those feeling only lasted a second and I was ashamed of feeling them but at the same time, I wondered if those "older" people I'd met at my first show had felt the same way about me. Change is always painful whether for good or bad. It's also scary because we don't know what to expect in the next segment of our trip on this earth. Life is always precarious but the older we get, the more aware we become of how unpredictable it can be, how your entire life can be changed in a split second. I forgot to mention that it was my birthday, my forty-fifth. That night I stood in the darkness of the hotel room while Steve snored behind me totally oblivious to the metamorphosis taking place. I looked out the window as the snow fell silently on the empty streets and I cried. I grieved my youth and allowed myself the indulgence of feeling sorry for myself for a few moments. That was thirteen years ago and my life did change after that. I've gone through so many changes, so many unexpected twists and turns to the plot line of my life. It's taken me all these years to realize that despite its inevitability, age is not necessarily a bad thing; it doesn't have to mean the end of living your life. I'm let go off the bad things and some bad people and finally enjoy my life. I may never be "the kid" again but I think in many ways, I'm much better now than I was then. I've said before that I was always fascinated by those verses in the Bible about putting away childish things and looking through a glass that is dark and clouded but yet, face to face. I never understood those verses when I was young but then, I wasn't meant to because the verses were talking about getting to know myself and it's taken me fifty-eight years to finally do that.

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