I asked her what she wanted from me and she said she wanted me to dedicate a blog entry to her. Perfect!
Here's the thing: getting old is SO awesome! Okay, I will admit that, for me, age 17, 18, and 19 can never be replicated in terms of freedom and fun. But eventually, and a little painfully, I had to give that up and move on. I did that by DECIDING that getting old is so awesome. I didn't believe myself at first. It took me a few years during my mid-twenties to learn to relish every age, every year, every new number I got to be. But once I believed, I believed. And I love getting older!
In my mid-twenties I was having children. Actually, in my entire twenties I was having children. During every year that started with a nineteen-ninety I was either pregnant with, or nursing a baby. Nothing can ever compare to that decade. It was awesome. I loved nearly every minute of it. I knew it was going to fly by and I could never get a moment of it back, and so I cherished my babies. I miss them.
The day before I turned 30 I had a brief mourning period for my twenties and wistfully kissed them goodbye. It stung a little, but the next day I ripped the band aid off and dove into the 30s like I'd won the lottery. Not like the big lottery, you know, not the 16 million dollars. More like a decent sized lottery, like maybe about 16 thousand dollars, around there. But I loved it. I thought of myself as all mature like. Like when I clip-clopped through the church gym in heels and thought I sounded just like my mom. So cool. I was a WOMAN. It was strange to think of myself as such, and I still much prefer to be referred to as a GIRL, but technically -- woman.
By then I was volunteering in the schools and when the kids said, "Hi, Mrs. Farley!" it made me smile. And when my young women and primary kids, or anyone, for that matter, call me "Sister Farley" -- love it!
Part of the reason I can love getting older is that I know I don't ever have to act older. I learned from my mom that there is no such age when you can't sit on the floor or have a water fight or have regular doses of hard-core laughter therapy. There's no such age when you have to stop doing anything. Wait, I'd better qualify that. There may be an age when you should stop wearing pigtails. Should, but don't have to if you really feel strongly about it.
Here is what I love about aging:
~You can do whatever you want. You are the boss of you and you can make your life exactly what you want it to be. You might have to work really hard and make sacrifices, but, again, you get to choose.
~You go through hard stuff and come out okay on the other side. You come out stronger and wiser and more grateful -- and way cooler. I love being able to look at anyone older than, say, 35 and know that they have, in all probability, had their heart broken. One way or another. And survived it. That's pretty impressive.
~You get smarter. You know stuff. Lots of stuff. You've been there, done that, and if not you, then someone you love, and you still learned stuff from it. And you can give some pretty good advice about just about anything. Or at least you think you can, and that's really all that matters.
~You get prettier. At least in my opinion. I think everyone should share that opinion, but we're not quite there yet.
~You get wrinkled and saggy. What? You don't think that's awesome? Psh! Whatever! Do you even know how much you have to smile and laugh to get good wrinkles? A TON! You can also get them by frowning a lot, but I wouldn't recommend it, because people will be able to tell if you have frowny wrinkles or smiley wrinkles. The wrinkles don't lie. But they do say, "Check me out! I've been through life! And I've loved it!" (Or not loved it, but that's not what I want mine to say. *Crossing fingers*) As for the saggy; well, let's just say I carried, birthed, and nursed a lot of children to get this saggy. And I'm proud OF it! And besides, they have really good bras and shapers nowadays.
~Gray hair. My fave. No, I'm not joking! I love me some elegant, sophisticated, silver hair. Seriously, if you could get past the 'old' factor, you'd have to admit it's a beautiful color. Don't give me that look! It's the truth.
~Many other things that I would list right now if it weren't for that pesky down side of aging: I can't remember.
So, happy birthday, Melissa! It's not hard to love being 18, so no prob for you. But when it gets a little harder, just remember: One year cooler, smarter, and more awesome.
Or my kids' version: One year weirder, geekier, and more embarrassing.
What do they know? They're young. Poor things.