Friends, I’m getting old. My left knee crackles when I stand up and I’ve caught myself saying, “Mommy has to move slowly, kids. Her hip is out again” more than I’d like. I can’t even tell you the horror I felt upon learning our local fireworks didn’t start until 9:45pm. How could I ever stay up that late? And I fully delight in my new pair of cushion-comfort slip-ons.
Yup, at this rate, I fully expect to be checking myself into the nursing home long about next week, and I’m okay with that.
You see, while I’ve a tad to go before cashing in on retirement, I’m not 20 any more. I’ve gotten to the age where I know myself a bit better, I’ve figured out my husband a little more, generally gotten better at this life gig, and finally found a face cream that works for me.
So I am really liking this kind of old. In fact, I love it.
1) I’ve gotten to be so old that I now know it doesn’t matter which card I buy for my husband on our anniversary; it will end up in the trash. What matters is that we spent another year together and are still in it to win it. We will still spend 15 minutes that we don’t have in the morning arguing about where he puts his lunch bag on the the kitchen counter. We are idiots. But at the end of the day, we kiss good night, and then we wake up in the morning and do it all again.
2) Yesterday, I realized someone was probably mad at me. And I didn’t care. Whoa! This one is so freeing I don’t have words. But I think I’m finally at the point where pleasing everyone else isn’t the most important thing. Especially at the cost of self-detriment. Let’s hear three cheers for growing up in this very, very healthy way.
3) I know what I like and what I don’t like. I could pass easily on travelling with kids, loud noises, video games, and not enough alone time. Yet, on my hit list: flattering dresses, getting the mail, word games, putting my phone on silent, the Sunday paper, naps, real people, tons of supplements, the color seafoam, dark nail polishes, sweet wine, a tidy house, library books, and falling obsessively in love with particular TV shows. It’s fun to know what makes you happy and focus on that.
4) In the same vein, I have discovered what works for me. Everyone is different. Embracing what best fits your life is a wonderful thing. Knowing truths about my myself, like that I need a Mother’s Helper to not lose my crap, certain products will work for my fine hair, and that I must eat high amounts of protein to feel well has made a tremendous difference in my quality of life. Get smart about yourself.
5) Spend your time as you see fit. When my husband and I finally snagged a too-precious kid-free weekend and spent it gutting and remodeling our bathroom? Let the naysayers naysay. Someday we may delight in hearts and flowers. Today, it was more romantic for both of us to sweat it up together and have toilet that isn’t stained a decided brown hue. Every time I take a pee for the foreseeable future, I will think of him and his handyman skills and swoon a bit. I promise.
6) You laugh. So no, it still isn’t totally funny that my kids got me so riled up that I drove our minivan through the garage door. But…it sort of is. Any someday it will be totally. And truth told? It doesn’t matter. None of this really does in the grand scheme of it, so you might as well treat yourself to a giggle along the way. Bonus? Laughing does wonders for those ab muscles.
7) You must love your body. On my list of old-age wisdom, this is far and away the fuzziest. While you can’t beat yourself up for your body shape or size and the value of a good cronut should never be underestimated, you only get one body. Take care of it. Vitamin it up, eat the greens, skip the late-late nights, and drive on by that drive-through–at least until you can’t take your kids’ whining any more.
8) Speaking of kids, throw yourself into them with abandon. Believe me, no one is happy-dancing more that my husband and me that both are kids have solidly moved up to booster seats and we can kiss those convertible car seats adios. We aren’t the type to mourn moving-out-of-baby stage. But we’re not stupid. We’ve only got one life. And we’ve only got the two of them. So you’d better believe we’re giving them our all. Collapsing on the couch after they’re in bed included.
9) You believe in yourself. My number one cheerleader, my mother, took an early exit from this earth. While others love and support me, I fully believe the best gift we can give ourselves in this life is to believe in what we can do and where we’re going. The Mom of the Year, something that matters very much to me, wouldn’t exist if I didn’t stubbornly hold onto a belief in myself.
10) It’s always better to love. Recently, my daughter ran toward me for a hug so hard that she unfortunately crashed into my face as I was bent over to tie my shoes. Still, I’d far rather rock my black-and-blue facial mark than never have been the recipient of her love. When you care for people, it might get messy, but listen, from someone who has loved and lost A LOT in her 35 years, it’s always better to pour out than to hold it in. If you care for someone, let them know.
Really, friends, the crux of getting old is choosing to love on what and who is important to you as you learn who you are on this earth. It’s simple. It’s a blessing. Go grab the walker and let’s get old together.