Last week was my birthday.
For those (16) of you who’ve been hanging around here since the beginning, you’ve helped me through the last four of them. Sure, maybe we haven’t been together in person, but since I started this blog it’s been a form of therapy for me, and when you pass a *cough* certain age, birthdays often bring the need for some introspection, some contemplation, a little fear and loathing, and a good dose of gratefulness. (The fact that I left out the part about a good bottle—or two—of wine wasn’t an oversight. It was just too easy.)
Over the past three years on my birthday I’ve written about aging. I’ve complained about it, I’ve been astonished by it, I’ve welcomed it, and in the end, I’ve vowed to reject it.
It’s a good thing, too, because dammit if it hasn’t kept happening.
And here we are again, this time at 47.
(Hold on, I need to take some deep breaths and chase them with a shot of tears and a few “SCREW YOUs”.)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—probably (hopefully?) until this number is in reverse: I don’t feel it.
I mean, I guess I don’t.
Because, really, how exactly is 47 supposed to feel?
When I was 14 I bet I imagined it felt a lot like death.
When I was 21 I probably predicted boredom and indifference.
At 35 with two small kids, I’m sure I imagined it would just feel like well-rested happiness … and that I’d never make it there to find out.
But here I am at 47 and how do I feel?
Pretty much exactly like I did at 14, 21, and 35—give or take a thick head of hair and two small kids.
Happy. Loved. Thankful for each new day and for the blessings in my life.
Excited about the little things.
Hopeful for the future.
However, 47 also brings with it a kind of holding pattern, much like the one I was in at about age 13.
You know, the whole still a girl not yet a woman thing (but totally different).
That place where you feel like you’re between definitive labels.
It’s oftentimes exhausting, and I don’t just mean because at age 47 you rarely get a good night’s sleep (THANKS A LOT, 47-YEAR-OLD HORMONES.)
At 47, with one kid in college and one flying through high school, I’m walking a line between active and remote motherhood.
My girls are at ages where they still need me … but oftentimes don’t (and shouldn’t).
I’m not technically an “empty nester” but know all it takes is a blink and I will be.
I dream about retirement and moving someplace warm more realistically than ever before, but then shut those thoughts down quickly when I realize doing that will most likely mean living many states away from my girls.
I’m wracked with debilitating cramps each month, but thisclose to never having to deal with them again. (Fingers—and every other appendage—crossed.)
The thought of having young children makes me erupt in hives, but all it takes is one TimeHop picture of my girls from eight or nine years ago to dissolve me into a weepy mess.
I’ve experienced most of life’s biggest moments, and know that the ones still left are (hopefully) years away.
I’m not young, but not considered old.
Is there a reason that I forget how old I am all the time? Sure. (And no, it’s not because I’m closing in on 50 and my synapses aren’t firing like they used to.)
Other than the fact that hearing the number come out of my mouth makes me feel a little nauseous and the fact that denial is my trusty companion, I think it’s because I won’t let the number define me, whatever it is.
I will continue to live my life with enthusiasm, gratefulness, hope, and a small dose of cynicism and sarcasm to even things out.
I won’t count the years … or the number of f*#%s I don’t give about them.
How old am I?