From the time I recovered from the hangover after my surprise 30th birthday party, it was all downhill. The thought of getting older was so depressing to me that I spent years in anguish over the thought of it. It wasn’t even the thought of being old, as much as the process of aging, of losing my youth.
It’s not as if I considered myself any great beauty, maybe mildly attractive on my best day. So, the idea of losing my looks, or my girlish figure, was not any real concern. I have always been healthy. What’s more, I adore the elderly, even the grumpy, snarling seniors that don’t have a nice word to say. They are adorable. Even so, whenever the topic of age came up, I either bowed out of the conversation or ranted about it for a few minutes before forcing the thought out of mind.
One day, about fifteen years later, it became a non-issue. There was no epiphany, no moment of ‘A-ha’. It was just gone; the fear, the depression, the negative thoughts, vanished, seemingly overnight. All of the sudden, getting older was actually enjoyable, fun even. I started thinking about all of the great things that come with aging.
I don’t feel the need to compare myself to younger, more attractive women. I can appreciate their beauty and my thoughts go no further than that appreciation. I don’t feel bad about myself or wish I had what they do. I don’t desire the attention of men or women for any reason other than friendship. I don’t feel the need to have everyone like me. I love being the mother hen at work. I can be exactly who I want to be with not much thought to how this might make me appear to others
I love deep conversations with good friends, and the occasional stranger. I love my own company. I love my memories. In hind-site, the challenging times don’t seem to be so bad anymore. There are no enemies anymore. Even the people I have parted ways with in ugly ways and unkind words, I hold no grudges, no ill will, I want the best for them all. For US all.
Fast-forward one year. At long last, the ‘A-ha’ moment. The light-bulb over my head finally brightened. What else happened about a year ago, right about the time the fear of aging went away? I went back to school. I have always wished I would have continued my education, before.it.got.too.late. A-HA! After all this time, it was never a fear of getting older, but of getting older without any growth, of never having accomplished anything.
I know, I know, I have issues. I see the pattern too. I’m not attractive, not smart, not accomplished. Trust me, I hold no delusions about myself or my mental health. I am well aware of all the insecurities, I have lived with them for many, many years. But after 47 years, the insecurities have finally started to diminish. I am doing the things I want to do with my life and it is so….what is the word? Exciting, invigorating, fulfilling. Yes, Yes, all of those, and more.
I can’t wait to see what the future holds.