On Getting Older

I’m a thinker. I can’t help it, but I’ve been strategizing and over-thinking scenarios since elementary school. While other kids thought about what they wanted to play at recess that day, I would think of what I’d be doing when I was finally 17 years old (for some reason that was a magical number for me as a kid), and then later on what I’d be doing after high school, as a mother, in a career, as an old lady…I seemed to always have my eyes set on the future. I also seemed to always hang around older people, learning from the stories they had to share from their own life experiences.

The drawback to this line of thinking is that you have to continuously remind yourself to be present–to enjoy the now–to see what is right in front of you.

But the benefit of constantly looking at the future is that you seem to develop a certain kind of perspective that makes you keenly aware of how short life is.

Today at my son’s baseball game, I saw another mom hovering by the dugout. In my mind she was just another one of those older, frumpy moms. You know, the one that doesn’t do their hair anymore, has a permanent deflated doughnut around their midsection and dresses from the Kmart discount racks. The boys started goofing around and talking about how old their moms were (My son didn’t partake in the conversation. He was too busy trying to get the others to tell silly jokes.) Anyway the son of the frumpy mom declared that his mother was 33, and she confirmed the number and praised him for his excellent memory.

What the what?

I think that can’t be possible. Certainly she was almost as old as my mom. Aren’t I close to 33? I do the math in my head, conveniently forgetting a few years here and there as I get older and having to start with my birth year and calculate. She’s one year older than me. One friggin’ year. I mean, we totally would have been able to hypothetically play on the same playground for most of my elementary career and we would have hypothetically spent most of high school together too. Impossible. Do I look that old?

It’s just another one of those reminders that our lives are not infinite, no matter what you think in your younger years, and another reminder that we need to make the best out of every minute, hour, day, week, or year of life we have. It’s so amazingly fleeting.

Yesterday I saw the post about the four sisters who took photos every year for 40 years. If that doesn’t slap you in the face, I don’t know what will. To see the progression of youth and watch the four sisters grow into middle age, and toward the end what would be considered senior citizen, truly is a reminder about our own mortality.

So I’m all about figuring out WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT? Well, I can’t turn the clock back. But I can look at today and my future days and change my perspective about life.

I can start doing what I want to do in life, and weed out the things I don’t want to do.

I can set goals and work toward accomplishing them.

I can strengthen my relationships with friends and family, because that is what will matter on my last day of life when none of the tangible items we lust after will matter any more.

I can slow down the pace of my life.

I can learn to say no better, learning not to overextend myself and to make sure I have time for my priorities.

I can start figuring out what are my priorities.

I can be kinder and gentler to myself.

I can take time to enjoy the little things in life.

I can try to look at my life with “beginner eyes,” remember how great life felt when things were new.

I can fix things I’m unhappy with and start over.

I can be happy.

I can be thankful for the time I have. Some people aren’t as fortunate.

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