Does a person ever feel the age they are? Rooted, precisely and comfortably, in their actual age instead of scrabbling against it like a key in a lock that won’t turn? I wonder. I’m 42 now and I make lots of jokes about feeling old when I give in to the siren-call of the bed linens at 8:47 PM or blink confusedly when one of my children announces that someone was REKT, BRO, but I don’t really feel 42. I have to say I do because we’re supposed to embrace the natural process of aging and revel in our increased wisdom and decrease of fucks given, but the truth is I feel like I’m forever stuck somewhere on the road in the rearview — my late twenties, maybe. Still awkward, still trying to figure it all out, still wondering what I’m going to be when I grow up.

My giant children are proof positive that I’m officially middle-aged, of course. One of them has the audacity to be eleven, can you believe that shit? Eleven. I look at his beetled brow and still see that suspicious baby sometimes, clever editing that offers glimpses of what I remember amongst the long-limbed tangle of sweetness and all-out Bershon he is now. They’re undeniably big kids, but I suppose they also ricochet from one internal age to the next — impossibly, heartbreakingly mature one minute, stomping like a toddler the next.

There are times when I’m truly startled by my aging, and even a little frightened. The other day my arm was pressed against something and the light was shining in and I noticed I was basically one big crinkle. When did that start happening, the crinkling? My skin doesn’t plump up any more, it just gives way. That’s disturbing. It feels like a loss, I don’t care how many Dove ads you make me watch.

The alternative is no good (“Wot, so my choice is or death?”) so I suppose I should be at peace with the fluctuating disconnect between reality and my secret belief that every “Your Birthdate Must Be On or Before This Date to Purchase Alcohol” grocery store sign contains a comical typo. Maybe the forties are a decade of denial, and I’ll feel more settled when I have half a century under my belt. Or maybe not. More and more, it seems to me that it’s important to allow myself to feel weird and a little lost and a lot uncertain, because there’s so much peace when I stop resisting and fretting and questioning and just be who I am, not old or young or good or bad but a human work in progress. A jumbled drawer of shit that has never fit quite right and the occasional glorious pair of perfectly broken-in jeans, crinkled and worn in places and comfortable as hell.


24 Responses to “Bumbling towards acceptance”

  1. WLB on October 3rd, 2016 4:59 pm

    Thank you for writing again. You have a way of finding words for what so many of us feel but can’t express. You’ve been missed!

  2. Kirsten on October 3rd, 2016 5:24 pm

    We missed you!!

  3. Judith Rosa on October 3rd, 2016 5:54 pm

    I am so glad you are posting again! Is there any chance your big boys will let you post recent photos?

    As for this age thing, I will be 67 in a month, finally at peace, true peace, accepting of myself in all my weirdness, having forgiven myself for my mistakes, thinking I look pretty damn good for my age, and yet…sometimes the CRINKLE takes me by surprise.

  4. Mary on October 3rd, 2016 6:25 pm

    Thinking just the other day prolly cause I am denying being the mom of a college student

  5. Heather on October 3rd, 2016 6:35 pm

    Well said. I still feel like I’m in my 20’sbut better- with money, career and zero fucks! It’s my body that won’t cooperate. Missed you!

  6. The blogger formerly known as Warcrygirl on October 3rd, 2016 6:53 pm

    Well said. I’ll be 48 next month and I sometimes need to remind myself of that fact. Some days I feel my age, some days I swear I’m only late 20’s early 30’s. I took a good look at my abdomen in the mirror this morning…no matter how much weight I lose I’m pretty sure my bikini days are long passed. I still plan on looking fabulous at 50, though.

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  8. Em on October 3rd, 2016 7:13 pm

    I can totally relate, especially to the trying to figure it out. At nearly 37 I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

  9. Amy on October 3rd, 2016 8:23 pm

    This is so exactly how I feel sometimes. Thank you for putting it so adeptly into words. I’m 43 with kids 11 and 8, and I’m not sure when I started reading the advertising print for anti-wrinkle products but all of a sudden I can totally relate.

  10. Deb on October 4th, 2016 1:07 am

    I hear you! I was thinking this morning ….. ‘ oh cr*p, do I now need to wax my whole face?’ Where did all these long face hairs pop up from and who gave them permission!!!!! 43 years young but thankful that I have these issues as there are many woman who would love for face hair to be their only physical concern.

  11. cindy on October 4th, 2016 7:25 am

    I’m about to turn 42 this month, and I just read that the woman who played Alice on The Brady Bunch was 42 when she was cast. I don’t know how to feel about that. Also, I really need some damn reading glasses, but I keep procrastinating on buying them.

  12. Kristi on October 4th, 2016 7:55 am

    Seriously, ditto.

  13. Heather on October 4th, 2016 8:34 am

    Yes to all of this. Signed, a fellow 42 year old who feels perpetually 28.

  14. Kim on October 4th, 2016 8:48 am

    47 actual years but a 12 year old boy in sense of humor, 20 something in pop culture tastes and 80 something when I creak out of bed in the morning. Still waiting for the whole confidence with age thing I was assured would come.

  15. Donna Brubach on October 4th, 2016 8:59 am

    If it’s any consolation I’m 59 and it’s the same thing. Only more wrinklier. And I freak out when I see myself in the mirror cause my head is 25.

  16. Amanda on October 4th, 2016 11:24 am

    We all feel this way. Missed you in WI

  17. Jessi on October 4th, 2016 2:04 pm

    100% agree (and agree with everyone else, I have missed your posts!)

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  19. marilyn on October 5th, 2016 6:53 am

    Though I guess this is just another Dove-commercial-esque feel-good item that helps but also doesn’t help, I’ve been enjoying following some more mature ladies that are fashion icon types just to remind myself that beauty is made of so many aspects of a person. I completely recognize that it’s a little hypocritical to look to IG, which is so image-focused and visual, when I’m also thinking of a stronger intellectual maturity as well, but I have a friend who had this woman as her professor when going back for her degree in social work, so it’s a nice background basis to the pretty pictures:

  20. Cari on October 5th, 2016 7:06 pm

    I am so happy you are here again.

  21. Christine on October 9th, 2016 11:43 am

    Yes. Yes to all of this but you say it so well. My Dad usually says getting older is “better than the alternative,” so I try to look at it that way too. But it’s so hard to come to terms with the fact that, at 43, I am definitely what some people would call middle-aged. I think 50 sounds like a good middle. I think I’ll wait till then.

  22. AmyQ on October 9th, 2016 7:38 pm

    There you are. Yes to all this. I refer to my 30’s as the best of times. My dad once told me he felt more at peace and happier each decade- maybe for men. Cause my 40’s (I’m 41) have suuuuuuuuucked big, huge, fat, balls. I rode into my forties on a wave of acceptance and feeling proud that I’d made it! I made it weighing 118lbs, FINISHED UP homeschooling 5 kids and having just discovered hair extensions. I survived and overcame and was done with all the Bullshit I have a tendency to get into. 6 months after turning 40 I gained 20 lbs and spiraled back to 2004 questioning who I was, am I crazy, I’m fucking all my kids up and spending every minute they’re at school, making it rain at every store without a sale. And I got a hysterectomy scheduled for Tuesday. This is some bullshit. Bull-SHIT.

  23. on October 21st, 2016 2:10 am

    Bumbling towards acceptance : All & Sundry

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