Sometimes I feel like the most definitive part of aging is the sense of zooming out. As though every year provides an outlook that is slightly wider and more comprehensive than the one before. As though I maybe started out with an extremely narrow hole of a perspective and the hole keeps getting bigger and bigger and more and more things come into focus.

I feel like I am increasingly able to look at my whole life in this way, too. I mean, the stories I created and internalized and never questioned for decades. The workplaces that sometimes felt like my whole world but were in fact just jobs and now I barely remember them. The entire experience and spectrum of being female over the last 50 years, including that one really special year we all realized America would rather elect a lumpy bag of angry misspelled Cheetos than a woman.

The trends and moments that come and go, come and go. The way memories fade more slowly when they have a little shittiness to make them stick. The great big world around my small life.

Many years ago my mom’s partner flew us around the Seattle area in his little 4-seat Mooney plane and I’ll never forget the perspective of seeing Mt. Rainier in comparison to the city. I’d seen the mountain from a commercial aircraft but this was somehow different: the mountain just towered over everything. It felt comical that humans thought they were more important than this ridiculously majestic thing.

It seems to me that in my own process of aging, there is a Mt. Rainier of sorts that is juuuuuuuuust starting to come into sight. Like I’m slowly starting to round a corner that leads away from endless despair over wrinkles and sagging flesh and the end of young everything including motherhood. Like every step broadens the view.