I happened to be one of those women who had all her children young. By the time I was 30, I potty training my youngest. This coming Saturday that youngest child of mine will be turning 21. She can’t wait and has been counting down the days for two weeks now. I’ve already gotten the request for what kind of cake she wants and what to fix for her breakfast. Wow, my baby girl, 21, a full blooded adult, with all the rights and privileges thereof.
How did that happen? Just last week, she was protesting putting on anything I suggested for her to wear, thinking staying in dirty pajamas, and slightly damp diapers was just find for a day of play. Just yesterday I was enjoying getting to embarrass her in front of her friends at middle school. Now she is just months away from having a degree and, her first grown up job, and (gasp) moving out into her first apartment.
When my oldest graduated from high school, I had just turned 37. I was asked by someone,”Do you feel old yet?’ I quickly answered. “No I’ll feel old when my youngest graduates high school.” Obviously I wasn’t thinking too quick on my feet that day. Seven incredibly short years later, my youngest graduated high school, and that stupid question was asked again. In perfect timing I answered. “Of course not, I’ll feel old when she graduates from college.”
Fast forward a couple of years, and I find myself on the crux of yet another educational milestone. Megan will be graduating from Spartanburg Methodist College in May. The chances that certain question will be rearing its ugly head again, is fairly high. I am not looking forward to it, as it is now quite obvious that I really wasn’t thinking through my responses in the past.
I called to wish my son a happy birthday this summer, and when I hung up the phone I was horrified to realize that in three years he will be 30, THIRTY! I am not supposed to have kids that age! But then I remember that I am well past the age that my son is now. I just find it keep finding it hard to believe how quickly I got from his age, when his youngest sister was a baby to now.
So back to that question, “Do I feel old yet?”. Does the fact that I have children old enough to own homes and to have kids of their own, mean I have to head right to the little old grandmother section of the local clothing store and picking out a housecoat? Does the fact that the actual color of my hair is a well guarded secret, or that I really don’t get the music some people listen to mean that I have arrived at “old” yet? Does the fact that my body is starting to display small signs of natural degeneration mean that I am old? I certainly hope not, because I am simply not ready for that label.
In reality, I don’t feel old. I do feel tired as my schedule is crazy, and having asthma can slow me down, and keep me from feeling rested. But old? Old to me is more a state of mind then how many candles it takes to set of the fire alarm. There are youthful 90 year olds and ancient 30 year olds. For them it is more, at least I think, on how they look at life and act within their views of how life is then the state of their health or their physical age.
Personally I think that I am just hitting my stride in life, embarking on a what I call my Brand New Future. I figure I still have enough left in me to be able to work a few more decades, and enjoy the challenges that may come my way. If I am fortunate, then my genetics will resemble that of my dad and his mother, ages 76 and 96 respectfully. Both are still active, vibrant, and highly talented people. If that is the case, I’ve got a whole lot of life yet to live yet. I am sure that one day I will willingly admit that yes, I am old. I just haven’t gotten there yet, nor do I plan on arriving anytime in the near future.
As for that dreaded question, “Do you feel old yet?” My answer this time will be, “No, I’ll feel old when my grandchildren graduate high school.” Chances are that I’ll give a new answer when that day arrives.