By Paula Bianchi –
If there’s one thing that I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around, it’s getting older. When I was young, my best friend and I used to play in a 1958 brown Karmann Ghia my Dad had sitting in the garage waiting to be restored. We would sit in it and pretend we were driving to wherever we wanted to go. (Usually Disneyland.) During one of these play times, she said to me, “You’re gonna be 40 in the year 2000.” We laughed about it, and our conversation moved on to other topics.
Over the years, as I was growing up, this was the oldest I’d ever imagined myself being, and it was so intertwined with the year 2000. The only age I was really focused on, back then, was 18 because then I could do what I wanted and wouldn’t have to ask my parents’ permission first.
I truly miss the days of being young and dumb. I didn’t have to worry about paying the bills or dealing with any adult issues, which my parents were pretty good at keeping me in the dark about. I was totally living in the moment of having fun with my friends and partying. My only worries were school or dealing with the drama happening there.
My husband, Alan, and I met when I was 15, and he was 18, then, we got married when I was 18, and he was 21. It felt strange yet right to be leaving my parents’ house. I still miss the daisy patterned wallpaper in my room, and my hanging chair in the corner.
When I was 21, our son was born, and this was the first time, besides puberty, when I noticed my body was starting to change. In my mind, I was finally an adult since now I had to put my son’s needs ahead of my own. I had to accept the loss of my pert boobs and my flat stomach that was now full of stretch marks.
I looked comical when I was pregnant with our twins. I never gained any weight in my arms or legs, so they looked like toothpicks. My belly was enormous and stretched to the limit, so much so, that I had no belly button. I walked with such a big waddle, which made me look like I was swaying on a rocking boat. Alan thought I looked like a penguin. After the girls were born, I looked worse than after having our son.
While I was raising our kids, I really didn’t think about getting older. I was too busy with daily life to worry about it. It didn’t hit me until my mid-thirties when our son started high school. As I dropped him off at his new school, I waited until he couldn’t see me, then I sobbed a bucket of tears. This was the first time I contemplated the day he would move out.
Suddenly, now I could see how much I’ve changed with age. I started seeing lines around my eyes and white hairs popping up here and there. I pulled them out as soon as I saw one. My Mom warned me to stop because I would grow back 7 white hairs for each one I pulled out. My mind game about aging kicked into high gear.
In the summer of 1999, after our son graduated, the day I had been dreading finally came. Our son informed us he was going to move out with some friends. On the outside, I supported him in his decision, but on the inside, I was devastated. Another step in getting older. I only had 4 more years left with my daughters, then I’ll be done with my job of raising them. I hated thinking about it.
At the end of the year, Alan and I had to deal, for the first time, with one of us having a health issue. It was Alan. We celebrated Christmas and rang in the year 2000 while waiting to hear if he had cancer. Right after the new year, we heard he was in the clear for cancer, but he did have diverticulosis and received surgery for his collapsed colon. It was such a relief.
I was riding so high on the energy of my husband being okay that I completely forgot about my birthday at the end of the month until it was upon me. I remember waking up that morning and realizing it was my 40th birthday. Bam! I hear my childhood friend in my head saying, “You’re gonna be 40 in the year 2000.” I reached the oldest age I’d ever imagined. Depression washed over me like a storm at sea.
Every time someone wished me a happy birthday, I cringed. On this day, above every day before it, I really felt old. All because of what was said while I was playing as a kid. I set myself up for this mind game, and I guess I wasn’t going to disappoint.
It took a while, but my depression seemed to wane as I got on with daily life again, and I was feeling better because of all the work I was putting into my therapy. I found it bitter sweet watching my girls fly through high school. Before I knew it, they were graduating. It’s so strange how my concept of time changed over the years. When I was young, it seemed like everything took forever, now everything’s here before you know it.
I was better equipped for the twins moving out than I ever was for our son. I had a year, or more, of therapy under my belt before they left. I was beginning to understand my inner-self, and I learned to accept the things that are out of my control. This was a huge step for me and my wellbeing.
After our kids moved out, I realized they would always need me. Just not in the way I longed for. Ever since my 40th birthday, I’ve never payed attention to my age anymore. Why? Well, I’ve come to realize you’re as old as you let yourself be. In my mind, I still feel like an 18-year-old. I only see my age when I look in a mirror. Although now, my body seems to be announcing to me, every morning, that it’s feeling older. I’m proud of the battle scars life has left me with because I know the story behind every scar, and I embrace the lessons they taught me.
There’s one thing about getting older that I simply adore. Having grandkids. They’ve been the highlight to my life. I think older people have more patience with kids because they have hindsight and regrets from the past they don’t want to repeat.
As my 60th birthday quickly approaches, I’m okay with getting older. I just wish my body was okay with it too. It’s going to happen whether I want it to or not. I’ve watched my grandparents age as well as my parents. I know their energy, or soul, is in heaven watching over me. Just like I plan on doing for my kids and grandkids when I join them. My family better watch out because I’m definitely going to make sure they know I’m still around helping them throughout the rest of their lives until we meet again in paradise.
In my next metaphysical article, I’ll talk about past lives. Hope you’re enjoying my blog. Thanks for the visit. Bye for now.