07 February 2013

Old & Afraid

“When you're young, you always feel that life hasn't yet begun -- that "life" is always scheduled to begin next week, next month, next year, after the holidays -- whenever. But then suddenly you're old and the scheduled life didn't arrive. You find yourself asking, 'Well then, exactly what was it I was having -- that interlude -- the scrambly madness -- all that time I had before?” ~ Douglas Coupland, Life After God
My daughter is turning 6 in March. She is beyond excited. This morning she asked me how many days until her birthday.

“Twenty-one days, “ I answered.

“21?!?” she exclaimed. “That’s too long!”

It’s funny how when we are young, we cannot wait to get older. “When I turn      , I’ll finally be able to do                     !”

But then a shift happens. Suddenly, we want time to stop. For me, it happened when I was 29. I remember crying for two weeks before my 30th birthday. At that time, I felt as if life was all downhill from there. I knew then that my body would never be as nimble, flexible or as pliant as it once was when I was a mere 25 year old girl. I realized that I would have to start competing in the “senior division” at the Kung Fu tournaments. I also figured out that my knees had turned into a fairly accurate weather predictor. I knew from the amount of pain and pressure I would feel in my knees on any given day if precipitation was to be expected.

I became more aware of the passage of time, and how once lost, we can never get it back.

I spent most of my 20s, 8 years to be exact, loving and pining for a guy, my first love, who had left me when I was 25 and had never looked back.

I spent my 30s stuck in a loveless marriage to a man who did not deserve not even one day of my life.

And here I am now, in my early 40s, and feeling no confidence in myself or trust in my judgments. And unlike my daughter, I am not looking forward to my next birthday. In fact, instead of looking forward to the future, I would much prefer to go back in time. Back to a time when I could not wait for the future, rather than being fearful of and dreading it as I do now.

I am afraid that I will squander my 40s. I am afraid that I will wake up when I am in my 50s and realize that I still don't know what I want out of life.

I am afraid that the issues that do not seem so important to me now, will be of paramount importance in the future, and at a time when I will no longer be able to do anything about it.

Basically, I feel old and afraid. And it's the scariest feeling in the world.

01 Feb 2013

3 comments:

  1. what a fitting post...I'm turning 30 this year and I've been dreading it. I keep feeling I'm nowhere near the plans/visions I created when I was young. I keep thinking, if only I wasn't sick in my early 20's, I would've been on track...or like you, if I didn't pine for that one particular guy in my early 20's, I probably would've been happier. But I guess that little fear we feel somewhat serves us in a good way, it's kind of a push to get more things done, live more, love more, etc.

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  2. You can say that you've achieved a lot, though. Having a daughter, writing such a fine blog and keeping in such great shape are just three things, and I don't even know you very well!
    I suppose what I mean is that fear is natural, but so are the good things if we look for them.
    I've found recently that setting goals has helped. When I find the time, it makes me feel productive.

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  3. I know exactly what you mean! I struggle with insecurities about my age when I want to attend an event or participate in an activity that I know will be ripe with 'those hipsters.' I have regrets from the past, but then I take a moment to appreciate the wisdom gained. Without my first husband, I wouldn't have my precious children or grandgirls. If I hadn't suffered four years in a dead end job, I wouldn't have met the wonderful man with whom I'll spend the rest of my days. Mind tricks, maybe...gratitude always.

    I'm not sure who said it but it keeps my perspective in check.

    Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.


    Thanks for sharing, keep it up!
    Rose :)

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