Getting older is not something I gave much thought to until I started my latest job. I mean, I still occasionally get asked for my ID at the liquor store. Ok fine, I’ve been asked twice in the past year. You have to take the small victories when you can, right? Working with College and University students though has made me acutely aware that time isn’t just marching anymore, it’s in a sprint.
The truth is, I don’t really “feel” that much different than I did when I was 28. Working with students that were born years after I got my first apartment though, has brought to light some changes I can no longer ignore.
All of a sudden I’ve noticed the generational differences. They have never used a pay phone, while I remember the pain of waiting in line at the mall on a Friday night, flipping my quarter in my hand to call my parents for a pickup. They have not lived without a cell phone, while I remember fighting with my brother to get off the phone so that I could wrap myself in a phone cord while I gossiped with my best friend.
This year will mark 20 years since I graduated from high school.
Hang on, I’m letting that number sink in.
It’s starting to hit me that I am, in fact, getting older and there are actual signs of my aging showing themselves as we speak.
I used to sit in front of the bathroom mirror examining a soon to appear pimple but now you can find me sitting in front of the bathroom mirror with a tweezer in my hand looking for stray chin hairs.
The trampoline park is now my nightmare. My kids beg me to jump with them while I know that every jump could end in disaster. Every cough, each little sneeze, every time I laugh just a little too hard I pee myself just a little bit. It’s lovely.
I notice it in photos of myself. My eyes don’t look as bright and wide as they once did. I look tired. There is puffiness and the beginning of fine lines. I know that I need to invest in a good eye cream but to be honest I don’t even know where to start looking.
Every time I stand up something creaks. My knees, my hips, some bone that I didn’t even know I had crack constantly. If I’ve been sitting for a long time I can’t just stand up; I have to ease into it, slowly. My body needs time to straighten itself.
I Don’t Understand the Music
My kids and I are in a constant battle over Spotify. I think I’m hip listening to the Old School House Party playlist while my kids look at me as though I have lost my mind. They spend their time searching for Wiz Khalifa or Panda songs while I try and understand what they are even saying. This must be what my parents felt like when I blasted New Kids on the Block from my boom box. My kids don’t even know what a boom box is.
My Kids and I share the Same Bedtime
My daughter begs me to sleep with her for just five minutes every night. I can only say yes if I have nothing to do because the moment my head hits the pillow I’m out and the laundry stays unfolded and lunches unpacked. Most nights I put them to sleep, flop myself on the couch for some much needed alone time and am snoring away before an hour has passed.
Retirement Condos Sound Appealing
My husband’s grandparents moved into a Retirement Condo and I’m in love with it. I imagine myself enjoying tea and cookies with the ladies in the lounge and attending Saturday evening movies in the movie theatre. I want to play shuffleboard and walk the local mall for fun. It’s a dream.
I Can Barely Remember My Real Name
I’m no longer referred to as Natalie, Nats or even Nat. I’m most often referred to as someone’s Mom. Sometimes I’m called M’am but the fact that I instinctively turn every time I hear a child’s voice call Mom proves that my name has officially changed.
I Sound Like My Mother
“Stop crying before I give you something to cry about” or “If Tyson jumped off a bridge would you?” Sometimes I turn around and expect to see my mother standing behind me. All of the momisms that I rolled my eyes at and swore that I would never ever say spill out of my mouth before I can stop them.
The Fu*ks I Give
I used to worry about everything. What others thought about me or what they said. I cared what people thought even when I pretended that I didn’t. I tried so hard to be perfect. Yet with each passing day and each passing year, I care less and less. I don’t have the time or the energy to dedicate to anyone else. Now I know that how I feel is the main priority. Other people’s judgments roll off my back.
I knew it was coming, we’re all getting older, but I didn’t realize that it was possible to feel so different yet so much the same. Truth is even with all the stiffness and the fact that I pee a little with every sneeze, the peace I feel within myself makes it all worth it.