The other day I discovered, and promptly evicted, forcibly, a longish, dark hair sprouting from my chin. It was dispatched swiftly and ruthlessly, but it prompted some thoughts on aging and how time does fly.
Somehow, I have become the mother of kids who are five and six. Not too long ago, I could not have seen doing anything for five or six years. More shocking, I have been married for eight years. When did that happen? I can’t possibly be old enough to have been married for eight years.
In some respects tempus, for example, as a parent, has crawled by. While in the moment, there is nothing fugit about a temper tantrum, but then all of a sudden, the Era of Tantrums is over and I never even saw it pass. It was just gone. (Ok, that is a little literary license, there… the Era of Tantrums may never be gone. But the are less frequent now; say daily, instead of hourly). In other respects, though, it has passed with the speed of light. I remember being sure I would remember each little outfit I put Aimee in during her first days of life. Now, it is difficult to reconcile my memories of that tiny thing with the girl I see now.
The last time I saw my Real haircolour (nondescript mouse brown), I found a gray hair or two. Somehow, I had never really believed that it would happen to me. But, when I wasn’t looking, a few snuck in there. I change the colour regularly just because I like the change. It’s safe, reparable, and it covers up my two gray hairs (well, it’s actually been so long that there may be another one by now). Maybe I’m in denial that I am still as young as I once was.
My twenties are gone, and I am approaching the half-way mark of my thirties. I still feel the same, maybe with just a few more experiences under my belt. I assume that that same sense of self will remain constant, so that in my seventies or eighties I will be writing the same sentences, with different numbers. Sometimes first person perspective is maddeningly limited. I just can’t imagine it, just like a few years ago, I just couldn’t imagine being the parent of a school-aged child. Sometimes it would be nice to look down on one’s life, rather than just looking forward (and back, if the visibility is reasonable).
Some days, the weight of the responsibilities I have assumed feels like it might crush me. Those are the days when every decision I make, however apparently trivial, suddenly has life or death potentialities. Those are the days I long for the sweet oblivion of my bed. Other days, I am filled with the certainty that everything will work out, somehow. Hopefully, the latter outweigh the former, in the grand tally card of life. I still think of myself as a glass-half-full kind of girl.
It still regularly catches me by surprise that I have a marriage, and a house,and a mini-van, and a couple of kids, and a bunch of pets. It’s like catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror the first day or two of a new haircolour and, for the first second, not realizing I am looking at myself. I know how I ended up here, but I don’t know, all at the same time.
I guess all I can do is what I’ve been doing. I find the opacity of the future infuriatingly frustrating, but maybe the patience to Wait and See is maturity. If so, I am definitely still working on maturity, even if I am aging without any effort at all.