Last night I was walking Emily’s friend part way up the street to her house after an evening of playing. As I watched this six year old riding her scooter, wearing a helmet of course, roll down the sidewalk, I had this strange sense come over me. The sense of being 37 years old. I thought, “When did I become a grown-up? When did I become a grown-up enough to be a parent? When did I become grown-up enough to own a house on a street in a neighborhood, with a husband of 16 years on Friday, to boot?!” It was a surreal moment.
I don’t necessarily know what it feels like to be 37 because in my head I don’t really feel any certain age. I know I don’t feel like I’m a teenager, or even early twenties, and I wouldn’t want to, believe me. Not because I think I am better or smarter than those particular ages, but because on my own journey, I was a really insecure, obnoxious, envious, bragging, (did I mention insecure?) person in that season of my life. Some would probably beg to tell you I am still that, but I’d like to think my 30’s have had a profound impact on my life…I suppose if I could be ‘stuck’ at an age it would be early childhood because from observing Em, you know all you need to know about your own world and faith and how to treat others, but nothing about the big, bad, scary world that happens outside the walls of your pink and brown bedroom.
I have not learned everything, for that I am grateful. If I ever announce that I have learned it all, shoot me…seriously. When I am with someone older than me I try to listen to their life…listen to either something they want to teach me or listen by observing. The key word there being listen. I believe the past is important and age and experience bear weight in the wisdom arena. Maybe it’s from reading the book of Proverbs a lot, or maybe it’s just the obvious…I don’t know everything. But as I walked back home I wondered if everyone, no matter their age, has an age that they live by? For instance, my grandparents, at least in my observation, lived within their 40’s and 50’s well into their early 80’s. Now they are in their 90’s and even though they are sharp as tacks, their bodies have most certainly caught up with them, if not surpassed them.
At what age does that happen? Walking down my street at age 37, I feel invincible, able to leap over a building in a single bound. Able to at least attempt to solve the world’s problems, not wars and politics, but the problems each of our hearts’ contain.
Does my 93 year old gramma, who used to cut up a rug like Ginger Rogers well into her 80’s but just broke her hip the night before last (not dancing but trying to walk on her own) feel like Em in her heart? Does my gramps, 92, Ginger’s Fred Astaire, feel 37? He doesn’t, mind you, because he’s told me in no uncertain terms that getting old sucks, but at what age did he start to age? When does life start catching up with us, so to speak? I’ve always thought of age as simply a number, not a state of mind.
My many days laying out in the sun have caught up with me. My many years eating processed foods, and things ‘fat-free’ but not calorie or carb-free, are still sticking around on my thighs, unfortunately. But what about my heart? My attitude? My mind? My outlook on life?
I know I am going to die one day and I no longer fear it. Perhaps the turning point for me in living was when I no longer feared that living would one day end? No. Not ‘perhaps’.
I guess it makes living one day at a time, to the fullest, that much more meaningful…