Sometimes I feel that I am living my life backwards in a way. For one thing, I have always thought that perhaps I am an old woman in a young body. My favorite color is purple, I have completely lost my long term (some days short term too) memory, and I drive like a grandma. Oh- I also love old movies and shows like The Golden Girls. I still like to hand write cards and letters, and I am not too adept when it comes to anything technological. The other day I was talking to my best friend, and the phrase "new-fangled devices" actually came out of my mouth. I think I may very well be an 80 year old trapped in a twenty-something body. I also sometimes feel that I am living my life backwards because I have made some major life changes in an order that is less than typical. I was a "child bride" and technically a teen pregnancy in a world where it is now commonly accepted to marry in your thirties and have children in your thirties or forties. I used to bristle at terms like "child bride" and I used to be hurt by the looks of open reproach I received from many when they saw me at the store with my (then) two children. Apparently, I skipped over the period of life in which I was supposed to "find myself". I don't think I ever really lost myself. Of course, it probably doesn't help that I apparently look like I'm nineteen (or so I've been told). My husband has been told that he looks about 35.....this was when he was 27! So people look at us like we are polygamists, or like we are the gold digger and the cradle robber, when really we are only 3 years apart in age. What is age really, but a number? There are some people in this world who will never have the emotional maturity necessary to nurture a loving and successful relationship. And there are definitely people who should never have children. Then there are people like my parents, who married young, and have grown together and have a stronger relationship because of it. I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember. It's all I've ever wanted to do really. And I have "found myself" through raising them as I have come to discover unrealized strengths (and weaknesses). I have also realized even more what is important to me. The things that I most want my children to learn and which I strive to teach them are obviously the things that are important to me. I may have missed the stage where I was evidently supposed to learn how much alcohol I could consume before passing out. And I suppose I will have a few less wild stories for the grandkids, but I will be young enough to actually play with my grandkids and to really enjoy them!
As for my wrinkles, I am growing sort of fond of them. For one thing, maybe they will help me to look a little closer to my age. For another, they are laugh lines. What does that say about me, other than "She must smile a lot"? Is that really such a bad thing? The number indicating my age may be alarmingly small to some. But just think.....in my relatively short time on this earth, I have laughed and smiled enough to leave a permanent manifestation of joy on my face! In a world where 20-year olds are getting Botox, I couldn't be prouder of my wrinkles. C.S. Lewis perhaps said it best; "Why shouldn't we have wrinkles? Honorable insignia of our service in this warfare." He also said, "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of being childish." I like to imagine myself as an old woman, surrounded by my grandchildren, possibly great-grandchildren, reading to them the favorite books of my childhood, and enjoying the stories just as much as I ever did as a little girl. What is age, but a number?