When I was in high school, they had us do an exercise in which we pictured ourselves at thirty -- what we'd be doing, where we'd be living -- and write a letter to ourselves. Not sure what that was supposed to accomplish, really, and I don't recall what I said to my thirty-year-old self, but I do remember vividly the feeling of "No way! Thirty is ancient! I'll never be thirty!"
Tomorrow I turn 48, and the prevailing thought is "How did I get here?" I still feel about fifteen (except when I wake up after a day spent hauling dirt---then I feel 130). I got my hair cut yesterday, and as I sat watching silver little hairs drift down on my black cape, I couldn't avoid the fact that I am now, well, old. Maybe not old old, and I hope to get a lot older, but still, I'm an adult now. I should probably start acting like one.
There are advantages and disadvantages, of course, to aging. I'm still figuring out what those are. Theoretically (according to the magazines) I'm at the top of my power right now... I say as I sit in my fuzzy bathrobe, eating cold cereal and thinking about my commute to work this morning. Um...I'm not sure this power thing is all it's cracked up to be. Still, I hope I've gained some wisdom as I've gone along, and I think my perspective, at least, has matured.
I am not going to go out and dye the grey hair. I am not going to Botox and detox my way to a younger look. I don't mind looking my age. I fully acknowledge that the wrinkles and sags are now a part of me, and the lines in my face are ones I've put there by the smiles and frowns I've made over the past 48 years--hopefully more smiles than frowns. I like being able to look at other people and see their histories and characters written in their faces. I wonder what other people read when they look at me?
A bit ditzy. A bit scattered. Some intelligence. Some experience. Some practicality. Hopefully some kindness and happiness.
If I were to write that letter now to my thirty-year-old self, I would have a better idea what to say. I think I would give me some encouragement and hope. Thirty is nothing. You have a lot ahead of you! Go for it! I'm cheering for you. And remember to smile more; your wrinkles will thank you later.