Markers of Age

What are the little realities in life that make you suddenly pause and think ‘how can this be?’ (with a slightly panicked tone of voice)?

What little clues rear up and bite you in the rear when you’re not looking, that make you whip around in shock, thinking, rather hysterically, ‘hey now!’?

Let’s list them, shall we?

When your little sister is older than you and you don’t know how that happened.

When your baby comes home for a visit. Think about that a moment. And then, when you ask your husband if he has any cash so you can get a coffee to keep you awake for a work meeting, and your son pulls out his wallet. It’s just SO wrong when your child gives you money instead of the other way around.

And let’s not even talk about gray hair. Well, okay, let’s talk about that by gloating first and saying that both older and younger siblings as well as friends, have had gray hair a long time. At least it happened to them first. And if you’re reading this, neener, neener.

Then there’s the little things.

Realizing that you’d rather go to bed when it gets dark than stay up all night debating what’s wrong with the world and making plans to save it.

Learning, way too late in life, to say what you mean, speak up for yourself, be blunt, be honest, and no longer care what others think. If only that wisdom could have been in my brain during the tortured high school years.

Realizing that you have friends who have been best friends for longer than you ever would have dreamed when you first met them. Over forty years now that I think about it, which blows me away because in my brain we’re still in our twenties.

And speaking of that, the weird dichotomy of your brain convinced you’re considerably younger than the calendar says.

Outliving your parents and realizing you’re never too old to be an orphan, and how wrong that is.

When the doctor says specific, humiliating physicals are needed because you’re now at ‘that age’.

Or, if you have a doctor with a sense of humor, like I do, tells me that out of the Celtic female trilogy, I’ve flown past ‘maiden’ and ‘mother’, and am now a ‘crone’. I told him I prefer ‘wise woman’. He laughed.

When you read obituaries and see the deaths of those in their seventies and eighties and realize those ages are starting to appear on the horizon. Still distant, but starting to peek out at you.

Okay, I’m depressing myself. Think I’ll go borrow some money from the kid and figure out something to do that will embarrass him.

That’s the flip side. The ability to throw off society’s expectations and do whatever you want, knowing people will whisper ‘poor thing, must be getting senile’ and that they’ll be too polite to make you stop.

Hmmm. This could be fun.

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