“Mommy, do you like getting older?”, asked my adoring little boy, gazing up at me, while he lay in my arms.
“F**k no, sweetie!” I said, ever so gently.
“My hair keeps falling out, I can’t remember why I walk into certain rooms in my house, I have started muttering out loud to myself to remember what I need to be doing : ‘ok, need to pack the lunches, then go take the laundry out of the dryer.’ I have wrinkles on my forehead that don’t go away when I’m done frowning, I have some serious issues if I am denied a bathroom break every hour, and find myself sneezing and peeing simultaneously, a lot.”
I have decided that life is a play, in two acts. Act one is ages birth through 39: you build the story and the plot line. Everyone gets to meet all of the characters in their story. Some you realize you don’t like, and some you realize you love. You have a conflict or two, and learn how to solve it. You learn about the beauty of new life, and the sadness of death.
Age 40 is intermission: you get up, you stretch, get some fresh air, and try to figure out how much time is left.
Act two starts at age 41. This is where it gets good: The plot thickens. Will the character realize her dream? Will they stay together? Who are her true friends? How does the problem get solved? What do those kids grow up to be? What happens to all of them? How does it end?
Today was the 100th day of school for Aidan’s class. There was a celebration and they had a project to do: picture yourself being 100 years old. What will you look like? Draw a picture of yourself at 100. And then list the 10 things you want to do before you turn 100.
These 4 and 5 year olds had some great things they want to do: ride a bike without training wheels, fly in a helicopter, try being a farmer or a fireman, become a true Lego master (that was Aidan).
Our pretty young teacher in her 20s had done her own 10 things as an example: get married, become a mom, learn to cook, plant a garden.
So, today, on my 41st bday, I wondered what my 10 things are that I want to do before I’m 100? What do I want to do, try, be? What will I look like at 100 (hoping it includes a face lift, Botox, and hair extensions so I only look 96.)
Once I figure these things out, that should help frame my second act. Sometimes there are ridiculous or sad plot twists that you didn’t see coming, and sometimes there are amazing surprises that you never could have predicted.
And so, yes, my baby boy, even as my butt and boobs continue to drop, even as I have to finally accept that carbs are not my friend anymore, my real answer is I do like getting older. Because I can’t wait to see what happens next.