Aging is such a strange thing. I think our minds kind of quit aging really around our teens. That's why it's so hard for us to realize how old we are sometimes. That's why time slips by so quickly. I don't feel that different emotionally and mentally now than when I was 16 or 17. More confident and self assured, definitely. More knowledgeable about a great many different things for sure. But older? Good lord no. It doesn't feel like 16 was 16 years ago. I've been driving for over half my life. I've been out of mandatory school for 14.5 years. I've been married for 7.5 years. I have THREE CHILDREN (who decided THAT was a smart move? Me taking care of three kids seems like a bad idea.) I've got a son who is almost 5 and I've been in this current house for over 5 years, the longest I've lived anywhere since moving out of my parents house to go to college. When I sit down to add all the numbers up, I get to 32 years old and it still doesn't make sense.
It's like trying to balance a check book: the numbers are all there and (hopefully) add up evenly, but sometimes it still doesn't make sense. Did I fall asleep and miss something? Did I hit a time warp at some point? Maybe that was it. Time warp makes as much sense as anything else. That or I'm secretly Rip van Winkle.
And then at other times, yes, I am ABSOLUTELY 32. The idea of going out to clubs or bars or taking wild vacations or drinking all night (you know, stereotypical 20-something behavior) sounds exhausting. I'd much rather sit at home and cross-stitch and watch Netflix or Hulu or watch a dvd or listen to an audio book. (Maybe I'm actually OLDER than 32, based on my favorite activities. I'm ready to sign up for AARP! Cripes.) Chasing my children around a park or playground is tiring. Taking a big trip SOUNDS fun, but actually doing it is so not fun. We recently went on our annual New Braunfels trip and it was a lot. Packing for three kids and myself away for four days and planning on cooking while we're there....well, I filled my car and Austin's with our gear. And we used every bit of it. We played the games, spread the toys across the floor, watched the dvds, ate the food, wore the clothes, changed the diapers, used the Go-Pod and the pack-n-play, mixed up the bottles, drank, then washed the bottles. The last 24 hours I was essentially on my own. Yes, family was around but it's still really me. And it was tiring.
I'm 32 now! I'm getting older! My hair is still thick and dark, but now the color is helped along. I've got shiny silver hairs taking over and pushing the dark ones aside. My skin is still fairly smooth, but it's starting to loosen and crease. My body is thicker than 16 years ago, and for good reason. It's been stretched and filled and emptied three times. I've been marked by my 32 years on this planet. I've been physically scarred, and torn. I've been formed by life and changed from who I was, like a lump of clay. And the clay has been painted and now the paint is starting slowly to fade and chip away, but the cracks could be beautiful, too, if I let them.
If I embrace my new 32 year old self, embrace the stretch marks and gray hairs and coming wrinkles (though my mom doesn't have many so fingers crossed), embrace the canvas and the paint, then I'll be setting a good example for my children AND making my life easier. Complaining about how I look isn't good for anyone. I'm soft for little heads to lay on and my hair is silver to shine in the darkness when they're scared and need Mommy.
It's been an eventful 32 years. Moves, deaths, marriages, births, work, play, sleep, sleeplessness, so much has happened. And so much is still to come.
But seriously. Thirty-two years. Time flies when you're having fun.
I was seriously a cute toddler. Look at me!
In college: scraping wallpaper in our tiny bathroom to repaint it. We found something like 4 layers of paper. Not even kidding. I still have that shirt. It does NOT fit as well as it used to.
This past weekend at my birthday dinner.