Today I officially started the week long festivities for my birthday. Yeah, you read right, week long. I just really like birthdays, and I strongly believe that the older you get the longer you should celebrate as your birthdays are progressively becoming fewer and fewer. So today I kicked off with a Spa day with the girls and tomorrow I’m going to bake myself a real, authentic New York Cheesecake (for the first time ever, so I’m not sure it’ll actually be edible), and so on and so forth all week long.
The upcoming birthday is naturally bringing me to reflect on life and age and whatnot (thank goodness this only happens once a year), and I realized something surprising (to me at least). Time passes and we change, but the things that brought on the biggest changes in my life were not related to the passage of time or the natural succession of events in my life (high school, college, work, marriage, kids…), they were all emotional. Take having children, sure the logistics in my life changed, I can rarely go anywhere without someone hanging off my leg, but what really changed ME was feeling for them. Ok. I know I sound ridiculous, but hear me out. You have kids, your life changes, you party less (mainly because you’re bone tired all the time), you yell way more, your days become nightmarish wild goose chases that never seem to end, but what changes you, what really changes you is the… ok I don’t know how to define it… (I stopped writing and thought about it for a day, and there’s no word that comprises the whole feeling)… the love, the responsibility, the constant never ending worry, the hopes and dreams, the anger, the disappointment, the delight…
I used to drive fast, really fast (well as fast as my cars would go, it’s all relative, it’s not like I had a Ferrari), but now I’m the woman who shakes her fist at the BMW passing me at full speed on the freeway. What happened? I started seeing all sorts of apocalyptic scenarios every time I got behind the wheel of a car; the bloody dead bodies of my children on the asphalt after an accident, or the two of them orphaned because I took a turn too fast in the snow, driving down a mountain (not beyond the realm of possibility where we live), I could go on and on and on. Now, I’m a rational person, so I blame CSI for all this anxiety, but the truth is that I’ve got something really important to lose and now that I’m older I’ve gained a much deeper understanding of this.
This morning, as soon as I woke up, I remembered a day that I went to pick my parents up at the airport. I was seventeen years old, and my twelve year old brother and I had left the house late. Really, really late. We basically left the house at around the time the flight landed. Sure, it was an international flight, so they had to go through customs and immigration and whatnot, but still… we were going to be late, and my Mom (who has turned being late into an art form) will not abide with anyone being late to pick her up. So I’m driving down the highway, with my twelve year old brother in the car, and I was going 110 mph. I want you to think about that for a second. I was seventeen years old and I was barreling down a major highway in one of the biggest cities in the US at 110 miles per hour. With my brother in the car. Now tell me that thought didn’t make your blood run cold.
So today’s reflection was this, if my seventeen year old self could see me now she would be sooooo embarrassed of the fuddy-duddy I’ve become, what with my sensible shoes, and my practical haircut and the few (or so) extra pounds I’m carrying around, but if I could see her right now, I’d smack her upside the head and ground her for years.
So we get older, inevitably, inexorably older. Thank God!