Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On Aging

I have been thinking a lot about my age lately. Well, not my age per se, but that I am getting older...and looking older. Obviously it is inevitable that we all get older, but luckily I don't feel "older". I think that is a tribute to the fact that I have a lot of love in my life. I love what I do for work, even though when I have demanding clients it can be stressful. I love, love, love my family even though each of them (Except Elijah, so far) test my limits and occassionally leave me wondering if the job of Mothering comes with a paid Mental Health Day? HA! We ALL wish! And I love my friends, who rejuvenate me no matter what. However, I'll occassionally see my laugh lines in a photo or notice that my roots don't seem to be growing in as dark anymore (gray anyone??) and I'm reminded that aging is happening...one day, one week, one year, one child at a time...

I've always hoped that I could be one of those women who embrace growing older and do it gracefully. And I'll admit that I've been a little judgemental in my life. Seeing an older woman in a too short skirt or pig tails or, let's face it- waaay too much plastic surgery (I do live in LA LA land after all,) leaves me thinking, "I hope I never lose perspective that way." And while I do hope that I can be reasonable about the fashions that are too young looking for me, or the make-ups that are too harsh, or the jeans too tight, I want to measure my age in another way. I want to measure my life in a well-lived way. A life spent making mistakes and learning beautiful lessons as a result. A life filled with imperfections, that turn out to be just right anyway. So instead of thinking about what all I don't have anymore (cue: 6 pack abs, shiny, wrinkle free skin, and the adoration of every man I pass...well, okay... that's partially a list of what I wish I had...but I digress...) I'd like to put together a "what got me here" list. Like a general who had to earn his stripes, I've earned my own aging "stripes" and this is how:

My life so far, as seen by a very partial, random list:

Had my first job at a greasy chinese restaurant with a chef who "lost it", ran around with a meat cleaver trying to kill the other chef and ended up in a mental facility. (The restaurant has since closed.)

Learned to drive & passed my driver's test on my 16th birthday (Phew!)

Bought my first brand new car at the age of 29. Traded it in 6 years later for a minivan.

Went to community college while balancing a dance career and sending in final term papers from gigs in Japan.

Toured a slice of the world while working on cruise ships. Slept until 2:30pm regularly.

Stayed up so late talking to a friend that we decided to just start drinking coffee and start our day.

Married the wrong man. Got divorced. Figured out what was important and then married the right man. (And wore a better dress.)

Picked out an 8 week old puppy and brought him home, trained him, loved him, and said goodbye to him as he left this world almost 13 years later.

Gave birth to Christian. Tough recovery from the birth, tough baby.

Gave birth to Elijah. Easy recovery from the birth, easy baby. Hmmmm I sense a pattern.

Decided to give birth to Elijah without an epidural. Did it and felt like a rockstar.

Achieved my dream to be a dancer and did it until it didn't mean the same to me anymore.

Hid in a closet to scare a friend, waited 45 minutes to jump out, and scared him so badly that I STILL laugh out loud just thinking about the expression on his face. And that was 20 years ago.

I can make a list about myself and say that something happened 20 years ago. ....Wow.


When I look at this little list of random things from my life, I feel like I've earned my "stripes" in the best possible way. It reminds me that although it will occassionally be hard to watch my face and body grow older, I am trading in the youth for the experience, the wisdom and the appreciation.

In the words of one of the world's great choreographers:
"Age is the acceptance of a term of years, but maturity is the glory of the years." -Martha Graham

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