page contents

Sunday, June 25, 2017

On Age

“Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don't take it off until you're thirty-four.”

That quote is from the late and great Nora Ephron. Unless you're Jennifer Aniston, most women over the age of 40 will relate. Yesterday I celebrated numero 48. It was a fun, celebratory day with lots of good wishes from lots of special people in my life. But it's impossible for me not think FORTY-EIGHT! OH MY GOD. WHEN DID I GET THAT OLD? My own father can't believe he's the dad of an old person. My kids, on the other hand, have always thought I was old. Nevertheless, I will continue to coach myself by saying things like, "Well, I'm not 50 yet." And when that milestone hits in two years, I'll move on and say things like "Well, I'm not 51 yet."

me concerned about age at 47
I used to work with a guy who would tell people he was 50 when he was actually in his thirties. Everyone would be like, "Really? You look so young!" I thought this to be an ingenious strategy. If someone is bound to lie about their age (unless they're under the age of 21), they tend to say they're actually younger than they are, which is kind of dumb really. If I were to tell someone right now I was thirty, they'd look at me and spout out some sort of lie like, "You look so good."  But they'd actually be thinking,"Whoa. That woman hasn't aged well." Best to stick with the truth probably. And why not?

There's much to be said about aging. I could go on about the wisdom you gain as you grow older and yadayadayada. Or, how it's nice to reach an age when you don't have to worry about how to pay your bills. But the truth is that each year brings its own challenges and rewards. Good stuff happens. Bad stuff happens. You figure out how to cope and you try to laugh along the way. Laughing is key as your body starts to take on some strange qualities. (When did my husband and I obtain such bad breath? How does that happen all of the sudden?)

I often find myself reminiscing about the days when our kids were cute toddlers and long to go back to snuggling and reading with them on the couch. Undoubtedly, I loved those moments. But there were the other moments too. The little spats with my husband on dividing up the work. Picking up the zillions of legos on the floor. (I still find them once in a while.) Drying the many tears that come with children. And the continual insecurity that time was going too fast and I wasn't doing everything I needed to be doing.

Then I reached 48. And I'm not so worried anymore. I can go to the grocery store without makeup and not care. My husband and I are as happy as we've ever been. The kids are fine–quite good actually. They can do their own laundry and make grilled cheeses.

Okay sure, my hair needs color every four weeks. There's this squish around my stomach that won't shrink no matter how much I diet. There are things like colonoscopies that lurk in my short future. It's all really okay. I know this because I can put on a bikini (in the privacy of my own home of course) and instead of cry, I laugh–a sure sign of maturity.
me with posse not concerned about age at 48

Monday, June 5, 2017

I Want to Run!

There were plenty of reasons not to go.

  • It was going to be expensive.
  • The boys might've had state soccer that weekend.
  • Cole is playing summer league.
  • Doug would most likely be spraying.
  • It was going to be expensive.

Still. It was U2. The 30-year reunion of The Joshua Tree tour. Quite possibly the best album ever made according to the Stef Kramer book of music opinions. So I bought the tickets and made hotel reservations for the closest venue: Chicago on June 4th. Then I found out my cousin was getting married that weekend. Oh druthers! God didn't want us to go.

I decided we would sell our tickets. When I tried to cancel my hotel reservation, I was told, "No problem!" But I'd still be charged for both nights. What was going on? God was definitely giving us mixed signals. So after some hand wringing and an assurance from my cousin that there'd be no hard feelings, the trip was on. 

I took two days off from work. Doug scrambled to finish spraying before leaving. Cole told his coach he'd be gone. So with a touch of anxiety, we left for the weekend. Within a few hours, I had no regrets. The weekend was in the Top Ten strata. Why you ask?

My and my college pal, Laura.
  • Met up with our busy and elusive daughter, Alex, in Iowa City just as the Arts Festival was going on. What luck! Doug and Cole couldn't have been happier to get their dose of culture.
  • Had lunch with a college friend whom I haven't seen for 20 years. 20 years. It was a three hour lunch. (A three hour lunch!) Tears. Smiles. Memories of two 21 year-olds in 1990 getting 42 pitchers at Dooley's on their day-apart birthdays with hardly enough friends to drink all the booze. Lots of laughter.
  • Talked with my hubby. I mean really talked. Not once did we discuss schedules or daily to-do's. And you know what? I really like hanging out with Doug. He's fun and good and likes to laugh. I'm so glad I married him.

Did I mention we saw U2? In Soldier Field? In all honesty, it wasn't even the highlight. It was the opening act, The Lumineers. Kidding! I won't deny the entire show was a delight. But the best parts of the weekend? Our kids hanging out together while we scooted off to Chicago. Seeing an old friend whom I still adore. Spending alone time with my cool and awesome husband. 

There's always a million reasons not to do something. So next time you agonize over taking that trip, I'd suggest focusing on the one good reason to do it: connecting with the people that matter to you. That's what Bono would do.