The older I get, the better I like myself and the more I feel at peace with what God has in store for me. There are no more sleepless nights with the little Me inside my head running around in panicked circles trying to make sense of it all. I’ve come to realize I will never make sense of it all, and I’m okay with that. I can try to grasp a little bit at a time, quietly piecing it together until a pattern starts to emerge.
The older I get, the more emotional I get. For those who know me well, that might seem inconceivable but perhaps I should explain: I get emotional about WEIRD things now: the kind of things that used to make me laugh when I was younger and grown-ups got emotional over them. Things like breaking a bowl make me cry (“WHAT IF I HOST PEOPLE AND I ONLY HAVE THREE MATCHING BOWLS INSTEAD OF THE FULL SET OF FOUR AND SOMEONE HAS A BOWL THAT DOESN’T MATCH AND IT’S AWKWARD AND OUT OF PLACE LIKE ME AND THEY SEE RIGHT THROUGH ME AND REALIZE I CAN’T KEEP MY LIFE TOGETHER?!” – to which Jamie responds carefully, “When do you ever host people?” Oh. Good point). Things annoy me that never would have before, like Jamie’s growing pile of unlaundered clothes in the corner of the bedroom, which I point out huffily to him before freaking out (OH MY GOSH I SOUND LIKE A NAGGING WIFE – HOLY CRAP, NEVER MIND, THROW THEM EVERYWHERE! DECORATE THE HOUSE WITH THEM! I AM STILL CARELESS AND FREE AND TOTALLY UNWIFELY!!!).
The older I get, the more meltdowns I have. I have breakdowns over things like the toilet plunger, against which I waged an epic battle last weekend. Before our wedding, we registered for this sleek toilet plunger and brush set in bronze holders. At the time, I was quite pleased with how lovely they looked, but then I tried to pull the plunger out of its pretty bronze holder and realized it was suctioned to the bottom. Fortunately, Jamie was gone, but naturally I was embarrassed about clogging the toilet, and I was absolutely determined to fix it before he got back. I yanked and tugged and shouted curse words (hopefully my neighbors weren’t listening too closely?).
I am SO GLAD Jamie was absent and thus did not witness the crazy. I was so frustrated I had tears running down my cheeks and finally got myself so worked up that I ran outside to the sidewalk with the bronze holder and banged it as hard as I could against the sidewalk to dislodge the plunger.
Our apartment complex houses a lot of minority students, and I kind of picture them peeking out their windows and raising their eyebrows at each other like, “Oh my, that is one crazy ass white girl.”
In the end, I didn’t get the plunger out even though I banged the bronze holder so hard against the sidewalk that the bottom of it came loose (but NOT THE PLUNGER). I was so mad that I ran to the dumpster, hurled the plunger in, and stomped over to Big Lots across the street. I bought a new plunger with a nice open plastic holder. People at Big Lots, including the cashier, were staring at me a little strangely (was it the tear-stained cheeks or the frizzy hair or the fact that I was quite deliberately and unashamedly stalking to the register with just a plunger in hand?).
Once back home, I, exhausted, fell asleep.
The older I get, the easier I fall in love. I fall in love more and more with my husband, which never ceases to amaze me, since I loved him enough before we got married to decide I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I fall in love with books and pretty metaphors and the satisfying sound of the keyboard when I have a breakthrough on a work project and start pounding away furiously. I fall in love when I hold my little nephews and look at their smooth, pure faces, utterly unmarred by worry or sadness. I fall in love with my two families, mine and my husband’s.
The older I get, the more I worry. Or again, rather, the more I worry about different things. Instead of worrying about whether or not I got that question I was agonizing over right on the test a week ago, I worry whether or not I should be spending more time researching the mutual funds our retirement accounts are invested in, or for that matter, whether or not we should be contributing a little more to those accounts. Then I worry about the retirement crisis in America and the fact that all of our currency is fiat currency and one computer virus could wipe out all our wealth and all the work I’ve ever worked on up to this point.
Then I have to remind myself to calm down a bit.
The older I get, the more plans change. My mom laughs when I muse about what having kids someday might be like: this from the girl who swore there was No Way she was Ever Having Kids until she was at least 35, if at all. And speaking of worry, sometimes I worry about that. Like seriously: How do mamas do it, work 40+ hours a week and keep themselves and their children alive and fed and do the administrative tasks that living simply requires, like cleaning and running errands? I can barely feed myself and keep a 600 square foot apartment clean. Sometimes I suspect older adults either have some sort of secret I haven’t yet discovered – or maybe they’ve simply built up endurance running through life so long; their legs have gone numb, like halfway through a marathon. They can just keep going.
The older I get, the more excited I get. I am excited about where I am now, where I work and the people I work with, my friends whom I adore, my partner in all of life, the future, the things God has yet to teach me. Life is crazily, furiously, heartrendingly, joyously freaking beautiful, and I am ready for it all.