Truths No One Wants To Believe

No one in their twenties listens.

There is a change that occurs, some place in the early forties and no one believes it will come.

I didn't believe though I had many leading the way for me, many sliding slowly into suburban lethargy, weight, bills, children, skin stretching just so, pleated pants.

No one in their twenties, with their dusky skin and clear eyes, and bounce out of bed energy believes that the day will come when just the energy needed to do the basics is all you want to give, when choosing between vitality and relevance seems a poison, but easy, choice and all of a sudden then there you are up in the morning, looking in the mirror at the puff under your eyes but remembering a time when that wasn't there.

Pumice those heels, ladies.

One spends too much time, looking over old photos, being invited to "reunions" designed to do what exactly? A group madness of who managed to stay in shape or not? Living with ghosts of things done or not done, being disregarded by those perky, hip younglings rightfully taking their newly fledged space on the stage, realizing that the weight you carry isn't just physical (the terrible middle spread of the middle aged) but emotional, responsible, beyond proverbial.

You act inappropriately, though if you were 10 years younger it would be an action of normalcy. Your younger friends think you are "cool" for doing so much, but you know that means you are an exception and exhausted for it. You keep it up, even though you wonder what the point is, when settling into inertia would be so soothing. You realize the point is you and no one else, you and what you believe in.

No one believes it's coming this merging of awareness, acute discomfort and appraisal of middle age. Perhaps the article is right, and middle age is truly a place of full adulthood, of moving past selfish desires and into a true sense of self. It can feel that way surely, at least to me. What is hard is when I feel that way, and it is clear those feelings don't truly matter in a world where youth is king.

It is hard to accept when one is 25 that one could ever not be amazing, brilliant, energized.

Then again, what 14 year old ever believed that their parents truly understood what they were going through. And every parent of a 14 year old does. truly. understand.

What is hardest to accept is that one has somehow magically reached that point of Not Being Young. Not being weightless, easy, free. Clear skinned and highly metabolic. Cool clothes, hip thoughts. And then there you are and the dismissive glance of the young makes it quite clear that it's (perhaps to them not you) here. Age.

It is a harbinger perhaps of what is to come. I've seen the elderly, my sad demented mother has shown me the path ahead. I know and believe what is to come and so I am going to take full advantage of the youth I have left, I'll go wildeyed and fighting into the dank cloudy afternoon light of middle age, even if it makes me look bad for photographs.

Comments

  1. I think we get to know more cool old people so you have some different models. I've known people in their 60s and 70s that were way more young than some 25 years old I know.

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  2. Yes. I think we are actually really lucky in that we do know cool people of all ages, but I think I've just been particularly exhausted lately. I am not going to wear pleated pants.

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  3. So many people of the 'middle aged' variety seem to seek relevance through their kids. I'd rather my kids find relevance through me. Take a stand. Work for it. Sacrifice a few comforts. Try to live your life in conformity with the values you have, not those of your neighbor, etc.

    I hope to be the crazy old man that my kids are embarrassed but secretly proud of for holding on to the ideals 'of youth.'

    Live the change you want to be.

    See you at book club.

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  4. Yes. Right now I'm not at all worried about my children and any relationship I have with them. I think I tend to be surrounded (lately anyway) with folks in their 20's and at the same time very distinct reminders of my own 20's and I see a thing there in that juncture...a memory that I myself didn't believe that time would pass, and yet it did. That...well I don't know actually, but it is a piercing kind of feeling about realizing what I didn't know. What perhaps no one should know.

    See you soon,
    J

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  5. Where did you go Anon? Do over? Or email me.

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  6. hey julie.

    these things have been on my mind too. i think this can be particularly acute for women in western society, since so much of our social currency is based on our appearance.

    i guess i don't have the answers or anything, but i have personally found more joy and comfort in being myself at any age. i've thought about the alternative (clinging to a past representation of self or youth) and that seems far less desirable than staying friends with myself as i age.

    i like the new powers i didn't have when i was young: how to stand up for myself, a good grasp of all sorts of vegetarian cooking, how to persevere in the crucible of raising a newborn, a good knowledge of politics, art and music and knowing when to hold em or fold em. yeah, my ass is more square and my eyelids are more droopy, and queso is a quarterly treat instead of a 3x weekly occurrence, but i am more happy now than i was before, when i was worried if X liked me, or thought i was cool, or whether my boobs look good in this shirt.

    personally, i dont have the greatest examples of aging in my immediate family, and i imagine your mother looms large in your own perception of aging and time. but there are so many other great examples of people aging gracefully and unfolding beautifully over time, that i can't help but hang my hat on my life can really be what i make it, vs. some rut i am destined to plod along in.

    anyhoo. just wanted to let you know you are not the only one who has chewed on these thoughts.

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  7. "Staying friends with myself as I age." That's just beautiful.
    Thank you to my Anons today!

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  8. I've tried to write this comment twice now, and each time it sounds like yelling to me. So suffice it to say that I freaking love my 40s. I do more to make me happy now because I can discriminate and choose - something I couldn't do in my 20s. I love the way I look now, in my 20s I was scared of my body. I have a focus, in my 20s I was all confusion and anxiety. Sure, I don't get the same looks from the younger generation, but people on either decade surrounding my years are always checking me out. And I don't want a much younger lover. I like this age in friends as well as myself. I do make compromises, but now I see them as my choice and pleasures instead of indications that I'm becoming a different (bad) person. This is true in parenting more than anywhere else. I've (mostly) given up trying to police and bully my children. Instead, we just hang together, enjoy our lives, I occasionally put down my foot, but mostly for personal reasons (no, I get the last brownie) rather than trying to make them a better person. This has made our relationships so much easier to deal with. Them so much easier to deal with. I think ageing is all about figuring out who you are and letting go of the stuff that doesn't matter to you. So, bring it on!

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  9. There are things I love deeply about my 40's too, Jessica. I just put up a new post trying to clarify. Some of the feelings that hit me yesterday have to do more with the mysterious feelings of being able to look back, and not being able to see forward, remembering things I felt...

    I enjoy myself more in so many ways, but I do wish I could have been more sure of myself then. I don't know. Point is, yes. I agree.

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