Thursday, May 21, 2009


I find myself sitting in the dermatologist’s office waiting to have the doctor look at a spot on my back. Apparently, this spot has been growing steadily for the past year and my lovely hubby who can actually see it on my back told me it was time to have it checked. So, here I am. Waiting. And waiting. It’s nice. I have a little me time. Normally I think I’d be peeved about waiting, but at this time in my life, I’m happy to have a moment to myself. I look at my watch and realize I’m waiting because I actually arrived early. Um, really early.

So, for the first time in months, I find myself reading a magazine. And I am really getting into reading this magazine. So much so, I miss it when they call my name. And I’m the one and only person in the waiting room.

The particular article I was reading was commentary from women sharing their experiences about being 30, 40, 50, and 60 years old. It was well written and a fantastic read, but I was cut short and I didn’t finish it. Perhaps it being unfinished for me is why it’s still very much on my mind - but I think it also really spoke to me. I’d love to chase it up and have a read of it from start to finish, but I didn’t catch the magazines title and I think the issue was September 2007 anyway.

Having reached a new decade myself in January, age has been on my mind. Well, not so much age as stage in life and how I feel about my age and where I am versus where I thought I’d be.

First of all, I don’t feel 40. I can’t remember what I thought 40 would feel like, but it wasn’t like this. Older maybe? More together? More in control? Inside I’m still the same insecure geeky girl I was in grade school. I’m surprised everyone doesn’t see it – but they don’t.

I’m not where I want to be but I’m OK with where I’m at, for now. In 5 years time, I don’t know what I’ll be doing or where I’ll be but it will be different from now. I’m more accepting of change and the good and bad that goes with it, but I look for something to grasp for security.

40 has brought exhaustion. Blame it on age, work, or baby. Whatever. But dang, I’m tired! I just want 5 more minutes of sleep. People, it’s all I ask. 5 more minutes.

I also want more time. The clock moves faster and faster...days become weeks….weeks roll into months and suddenly, its Christmas again. Year after year, it’s Christmas and next year I swear I’ll buy gifts earlier, and I’ll get into the spirit of the season more, and it won’t be so chaotic, if I could only breathe, and then it’s Christmas again. Eek.

And every year I go through more gallons of moisturizer and yet those lines are not going away. The ones around my eyes show up in photos now. So do the bags. Because I just want 5 more minutes of sleep.

In my 20’s I had time to do extensive make up and elaborate hair. I would like a bit of that time back. I promise I’d spend it more wisely.

I would also like to be back in a smaller size. But I’m not. And strangely, it doesn’t torment me like it would have a decade ago.

When I spend time in front of a mirror these days, it’s because I’m holding a baby and she wants to see herself. For the first time in my life, I know what I look like when I genuinely smile and laugh, because I can see it played back at me. I look happy.

Work and baby leave no time for some of the things I used to love to do – pottery, nights out, good books, working out, gardening, traveling, and cooking. I think these things have stopped in part because she’s just a baby still. I miss them and I’ll get back to them over time but I’m not willing to pursue them now at the expense of cutting my time with my family short.

I find I feel a greater connection to the world around. World events shape me and haunt me more than ever.

There is more calm at this age than there was at 20 or 30. There is also far less drama. I am no longer fighting small battles, but find that I sometimes become outraged by inequities within a greater system.

I notice a desire to learn. I’m shamed that I can’t recite the names of the US Presidents in order. Certainly I should have learned this along the way. I find myself staring at world maps. I desperately want a greater understanding of the political machine, world economies, and investing. I demand to know who got us into a global financial crisis.

Sometimes, like in this doctor’s office simply reading a magazine, I get a nostalgic feeling about my past. I can vividly remember everything from studying in college to living in Italy to starting a job in Aspen. It’s like a flood sometimes. I miss moments of it but I’m more aware, content, and fulfilled in my life now.

Mainly I just think, how did I get here? Wasn’t I just 20? Weren’t my sister’s kids just babies? When did we all grow up?

I came across a birthday card once that read, “Inside every old person is a young person that wondered what the heck happened.” Does that mean when I’m 90 I’m still going to feel like an insecure, geeky grade schooler?

Oh, and that spot on my back…it’s fine. “It’s what we call a liver spot,” said the dermatologist. “It’s something that happens with age.”


Susanica said...

I love this post Beth. If it helps, you never seemed like a geeky kid, and I first met you when you were only 14. Can you believe I was only 22 when I started teaching at Vis? Wow. So your thoughts on age are intriguing. When I was a kid there was a woman in our church who turned 40 and kept her long hair. For some reason this was scandalous. 40 seemed unbelievably old to me then. of course now that I'll turn 49 in Sept. I've rethought my position on that.

I haven't yet blogged about how 2 months ago I got a semi-permanent dye in my hair (my regular red color of course) and no one, I repeat, NO ONE has guessed that I was Danny's grandmother. I was getting so sick of the greying hair making me seem old, I felt old. So one little dye job to assuage my hurt feelings and I feel completly different because I'm perceived differently? That's crazy right? Alright, enough for now. We'll chat again soon. -Pep

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

How did you know that I had blog post topic waiting for me to find time to write entitled "You can have it all...just not all at once."

Maybe I can just cut and paste your blog into mine... Hmmm...

Thank you for so articulatley and thoughtfully writing many of the same thoughts I've had since becoming a mom and turning 40. (Both of which are realities yet, I still don't think of myself...)

AKS said...

This post was awesome! No matter what the subject of your blog is, I cry. So much of your personality comes across in your writing that I sometimes just ache to cross the fence and chat with you. Our lives are quite opposite at the moment - I have spent (and continue to spend) many hours in the waiting room of doctors' offices. It's depressing to recognize all the magazines as the same ones that were there last time or at another's office. I now arrive late to my appointments just so I won't have anymore time to myself and my thoughts. When you come home I promise to take Madden off your hands so that you can have more time to yourself and I can have less... Then we both win!
Miss you.

Matthew Brenengen said...

"Inside I’m still the same insecure geeky girl I was in grade school. I’m surprised everyone doesn’t see it – but they don’t."

OMG Beth - we totally all see it and talk about how geeky you are, but only do that behind your back.

Ana said...

Oh my Auntie Beth. You'll never be old to me. I miss you and love you. I was thinking about you today and decided to bookmark your blog on my new phone, so now I can check it with two clicks, anytime I want. All my love to you and my uncle and cousin. <3