You know, sometimes I feel like I'm still a kid. OK, well, maybe not a "kid," but a teenager, to be sure. It's mostly when I'm staying up too late, or watching my favorite 80's flicks (a certain Boom Box Serenade comes to mind), or jamming to some classic Michael Jackson. I just wrap myself in a little bit of denial and pretend I'm 30 or so years younger, and 50 pounds lighter, and sans any obnoxiously wiry gray hairs. No judgment, please. It's not like I'm hiding in my room, smoking a joint, and trying to disguise the odor with air freshener or something! Not like I ever did that anyway.
Other times, I feel like I'm exactly my age. F-O-R-T-Y + F-O-U-R. That's mostly when I'm paying bills, or cooking dinner while trying to wash some dishes and sort through the day's mail all at the same time, or jamming to some classic Michael Jackson (what can I say, his music spans the ages). It's not so bad being 44, right? I mean, there are worse things I could be. Like 84. And I like what my 44-year-old brain knows. There's some occasionally-whacked wisdom up there. There's knowledge. And there's that whole "knowledge-is-power-thing." I wouldn't trade all that for all the big hair and leg warmers of my youth, or for all the vampires named Edward in the world.
[Um, well, maybe that's taking it a bit too far there. One can't be too hasty where Edward is concerned.]
But there also times when I feel O.L.D. And you know, not in the good way. Yesterday was a perfect example. I had gone to the bank to open a new checking account. Naturally, one of my former students was helping me, which automatically makes me feel old. Unfortunately, it didn't stop there.
I was debating which kind of checking account to open. Apparently, there are like seven different kinds, all with different requirements, and as "Annie" rattled the requirements off to me I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. So "Annie" was trying to help me narrow it down, but she kept pushing for the Merit Plus Checking. She mentioned it several times, so I was thinking it must be good and thought I might go with it. But being as that I am a visual person, I wanted to see the requirements on paper, so "Annie" gave me a brochure to help me in making a visual comparison, again suggesting that Merit Plus would be a great choice for me.
And then there it was. The moment I felt older than I've ever felt in my forty-four-year-old life. Right there in black and white...the second requirement for the Merit Plus Checking:
Must be age 50 or better.
WTH? This girl thinks I'm 50? Or "better?"
I am so not kidding when I tell you that I had to choke back at least one tear right there in the chair of that glass-enclosed cubicle that apparently has the heinous power to make banking customers look older than they are. I. Was. Mortified. Do I really look 50 years old? Is this girl for real?
That photo was taken about 6 months ago. And trust me. I can't have aged that much in six months. That's how I looked then. And that's how I look now. I know I don't look 20 or anything. But 50? Really?
And to make matters even worse, when I told her I wasn't yet 50, it didn't phase her at all. There were no outwardly signs of embarrassment for having aged me six years right in front of her. No apology for the arrow through my heart. Nothing. Unbelievable.
You know, I don't really have a major problem with getting older. I don't welcome it with open arms. I don't celebrate every new gray hair. I don't worship my ever-increasing wrinkle count or the skin that now sags in places that are more and more difficult to conceal. But, I don't obsess about the aging process either. I'm getting older. I can't stop that. Time marches on. And as Miss Truvy (a.ka. Dolly Parton) said in Steel Magnolias, "eventually you realize it's marchin' all over your face!"
Amen, Truvy. Amen.
But that being said, I certainly don't want to be 50...before I am actually 50. Lord o'mercy. Let's not freaking rush it.
So that was my dose of reality checking for yesterday. 50 for a day. What an F'd up interesting way to bring 2010 to a close, eh? Should be interesting to see what 2011 brings. ;)