My husband is out of town, which means I’m alone a lot, which means I’m buying white bread and watching movies over and over and tromping around the house singing songs. I also get pretty introspective when I’m alone for long stretches, so I’ve been contemplating my life in various ways when I should be working or doing laundry or bathing.
I’m turning 40 this year, as I’ll tell anyone who will listen. I don’t think I’m terribly bothered by it – I mean, it is what it is – but for some reason, I’m kind of obsessing over it. Of course, that’s nothing new. I obsess over a lot of things. The weather, my dog’s hydration, the number of people who will fit in a car. This “40” thing is just kind of shocking to me, I guess.
In my mind, I’m still 15. I walk by reflective surfaces and catch a glimpse of myself and get startled by the middle-aged woman staring back at me, with a streak of grey in the front of her hair and lines around her eyes and shadows on her face where once there were none. My oldest niece is grown now, almost 20, and her little sister is going to be 16 (my husband’s sister’s kids are still small critters, which helps, but they are also growing at an alarming rate, and in ten years I’ll be having this same bitchfest again). When I smile in photos, I can see the future – the slightly skeletal but puffy, squint-eyed old bat I will eventually become.
People tell me I look young for my age, but they don’t understand – they don’t see how young I’m supposed to look. They don’t see into my mind’s eye. Besides, the looks are only half of it. If I drink three beers, the next two days are a tailspin of sour stomach and fatigue. If I’m out too late (by that, I mean 11pm) all I can think about is how the next morning, I’ll wake up at 7am regardless, and how that laundry ain’t gonna do itself. I fell down the stairs at Xmas in 2015 and my bones and joints haven’t quite been the same since.
“But Beck,” you say. “There’s beauty in age. Blah blah supportive statement.”
Yeah, yeah. No one can stop the train. All the same, I can’t help but marvel at how much faster it moves these days.