I have never dreaded the “big” birthdays ending in a zero. The “big” 5s were my demons.
At 25, I had thought I’d have my first child, a marker that would make me a “grown up”. The fact that I had a mortgage apparently didn’t seem sufficient proof of adulthood.
At 35, my children were 8 and 5. I was wracked with self doubt and questions – Am I a good mom? Am I smart enough, active enough, patient enough to launch these humans into the world? I didn’t even know who I was – how could I help them figure out who they were?
At 45, one child was in university and the other was deep into her high school life. Although they were healthy and kind humans, I felt like they had raised themselves. At that birthday, the question on my mind – and seemingly everyone else’s – was what would I do when my children were fully launched?
Each of those birthdays left me bereft.
What a difference a decade makes. Fifty-five is not even a blip on the “how can I be that old” radar. Age is a number that has little meaning these days (except perhaps to drugstores where, as of today, I qualify for a senior’s discount).
Perhaps this mental shift is due to the lesson most deeply learned from university: I have nothing to worry (or complain) about. I have everything I need: food, shelter, health, safety and family.
“You’re only as old as you feel.” Yup. I’m living that cliche every day.
Today I feel – all me.