I wrote this post in March. How I keep writing stuff and then not posting it is beyond me. Sooo, I’m posting it now, two months later. I’ll get into my Houston trip next I expect, just to catch y’all up.
I’m on a plane again, on my way to Houston, for some reason flying solo always inspires me to write for the blog. I imagine it has a lot to do with finding myself suddenly stuck to a seat for hours on end with no one to tend to and the realization that there are only so many movies one can watch before all one’s brain cells simultaneously go on strike. Although, one of the movies I just watched, Last Vegas, kind of inspired this post. Michael Douglas, talking about his age says something like: My brain cannot comprehend how old this body is… I can’t reference the exact line right now as Air France still hasn’t figured out how to make wi.fi available on its flights (I assume it has a lot to do with the fact that we’re crossing an ocean), and I’ll probably be too lazy to do it once I land, but that was the gist of it. Also, let me just say that I had to take a minute and really think about it when I wrote Michael Douglas because in my head the “old one” is Kirk Douglas (R.I.P.), when did Michael Douglas get so old?
It really struck a chord. I often look in the mirror, surprised at the almost forty year old staring back at me. In my head I’m in my twenties… hell, often I’m just a teenager trying to avoid doing her homework, wondering where all the adults went. No, seriously, where did the adults go?
One of the signs that you’re a grown up, in my opinion, is when you realize that there are no grown ups, everyone’s winging it, just like you, There are no grown ups… frightening. Someone, somewhere, once told me not to treat old people like old people, because they were young just a minute ago, young and falling in love, working, starting their families, living their lives, exploring the world, and their heads hadn’t yet caught up with their bodies. Their heads hadn’t caught up with their bodies. Mine certainly hasn’t yet, and I’m not even forty.
My dad worked till the day he died at 80, I’ve always thought he was superman, but I’m beginning to think he just never realized he was eighty. He never let his body limit him, he lived his life mind over matter, until the very end, and that’s definitely not a bad thing.
There are a lot of things my mind cannot comprehend about life, but I no longer view this necessarily as a limitation.
It’s funny, last night I was reading the kids a book called I love you forever (incidentally, creepiest mother figure ever, sneaking into her kids room, crawling up to the bed on all fours, and picking him up to rock him while he slept… she does this when he’s an adult living in his own house too, drives over in the dead of night with a ladder tied to the car, climbs through the window cat burglar style and rocks her adult son in his sleep… and he doesn’t wake up… seriously I hear psycho when I read it. End of tangent), anyway, the mother obviously gets older in the book and at the end she’s a little old woman (a little old psycho woman) and my daughter turns to me and says “who’s the grandma?” and I explained that the old lady was the mother in the story, but as the boy grew up she got older and when he’s a grown man she’s a grandma, and then I told them that when they are grown ups I’ll be a grandma too. They looked at me wide-eyed and laughed in my face, such was the absurdity of the words coming out of my mouth. They started joking about how my hair would be white, and I would be small and frail… they were teasing me, like that would actually never happen. Because in their little kid heads it’s absurd that I would get old and change. But what’s even absurder (as they would say) is that though I rationally get that I’m going to be old and gray at some point, I don’t really believe it, I can’t wrap my mind around it, I, quite simply cannot comprehend it, just like they can’t.
The good thing is that not being able to wrap my mind around certain things, like the fact that my body is slowly aging, is that there are no limitations to the breadth and scope of what I think I can achieve. Thinking I am young means endless possibilities, means new beginnings, means I don’t have to be tied down to what I’ve achieved up to now. Feeling young is feeling free, I still often have the same excitement at what comes next that I had in my early twenties, without most of the insecurities. Sure, at some point my body will make itself heard, it will limit me in it’s ability to do what I want it to do, but my mind, it’s free to imagine whatever it wants, to believe that anything is possible and that is supremely liberating. I’m sure my mind will never comprehend how old my body gets, but that just means I get to be young forever. And THAT’s not such a bad thing.