One of my best friends turned thirty today, and I had this plan all day of writing her a collection of hilarious happy birthday Facebook posts welcoming her to the big 3-0, and then I got in a totally bad mood about Facebook, and I tried to disable my account, and I did, and I was so proud of myself for getting away from that crazed platform, but THEN I realized that if I wanted to use Spotify, based on the way I have it set up, I had to reinstate my FB.
So I was fucked. I need my music, people.
BUT before I realized this and I was in the blissful peace of what would amount to a 3 hour clarifying break from FB, I decided that I didn’t have to shortchange the message I wanted to convey by presenting it through the meaningful-today-but-gone-tomorrow thing that is the FB wall post. (Even the stuff I star disappears into the abyss. FB, I don’t GET YOU.)
I have this blog, after all, to use however my crazy little heart desires.
So what is it I want to say? Something about why aging is good–great even. It kind of weirds me out how all up in arms we seem to get about aging at a certain point in our lives (25+? IDK. I admit I was a little freaked about turning 30. I feel like I’ve come around to it, though). I mean, I get it–I get that DEATH is on the other end of this timeline, a timeline that we don’t know the length of.
That’s slightly unnerving, I’ll grant. Especially when we’re trying to do and be all this stuff HERE on Lil’ Earth. So we live like we’re NOT going to die in the sense that we do things like get educations and invest in our futures and all that nonsense. But we are still confronted with the passage of time quite directly on those fun things called birthdays, and okay, I get it–it freaks people out. We don’t want to get old and fall apart. I knowwww.
But there are a few things that I want to say about why it’s awesome to get older, specially chosen to resonate with birthday girl, Rachel, whom I am thrilled to say I have known for, what, 12? years now. I can only collect that stat thanks to the passage of time. Oo la la.
1. It’s awesome to get older because we’re finally at the point where we have the presence of mind both NOT to get so hung up on superficial things like fashion and style AND YET somehow know how to do it better. 30-year-old Jackie feels so much more like ~herself~ than did 18 or 25 or whatever year old Jackie. I’m realizing as I write this, though, that as an arty type, you’ve always had this wrapped up A LOT better than did Younger Jackie, so maybe this one is n/a for you, but it’s something I’ve noticed about older me, and what I think is most liberating is realizing that EVERYONE has a style and a thing and it might be “weird” or whatever by someone’s standards, but OJ (Older Jackie) is like, who the frig cares, really?
Rachel, I think I’m finally ready to accept that some people will decorate their houses in ugly ways and it’s FINE. Hold me.
2. Us being older means we get to do adult things like always have Guinness Floats any time I come to visit, or copious amounts of wine or WHATEVER. And we can stay up till midnight watching HGTV (but see previous point? uh oh) or playing Settlers of Catan and it’s FINE. We big people and we decide. But the more awesome thing that age has given us access to is having kids and being MOMS. (Now you know that this is a special b-day gift post, if I’m about to gush about being a mom in a blog post where I could have just gotten away with saying a bunch of funny crap.) Motherhood was never something I was galloping through my youth to reach but when I happened to get older and found that having kids WAS going to be part of my growing-up story, golly, that’s been amazing. To get older, to get to do this–get to start a new life, get to watch new life, get to help new life grow up. It’s life times another life and I think that equals Super Life.
3. And speaking of babies… You, Rachel, are 6 weeks away from the birth of your second child. You know, just as I know, just as any mother knows–when you’re pregnant, you DESPERATELY WANT time to pass. That’s not to say that moms don’t enjoy being pregnant. We do enjoy it (when we’re not barfing up our guts every 4 seconds, like Rachel and I did)–we do enjoy the specialness of that close bond with Baby, all the kicks and flips and wiggles that keep us up at night, yes with the activity but also with the sheer wonder of it all. But I think we forget, because we spend those 9 months thinking about That Darn Baby ALL THE TIME, that as we wish and pray our babies into their next day and their next day till they are ready to join us out here in the big world, we are also wishing and praying ourselves older. Whoops! But I like that idea–I like thinking of the practicality, the utility of our aging, and how us getting older actually, directly helps bring someone into being. It’s like 9 months of really, really saturated living and at the end of the day…
4. …aging is awesome because we get to keep learning and seeing and doing. I think it’s easier to realize how the years help us GROW when we are talking about kids (and p.s. it makes me so grumpy when I hear about moms who are sad about their kids growing up–I know, I KNOW they are sweet as babies but to begrudge them their growing up is to begrudge their access to a depth and breadth of experience–darg! This is a marvelous thing that must be celebrated!)–but the same thing goes for us. Every day, week, month, year is filled with new opportunities to see and do things that will shape us further and that is fascinating and special and wonderful, and a wonderful reason to enjoy aging.
This way, we are always becoming, never just being. And I find the idea that I’m still in progress a comfort, even if it means my body having to get a little older and a little less vital and whatever it is that it’s going to do as these years trundle on.
But cheers to you, dear Rachel! May we always remain aware of how time helps us become more interesting human beings, and how each new day gives us a chance to do something interesting, challenging, whatever it is, so that when we look back on the passage of time it’s not just at torn down calendar pages but boxes stuffed with memories and meaning.