Friday, March 26, 2010

Getting Old(ER) Isn't All Bad

Do you have or know a little girl? There's a brand new line of dolls out there, and I'm giving one away with my Hot Locks giveaway!


First off, I'd like to remind everyone that I'm not actually OLD. I'm only 34 (yes, I had to do the math), and the wee ones haven't learned ages and counting well enough to determine that I'm ancient yet. We'll forget what I thought about 34 when I was 17 and imagined what it would be like to feel like such an old lady when I was twice as old as I was then.

However, I will admit that there are certain benefits to the very slow and slight bit of aging that I've done so far. We don't think about them too often, but every once in awhile, we need to remind ourselves and celebrate what we've accomplished.

My Top Ten Things I Like About Being A (VERY) Little Older:

10) I don't have to study for tests anymore. While I know this isn't the case for everyone, I'm finished with school. I don't have any more pop quizzes, any more studying textbooks and taking notes and praying that I'm studying the right thing. No more staying up all night panicking that I'm not retaining the information and that the test the next day is going to be a disaster. As much as I enjoyed school, I'm really glad that I'm done with the exams and tests.

9) Acne is a thing of the past. That isn't to say that I don't have a bit of a breakout every now and again, but they're becoming more and more infrequent. And even when they occur, they're nothing like the daily horrors that I experienced as a teen - that of course I blew way out of proportion. There's no agonizing or freaking out even when they do occur, since I know they'll be gone soon.

8) I care less and less what the general public thinks of me. And I don't mean this in a negative way where I do things selfishly and in a who-cares-about-the-rest-of-the-world way. I mean that I'm more comfortable in my skin. I'm not embarrassed to have forgotten something and have to go back for it. I'm ok if I make a mistake or do something silly. I can make a fool of myself doing something I enjoy and not care because it brings me joy. And learning to do that is probably one of the things I'm most proud about doing.

7) My schedule is (more) my own. While I can't control everything, I choose what I will and won't be involved in more so than when I was younger. I choose my priorities, for the most part. And I can negotiate with others, when necessary, to help carry my load. For example, a friend of mine with a broken foot called me today asking if I could help get her somewhere. I was able to have my husband take the wee ones to a prior commitment and help her out. And those are the things that make me happy.

6) I don't need more friends. Do you remember high school (and beyond, sometimes) when there was the big worry about who was popular and who wasn't, who your friends were and how to get more or different friends. Now? I like my friends. I welcome new friends, but I'm perfectly fine with who my friends are. I'm content with them, and that's a really great feeling.

5) I can deal with confrontation better. I've never liked confrontation. I don't like it now, either, but I can deal with it. It doesn't give me the anxiety that it used to. I can see it for the constructive values that it has and not take it personally when it's directed at me. I don't dread those phone calls that I should make requesting change or telling someone or something that they didn't do a good enough job for what I need. Oh, and I can tell my mom things aren't ok when they aren't rather than swallowing it and resenting her. I can do it - in a respectful manner - and it works out. That adds so much more peace to my life.

4) I see the beauty more. When younger, I followed what I was taught - that there are certain standards of beauty in people and nature. I was afraid of many things that didn't conform to that standard, and I avoided many of them. Not the proudest moments in my life, I'll admit. And now? Now I see the beauty in the unique and the different. I can admire it for what it adds to life and enjoy it. I've experienced and seen things and met and become friends with people I wouldn't have otherwise, and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

3) I'm learning to say no. My mom raised me to be a perfectionist and to be almost a martyr, taking on anything and everything that people asked in the effort to please other people. While I enjoy doing things now for the sake of doing them, I don't always have to say yes. I said no to being on the board of a local charity that was being formed because I didn't have the time. I said no to a choir practice when I needed a break. I said no to working on the gala at my new school because I'm burned out from those kinds of fund raising. And you know what? It feels good to pick and choose what I want to do rather than trying to do it all.

2) My memory bank is getting more and more full of wonderful moments. I love looking back at something in my life and smiling. I remember the last minute trip I took to Germany to visit a friend of mine shortly after college, and while I mentally shake my head at myself, I remember the fun of exploring a small town in Germany where I was the only person who spoke English (and I don't know German) and accidentally discovering a really cool taxidermy museum. I think about the clubs I formed as a kid - the Moss Garden Kids Club and the Junkyard Kid Gang to name two - and giggle about our activities and dues and notes we took. I look back to the days the wee ones were born, to the first time I drove a car, to the ski trip in college, to my disaster making flan the first time, and they all give me warm fuzzies inside. Every year and every day brings me more memories to treasure. And I'm now wise enough to hold them close to my heart.

1) I know what I don't know. When I was younger, I thought I knew it all. I suspect that many of us fall into the same camp. I was full of myself, but I was also secretly hiding that I didn't know it all for fear that someone might think less of me for not knowing something. Now? I know what I don't know, and I am perfectly ok with asking for help when I need it. Having a real sense of what I do and don't know means that I actually make fewer mistakes because I make fewer wrong assumptions. It's removed so much stress from my life.

So what do you like about the ever so slow and subtle aging process? What positive changes have you discovered?


Debbie March 26, 2010 at 9:42 PM  

I love being comfortable in my own skin - even if it is sagging and wrinkly:)

Hyacynth March 26, 2010 at 10:45 PM  

I'm getting there, too -- being a bit "older" but not very much older. Just enough to have started to touch on many of things you listed. I'm getting more comfortable in my own skin; I'm not always searching for more, more, more friends. I'm wiser. It's nice. I'm liking it. And I'm wondering how I could have been so misguided in HS! lol. You know what they say about hindsight!

Alexis AKA MOM March 27, 2010 at 12:05 AM  

I wish I could say these are going all great for me. I'm at least trying better than I use to .. lol ;)

Memory oh lord that is bad, I wish I could say better.

Acne never had it was when I was young but now what the heck!

Confrontation is NOT a strong suit for me.

Work in progress ;)

Laura March 27, 2010 at 1:46 AM  

well apparently I need to get it together because I'll be 40 in 2 months and I don't have these things figured out...that being said confrontation? bring it baby,

What was done March 27, 2010 at 1:57 AM  

Getting old is only in our mind.
Age never prevented people from doing things:

WeaselMomma March 27, 2010 at 5:45 AM  

This is a great list. I do however still struggle with acne regularly and resent the fact that I am finished with school and yet am stuck doing homework and studying for tests daily.

Michelle March 27, 2010 at 10:28 PM  

Debbie - C'mon, did you have to bring that part up? I purposefully refrained from mentioning the sagging and wrinkling :)

Hyacynth - No kidding. Knowing what I know now, I'd so love to go back and do high school again. I actually enjoyed it the first time around, but I'd love to do it "better" this time.

Alexis - It's all about things getting better over time. It won't happen immediately or even the same things, but progress is the name of the game.

Laura - Yikes. I'll remember to avoid confrontations with you then ;)

Whatwasdone - Absolutely. That was much of my point, and focusing on the good is a big piece of that.

WeaselMomma - Ummm sorry. I seem to keep posting things lately to which you are the exception. I'll try to do better next time!

Unknown Mami March 27, 2010 at 10:35 PM  

This list was awesome.

I don't beat myself up as much as I used to.

Michelle March 27, 2010 at 10:43 PM  

Unknown Mami - Aww thanks! Ooo I forgot about the beating myself up part. That's definitely a good one!

Melisa with one S March 28, 2010 at 8:05 AM  

This is a great list.

And would you believe I had the SAME THOUGHTS about being 34, when I was 17?

Of course you did.

Karen March 28, 2010 at 2:15 PM  

#11 - very much wiser despite your tender years.

Pat March 28, 2010 at 3:59 PM  

At age 62, I, like you, don't worry so much about what other people think of me or if they like me or not. I'm still a wee bit too eager-to-please and don't EVER want to make anyone mad at me. I still tend to avoid conflict because it frightens me, as I grew up in a home with lots of conflict and angry yelling by my father. But I'm getting better at expressing to my husband things he says or does that make me angry or hurt my feelings....and that after nearly 34 years of marriage! I can almost do that now without starting to cry....pathetic, huh?!

Gina March 28, 2010 at 7:26 PM  

Getting older sort of forces you to change your priorities for the better.

Michelle March 28, 2010 at 9:34 PM  

Melisa - Of COURSE I'd believe you had the same thoughts. Freaky.

Karen - Awww, you're so kind. It's either that or I just fake being wise better ;)

Pat - Nope, not pathetic at all. The things that happen in our childhood really have a huge impact. But do you realize you've been married for as long as I've been alive? Yowsers!

Gina - It really does. And I sorta like that, too.

septembermom March 29, 2010 at 6:46 AM  

That's a great list Michelle. I'm learning to say no more. I'm getting there with that one. I think I see the beauty more now too. I like how I stop to actually see what's around me. When I was younger, it was go, go, go!!

Michelle April 7, 2010 at 10:57 PM  

Kelly - Good call on seeing the beauty. It's definitely an important thing. I'm working on that one.

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