10.25.2014

Thirty-Five

I turned thirty-five today.

My thirty-five face.
Thirty-five years and still mostly intact. The engine is probably in need of some scheduled maintenance, but it still feels like it has a lot of miles left. In medieval times, I would be an old woman, but I'm lucky to live in an age where thirty-five is still plenty youthful, at least if you're not a model, actress, or professional athlete.

At thirty-five, I have a pretty normal and existentially boring life (this is a good thing). I still have both of my parents with me. I have a good marriage and two great kids. I have a roof over my head. We keep the lights on. We stay warm. We don't go hungry. I get to whine about things on the Internet from the comfort of my very own broadband-connected laptop. I don't have to walk for hours a day to collect water and carry it on my head. I'm better off than most.

A lot of thirty-five year-old people today are just now starting to think about having families. My two kids are already half-grown, and it probably won't be much longer before I'm a grandmother.

I can still taste this sandwich. It can't be six years ago.

Last week. Time, you are relentless.
Thirty-five years, and my face is a tad droopier. I have a crease forming between my eyes, probably because I have spent more time frowning than was warranted. My hands are not nearly as limber as they used to be. My crop of gray hair is growing exponentially. My body often hurts for no damn reason. I'll be due for my first mammogram in a few years. Nevertheless, I've tested my body with various fitness challenges, and I can feel the untapped potential in my bones.

But even after thirty-five years, I'm still lazy as fuck.

The clock is speeding up, though. Of this I am sure. Five minutes ago, I recited wedding vows in tiny chapel in Las Vegas.


Yesterday, I was twenty-one and holding my brand new daughter.


Last week, I graduated high school.

My optimism was unbreakable.
A month ago, I was fourteen and had my first kiss from a boy in the shadow of a huge maple tree on a nighttime walk. I can even still feel the awkward collision of our teeth, and my immediate, hormone-driven desire to do it again and again.

Only a year ago, I was standing on the edge of a field, straining my eyes to see beyond the horizon to a future that looked nothing like the life I'm living now.

No one could daydream like this kid.
I caught myself this morning nearing the event horizon of a very scary thought, one that threatened to toss me into a dark hole of depression and fear: two rather feisty emotions I have to fight harder and harder to keep at bay. The thought was if I could blink and watch my kids go from being babies to teenagers, if I could inhale a breath as a care-free sixteen-year-old and exhale as a middle-aged suburban mom/writer, then I will only have to blink three or maybe four more times, and I'll be dead.

I really don't have much time left. The older we get, the faster the world spins.

Then I realized how arrogant I was being to even assume I have another thirty or forty years left when there is no guarantee I will see tomorrow or five breaths from now. I might not even make it to the end of this blog. Each typed word could be a countdown until the signals keeping my brain working and my heart beating decide to short out for good, and I won't even have the opportunity to finish a sentence or punctuate it.

Seems a little silly to fret over the number of years I have left when a freak lightning storm of bad luck and chance could rob me of my next breath.

After I reminded myself of that, I felt better, secure in my imminent, unknowable death. Funny how that works.

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