Posts tagged ‘growing old’

Dandelion Wine

I admit it….I consume way too much Sci-Fi.  I’m intrigued by the idea of freezing myself in stasis or finding the proverbial Fountain of Youth.  On some level, I guess I’m lucky… I can easily ignore the birthdays that I don’t actually get.  I let myself  giddily believe it when people tell me I still look like I’m in my 20’s.  I go for the younger guys, and I still dream about what I’ll be when I grow-up.  Someday.

This year, February 28th came and went without much notice.  I didn’t really celebrate.  I certainly didn’t feel older or wiser that day.  I blame it on the fact that it wasn’t the 29th.  I don’t have a real birthday again until 2012.  In some little corner of my mind I get to pretend that I’m stuck in a time-capsule until then as well.

But, this year is a little different than most.  Last month, my dad celebrated his 60th birthday with a rare party in his honor.  I was proud of the family and friends that showed up to honor this man who has taught me so much about patience, responsibility and love.  And it was that moment – surrounded by a collection of  aunts and cousins, my father’s friends and colleagues – that my mortality decided to come flashing – not in peaceful steady-cam, but in nauseating hand-held crash  shots before my eyes.

I didn’t allow it to linger –  managed to shake it off with Italian Margaritas and jokes for the camera.  But the awareness in that instant planted a weed of sorts.  The kind that deceives.  Like a Dandelion that you pick for your mother as a child, only seeing it’s bright colors and flowery prose…not aware that it is choking the water and air from the grass below.

I’ve grown up a lot over the past three years.   Or maybe just lived.  Maybe it was  the first 30 years of my life that were spent in stasis…so afraid of making a mistake or going after what I  wanted that I only really lived in my own fragile world where nothing much ever changed.  I had to make a conscious decision to fall down a few stairs and make a smattering  of  mistakes in order to be surprised with some beautiful discoveries and truly start to grow.

I don’t know why I couldn’t go through that emotional adolescence until I was fully an adult.  I don’t know how I managed to learn all those years worth of lessons so quickly…but I know that I did.  I know becuase I look in the mirror at who I am today, this month, this week  – and I find myself aged.  Less impetuous, calmer.  Three years ago I was a scared 12 year-old child, and today…well most days I feel I’ve caught up with myself.  Other days…I catch a glimpse of a woman even stronger and wiser than I know.

But I see the Dandelion there as well.  Suddenly I look closer and I notice the tiny wrinkles at the corners of my eyes.    I now see  the single gray hairs I used to pluck  lightly , are growing like the weed,  so rampant that now they are the first thing I see.  Luckily I don’t feel the need to look in the mirror as often any more.  I’m more content with who I am.

Dandelion WineBut, other momentous occasions are on the horizon.  My parents will celebrate their 40th Anniversary this June.  The majority of my friends parents are separated and I am truly in awe of the fact that mine have not only managed to stay together through the years….but have presented an example of what a real, hard-working, honest, loving marriage looks like.  I wonder if they know how much that legacy means to me?

Despite my joy for their accomplishment…years are added to the mental weight I’m beginning to carry around.  Years that whisper, “Even if you were married today….you’d have to live to be 73 to make this milestone!”  And don’t get me started on the kids I haven’t had yet.

Still, I have to admit to a detached calmness about the whole thing.  I prefer to think I’m more of the exception to the rule.  I’m content to be the perfectly aged rare wine…that somehow grows more seductive with time.  The hints of oak and exotic berries only now beginning to make their presence known.  I think in the end the Fountain of Youth for me.  I cannot say where I will be when I am 73.  But, I’m pretty sure there will be more dandelions dancing around in my brain…and I will find them the loveliest thing I have ever seen.

April 27, 2009 at 8:59 am Leave a comment


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