So THIS is middle age?

I adore birthdays, especially my own. I have never been the person that says, “Oh, it’s just another day…” (Looking at you, dad).  I love the celebrations, the gifts, the desserts, the general attention for my special day.  However, I was recently thinking about my upcoming day (April 7th, I like flowers and have an Amazon wishlist) and realized that at my current and soon to be growing age, I fall into a category known as middle age. 

When and more importantly HOW did this happen? I was just a college student enjoying the single life and excited about the next party or bar hopping weekend my friends and I planned.  Now I am a married mother of 2 that is trying to juggle a full time job, dinner calendar, and sports schedules.  The whirlwind of the last 15 or so years struck me fast and furious with barely any advice on how to proceed.  Don’t get me wrong, there are so many experiences, people, and things in my life as of 41.8 years of age that I have to be thankful for, but sometimes I just cannot believe I am now at the age I recall my parents being while simultaneously feeling like a 16 year old trapped in an aging person’s body.  A friend shared with me an article the HuffPost published awhile back titled This is 45, and it inspired me to write one for myself.  So, here goes nothing:

This is 41…ish

When did the achiness begin?  It’s easier to pull a muscle by working out, though I will continue to try! Even carrying too many grocery bags because it seems too difficult to have to make another trip out to the car sometimes results in tight or strained shoulders.  The often sleepless nights brought about by worries, some realistic, but others not so much. It’s the time that we have recently been able to boast financial security, but still make coffee/tea at home instead of spending the few dollars at Starbucks like my 9 year old would prefer. Also, a glass of wine makes me sleepy instead of ready to hit the town. What’s up with that?!

Cheers to a successful night…also, it’s 6:30.

I can afford to purchase much of the wardrobe I like but worry that I look too old to frequent many of my favorite stores, unless perhaps I am shopping for a daughter?!  Ugh…

I get excited about new home decor or renovations, and simultaneously roll my eyes when I realize how much I sound like my mom or dad.  But really, who DOESN’T love new outdoor patio furniture, front porch holiday decor, or especially a new mattress for my achy back, it cannot just be me!?

I turn on the radio and have no idea who is singing, and really, “Is this music? It’s awful!” Yep, there’s my mom’s voice again…Speaking of which, let’s just shut the music off and have quiet.  I now understand her desperate desire for 5 minutes of peace.

I typically fall asleep by 9 each night and sleeping in is 7 a.m.  I often wonder how I stayed up through the early morning hours during my college and younger years and still managed to get to my first jobs on time.  Sometimes I think I am so tired these days because I spent my 20s running on 20 minute naps and pure adrenaline (Those barhopping days and time spent with a wonderful array of friends were worth it). 

I no longer hit the pillow with a face full of makeup and instead make a concerted effort to follow a skincare regimen, using serums, oils, creams, and SPF.  The lines that have become more prominent on my forehead and around my eyes are no longer so easily hidden, though my husband insists he doesn’t notice them and I’m still ‘hot’ (his words, not mine, especially when staring into my magnifying mirror).

An enjoyable evening is coming home from work and changing into my sweats, a dinner that doesn’t require multiple dirty dishes, a cup of tea and board games or performances put on by my kids. 

When we talk finances, Justin and I both worry about how much the girls’ education will cost, save for future weddings, and are excited that in less than 15 years, our home will be paid in full.  We hate paying increasing taxes, but also realize that some of these provide us with a strong school district and a safe and comfortable life.  

I have acquired multiple throws found in our living room, as well as tucked away in linen closets. Why can’t I get warm?!  Additionally, what is the draw to decorative pillows and how many is too many?  

I often wonder how I got ‘this old’ when I still have so many moments that feel inside like I will forever be 16. 

When do you feel like an adult, and what does that word even mean?

Is it when:

  • I have my own children, and question if I am raising them the right way?
  • You stop questioning if you made the right choices in life and instead accept that you did.
  • You eat vegetables while thinking they taste terrible, but they are good for you and I have to set a good example for the kids…
  • You wash the dishes regularly, because someone has to
  • You have a running grocery list and a planner that tracks the entire family’s obligations
  • You jam to the grocery store music (how can you not when it’s Backstreet Boys?)
  • You realize you need a vacation after taking your family on a vacation

I’m sure there are many more moments that make me wonder where the last 20 years of my life have gone, but the one thing I am sure of is that I have been so lucky to have had the experiences that I have, met the people that I have, and will continue to enjoy the little things in life because if I have learned anything at all, it would be my ability to quote iconic (and often obscure) films (and at the same time, proudly reflect my age- In the words of Ferris: “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.”