I usually use capital letters in the title words when I blog, but not today. Today I prefer lower case letters for the word "age", and if my computer would do it I would draw the "e" backwards.
I'm feeling aged at this moment. Not old yet, but ....well, not young. I married a man 6 years older than myself. A professional man; a successful one who lifted me rapidly in socio-economic status after I married him...at a young age I might add. We moved into our beautiful, dignified, well-kept neighborhood here when I was barely 24 years old. Everyone was older than me. Like, ten years older than me, most of them. I was blessed with open armed neighbors who did not hold my youth against me. At least they didn't make me feel juvenile. I taught their teenage daughters who were a handful of years younger than I was, and it felt perfectly natural. But I was always, in the back of my head, a bit younger than everyone else and I worked to feel older, like I was mature and I belonged.
The tables have turned.
Today I joined a lovely group of women for a friend's lunch. Happy Birthday to my good friend Sheri, who looks like she's maybe 33 and yet has a grand baby who is walking now. She is younger than I. In fact, and I made mental note of this to myself as I drove home, I was the oldest woman at that table. I became aware of this as I watched various conversations unfold. They talked about which instructors they preferred at the gym. They talked about dealing with their teenage daughters...about corsages and boutonnieres at the prom...about what the proper age to teach kids to do laundry should be. Of course I was generally pleasantly engaged in conversation myself, but it struck me with every pause that they are where I was ten years ago. Even 15 years ago.
Maybe I am just in that mode today because I woke up knowing I would shuffle out to the computer and compose a letter to Sandy Holman, whose retirement hoopla is at Knowlton Elementary School this afternoon. Sandy taught our kids, all of them. We were blessed by this. And I worked closely with Sandy through the PTA years. When I was PTA president Annie was 3 years old and thought she owned the school because, truth be faced, we spent more time there than at home. I knew Sandy as a friend, as I knew many of the teachers there. So in this letter I wrote this morning I was hurled back in time; the same way I am every time I walk through the doors of that school to pick up one of our three grand kids who attend there. It made me feel aged. Not old. Just aged.
So then I go to this lunch and I'm ...well, you know.
Tonight I am joining a circle of songwriters at Viewmont High for a benefit concert. Most of the artists are half my age. I have to have this talk with myself. I have to remind Her Agedness that she may be playing with more hip, current, attractive, talented youngsters, but she should not beat herself up about it nor should she try to change her style to fit theirs. I have this talk with her before a lot of shows lately. Things are going weird I tell ya.
Ah, me. She nods her head and says, "yeah, yeah, I know. I'm just fine the way I am, blah, blah, blah. Leave me alone." She is a rather unpleasant person to lecture, myself is. She grabs her guitar and walks on stage and tries not to think about the physical appearances of things...tries to concentrate on the fact that the best songs should be ageless. She tries to tell herself all this, but her voice still quivers when she starts because she is following some dyn-o-mite guitar player who has fabulous vocal chops and looks like Johnny Depp (that's not always the case, I am just in a worst case scenario mood). I tickle my strings and let this thin thread of a voice fall out onto the floor. Somewhere deep down, there is a part of me that believes I should be able to stand up next to anyone with my songs and not have to feel like apologizing. She appears only occasionally, however, and the rest of the time I am doing silent battle with the demons of doubt while I sit up there trying to look all hip and relaxed on stage when really I'd rather be in my pj's on the family room couch eating Carmel Corn.
Oh well. No changing it. And the alternative to aging is not exactly what I'm looking for.
Onward and upward, so they say. I'll take hold of the reigns and kick my heels into what's left of this life I've been handed.
I think, however, I'll go take a little nap first.