Sometimes I wonder if it’s human nature to wonder what you might have been. When I was growing up in the 70’s most of us didn’t have the big dreams that today’s generation seem to have been born with. We wanted a house, a decent job, and to marry the captain of the football team and live happily ever after - which is exactly what I did. I’ve never regretted it but part of me always wonders what I would have done had I been born 30 years later, or what I would have become had I been born with tons of confidence and ambition back then.
I’m always kind of in awe of people who have focus. They take a single minded approach to things and seem to know exactly what they want. All they have to do is go for it. Then there people like me who just can’t seem to figure it out at all. So I flutter from one interest to another looking for that magical something that will grab me and hook me in. So far? Nada. I’ve taken cello lessons, gone to dance classes and learned to paint. I can converse in very limited French and should I ever move to Quebec I could have a great conversation with an 18 month old, providing he or she hadn’t moved past the gesturing and grunting phase. Last year, I tried rock climbing, which I actually enjoyed. But when the instructor shifted the focus from the climb to reaching the top I shut down. I never reached it to the top, which is somehow both sad and appropriate. At this point I should probably mention the fact that I’m about to turn 50 and time is a –wastin’.
Everyone has their scary age and 50 is mine. Turning 40 was mildly annoying but turning 50 brings it to a whole new level. Life begins at 40, or so the saying goes. But even if that’s true, does it still hold true that it’s definitely over at 50? What if, like me, you are approaching 50 and haven’t figured it out yet? Are you then supposed to just give up whatever dream it is that has sustained you this far? Do you keep trying, or do you just start planting fall bulbs and wearing boxy shirts and supportive shoes? If 40 is the new 30, is 50 the new 40?
People always say “It’s funny. I’m getting older but I feel exactly the same on the inside.” Do you though? I want to ask. Because I do and I don’t. I still want to make it as a writer some day and I like to believe that I haven’t yet reached my ‘sell by date’ in that respect. Of course having said that, I haven’t yet been published but neither have I given up. But I am tired by 10:00 at night. I don’t handle alcohol very well and if I should imbibe in more than my usual limit of two drinks I feel it well into the following week. An exciting night for me involves a glass of red wine, a good movie and popcorn with just the right amount of buttery goodness. I tend to prefer books to people and quiet to crowds. I am always astonished that my daughter is only getting ready for a night on the town when I’ve happily settled into my pyjamas. So am I getting older or just more boring? And where does it go from here?
Having said all this though I admit that I think I still look pretty good. Not in a Real Housewife kind of way, in a real way. I’ve got style, my style. I prefer jeans and combat boots or ballet flats to heels, although now and then sporting a little black dress and a pair of patent leather Mary Jane’s with a 3 inch heel will work wonders for the ego. I’ve got a hairdresser who keeps me looking hip and a group of friends who range in age from 21 to 70. So in this respect I do feel the same. I am still me. And the people in my life can see it. Past the fine lines and softening jawline, they see the me that doesn’t change. The one that always feels the same on the inside.
I’m hoping that someday this inner me will figure it all out and find something I can stick with. In the meantime I’ve got a husband who loves me and three kids who think I’m great. I could look at it this way. If I had peaked in my 30’s maybe I’d be on the decline by now. Maybe it’s a good thing that I’m still looking forward instead of back. Who knows? Maybe this writing thing will pan out after all. In the meantime, there’s a ceramics class I want to take.