Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You're How Old??

Warning:  This is likely to be a whiny post.  Proceed at your own risk.

When did I get old?

Today, I went in search of my new best friend adult conversation at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group that meets at the church we've been attending.  I had gone to a different one a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it, but this one is much closer to home.

As I looked around and listened to the conversations, I quickly realized that, with few exceptions, I was the only one there who had actually been born prior to Ronald Reagan's presidency.  Now perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised; after all, this is a group for women with at least one child not yet in Kindergarten.  But still, this was a new experience for me.  Since having Nathan 3 1/2 years ago, I've always had friends my age or older who also have very young children, so I never thought much about it.  I guess I'm still not "the norm," though. 

My mother married at 20, had me when she was 23, and was the mother of 3 by the time she was 28.  Both of my grandmothers had similar stories.  In contrast, I married at 24 and didn't have Nathan until I was 32.  Megan will be 1 next week (sniff, sniff!), and I will turn 36 exactly one month later.

So I guess the question really is not so much "When did I get old?" but "When did everyone else get so young?"

No, I'm still wondering when I got old.  And yes, the impending birthday could have a lot to do with this feeling.  This picture I recently found from when I was 24 didn't help.

Where did this girl go?  And why didn't someone tell me I was a hottie? :)  Oh wait, someone did.  And I married him!  Thanks, David.  No wrinkles, great hair, flawless complexion (well, I know that part wasn't true, but you can't tell by this picture anyway).  Ahh, I miss her.

Now almost 12 years after that picture was taken...

I'm not sure I even resemble the younger me.  Shorter hair (extra disheveled from the trolley ride), wrinkles (mercifully vague in this picture), a few extra pounds.  And wait - something else is different.  Hmm, what could it be?  Oh, I know!  The two kiddoes attached to me at all times.  This could be a big part of the answer to my question.

So what am I going to do now?  Wallow in self-degradation?  Spend way too much money on wrinkle cream?  Give up and call it a day?  Nope, nope, and not a chance.

First, I have decided am seriously considering growing my hair back out.  I'm in need of a haircut right now, so now is the time to make that decision.  I've been blowing it out straight similar to the "young" picture for a few days, and I believe I'm ready to make the change.  If it doesn't work, I can always have layers cut back in at any point.  I think I'm already looking younger.

Second, no more frumpiness for this Mama.  I think I already do reasonably well on this one, but there's always room for improvement.  There's no good reason why I can't be a Hot Mama. :)  (On a related note, the baby weight is continuing to leave.  Yay!)

Third, I don't have to feel old.  There's no reason I can't hang out with girls women who are 10 years younger than me.  And if it's just making me feel bad, I can find another group.  (I DO know that I'm too old to play games and try to be someone I'm not.)  I think the first group I tried was generally more "my age."

Fourth, I can remember the benefits of waiting to have these children.  By the time Nathan was born, I had traveled around the US and to many countries, I had a master's degree, David and I had been married for almost 8 years, and we had lived in 4 different states during that time.  I'm amazed when I think of how different (not better or worse, but definitely different) my life would have been had I married at 20 and had my first child at 23.  No regrets.

OK, I'm feeling better already.  Thanks for letting me vent!

So, have you had one of those days when you thought, "When did I get old?"  Did it prompt you to make any changes?  I'd love to hear that I'm not alone.  (And yes, you can still respond even if this is the first year that you can remember when there wasn't either a Bush or a Clinton in the White House.... :) )

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