I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


All this recent introspection and coming closer and closer to the idea of my own mortality has made me examine a whole lot of things, and one of these things is age.

I've always felt that age is a matter of behaviour, attitude, state of mind - more than it is just a chronological accounting of years. I have been fortunate enough to meet many people who are wise beyond their years and who amaze me with their insight. I've even been fortunate to meet people who are far younger than their years would imply and who would be described as immature - but I think that word can have both a positive and a negative connotations. I also think that kids today (and here I go with already sounding older than I am), are in some ways much more mature than kids of, say, 20 years ago. In other ways, they are a lot younger. The youth of today are exposed to a lot more, but they behave as though they are a lot less responsible for things.

My Mom was often fond of saying, "When I was your age, I had [insert number of kids] already." I think it's a common saying among mothers of a certain age, and being a child bride myself I'm sure I'll eventually trot out that old chestnut myself. When my Mom was my age, my brother was only just born...and yet, the very idea of bringing a baby into my household at the moment almost makes me want to run screaming from here. I cannot even begin to imagine what having a baby now would feel like (and nor do I want to, thanks very much.) When my Mom was my age, she had 3 kids, a full time job, was running a household, and was battling with her weight.

Wait a second.

That's sounding awfully familiar.

Here's the weird thing about age. My DH (who is significantly older than me) often behaves in a way which seems to indicate he does not give a flying shit about his age. Nor does he think anyone ELSE should give a shit about it. He just kinda, well, goes along in his own way - whatever happens, happens. I would venture to say his personality type is not one of a planner, either. He'd be hard pressed to tell you his retirement plans (even though they are not all that close, they're not all that far away either.) He'd be hard pressed, in fact, to tell you his plans for NEXT WEEK let alone next year. He feels absolutely zero (or close to zero) pressure about his age in relation to the stage of life he is at. His age is just his age and that's it. He's fond of saying he only "recently matured to around 30." (Which is an improvement. When I met him, he had "recently matured to 23" and he was 35 at the time.)

Me, on the other hand...me, I've got plans. LOTS of plans. But I have those plans because I feel an immense amount of pressure around the fact that I am 34 years old and yet still feel as though I'm not entirely sure where this life is headed. I am 34 and I don't really know what I want to be when I grow up - but I know that I fee I need to know that NOW NOW NOW NOW because otherwise I will be 45 and looking back and thinking, "What the hell happened?"

I'm 34 and yet feel like my life is already half over, when statistically it's probably nowhere near that much. Or at least, I hope not. Fact is, I feel that time - and hence my life - are on runaway trains, and this scares the living daylights out of me. At the same time I read about famous authors who only started writing in their 70's, or artists who started in their 50's, or swimmers competing well into their 90's and I think, I've got SO MUCH life yet ahead of me. It's only just begun, really... but I have a very hard time coming to grips with the idea that I'm actually fairly young.

I have two friends, both of whom are exactly 10 years older than I am, and both of whom love to tell me I'm "just a baby" (and hence should not worry as much as I do). One is in a successful but fledgling food business. The other is working in a part-time retail role. Both of them have later-life babies (and so are dealing with toddlers and pre-schoolers at a time in their lives when my own kids will be going on 19 years old.) Of course, the kids being small makes a huge difference to how one can live their life on a say to day basis, and on one's finances. But I look at both of those people and I think, "Holy mazoly. I don't want to STILL be having those family, money, and life struggles when I am 44. By 44, I want it SORTED OUT."

How foolish I am to believe that my life will have a specific trajectory which it will follow and there will be no deviation from that trajectory. If nothing else my Dad's death has taught me that the old catchphrase is true - shit happens - but still I hold on to this ridiculous hope that it will all get sorted out and STAY sorted out. As for my friends, I don't think either of them are necessarily old, or have 'missed out' or have done a poor job organising their lives. I think they're just doing a great job juggling life and work and money and kids ... no different to me, here at the 34 year old end. There is in fact NO difference between them and me other than a decade of time. A decade is a very long time, or a very short time depending on your point of view.


Time frightens me. Some days I feel as though the LAST ten years of my life have flown by... when I was 24, I was going through IVF and working in a job I liked but wasn't all that fulfilling. At 34, I'm raising pre-teens and working in a job which is much more emotionally fulfilling, but financially crippling. They seem like a very long ten years, and yet they happened all so quickly. I am terrified that the next ten years will be the same - full of changes but not necessarily steps forward. There goes the old "follow my life plan" fallacy again. DH is the kind of person who would not even think about this sort of thing, and yet...me? I am totally terrified that if I do not get my act together sooner rather than later, I will have wasted a whole chunk of my life. And let me tell you, as a number one ace multi-tasker, wasting time is NOT AN OPTION.

What about you? Are you worried about the passage of time as it relates to your life plan? Do you feel that your age - whatever your age - is old? Young? What impact, if any, does your age have on your life?


TAO said...

On CBS News in the USA, the reporter Steve Hartman does a regular piece called "Everybody in the World Has a Story" that goes along with this post. You might enjoy it:

emzeegee & the hungry three said...

Thanks TAO, there are some fabulous stories being told there - what a great find!