I was browsing one of those cool young women’s stores. You know the ones? Where the sizes are small, tiny, and minuscule? I kept seeing stuff I liked. Skirts. Cool, stylish dresses. Adorable summer shirts. But, I knew at my size I couldn’t even fit an arm in them if I tried. And then I noticed her. She seemed to follow me wherever I went, always looking me up and down. Then, I stopped for a minute to find out just what this middle-aged woman wanted with me. Then, it hit me. That overweight, middle-aged woman wasn’t stalking me. That woman WAS me.
In my head, I’m still in my 20’s. I look at clothing in these stylish young people’s stores and think “Oh, yeah” that would be great, if only I could lose those 50 pounds I’ve been struggling with. But, on this day, I realized even with a 50 pound weight loss, those young, fun things will never be me again. I’m 40. Those days are over. I am no longer that young, trendy girl I use to be. I am a mature woman with one son in college, one about to turn 17. I have a mortgage, a house, a career, aging parents…..dare i say it? Responsibilities.
This past year, as I have written in previous blogs, has been filled with so many life changes. Entire house remodel, which meant moving back in with my aging parents. Son going off to college. Health issues. Dealing with a parent’s onset of dementia. It’s been a rough one to say the least. But, with a phenomenal support system of a husband, I’ve dealt with it. Well, almost all of it. But, something keeps feeling ‘off’. I literally cry at the drop of a hat. I sit and pour over old photos. I thought it was the loss of my boys that was doing it. My eldest has flourished at college. I guess the mom in me was hoping he would be a bit more helpless, that he would call on mom a bit more than he has this year. But, I’m thrilled that he has become his own man. My youngest is now 16 and a junior. He wants nothing to do with his mom anymore. He want independence. In fact, I’ve been told, in not so many words, that I embarrass him. So, I am no longer needed as a parent on a daily, nurturing basis. But, on this particular day in this trendy store, I had one of those “A-Ha” moments that Oprah is always spouting off about. I wasn’t mourning the loss of my boys’ youth. I was mourning the loss of mine.
Yes, of course, our children growing up is difficult for any parent. I realize that is part of my problem. But, It’s more about what their maturation means to my mortality. I have so much left I want to do with my life and I feel like I’m running out of time. I guess the only one who can change the course of that is me. It’s time to get busy living, or get busy dying.