To be honest, I've always felt older than my actual age. Growing up, I often had friends who were older than me and being four years older than my sister, I think my parents expected me to be more responsible and to set an example for her. I was engaged at 18 and was married shortly after I turned 20. Even though I was so young, I didn't feel too young to get married (probably because by the time we were married we had already been datin for over 4 1/2 years!). When I became pregnant less than 2 months later, I also felt old enough to embrace parenthood. Being married and having kids changed my peer group to other wives and mothers, many who were a little, and some much older, than myself. So, all through my 20s I already felt 30 and that's probably why last year when I hit the big 3-0, I was more than a little sad at the passing of my 20s. Going back to school three years ago, only made me feel even older since many of the people in my classes were fresh out of high school. Although being married and having kids was my main ambition for my life, being surrounded by these young kids somehow made me feel that I was "behind". So , in many ways I do feel older than my 31 years.
Things that make me feel old:
*Going to the drive in this weekend to watch a double feature and not even being able to stay awake through all of the second movie! The year Conrad and I got married, we went to the drive in all the time because our pastor had suggested we not have a tv for the first year of our marriage to encourage us to grow closer as a couple. Being the cheap Mennonites that we are, the drive in would give us 2 movies for the price of one. Not only could I enjoy the double feature without dozing off, but on long weekends we stayed awake through the triple feature and often did not get home until 4 o'clock the next morning! Now I feel old that I can't stay awake through even two movies! (BTW...we got a tv in September...because I was so sick with morning/noon/night/ sickness that Con needed something to do...we figured that we had indeed "grown closer as a couple";) )
*Seeing the people at the UofM sport their "grad 2006" sweatshirts and realizing that my "grad 1994" sweatshirt is now possibly vintage wear. I also figured out too that this year those kids, who are 18, are technically closer to Kiandra's age (10) than they are to my age! *shock*
*Hearing those "grad 2006" kids complaining about how their mom packs their lunch and does their laundry and realizing...... I am a mom who packs lunches and does laundry... and yet I'm still doing homework!
*Finding a grey hair in my part about a week after I turned 30... and many more since then-(Grr!) Sure! I inherit every other quality from my mom and yet her ability to not get grey hair--that trait passes me over!
*Having kids that are 10, 8, and 6, being married for 11 years and being a great aunt! If you were to hear of someone with that description...you'd think they were old!
*Feeling the generation gap with my kids, even though I'm only 20 years apart from them. I'm thrilled that Kiandra is enjoying reading the Baby-sitter's Club books as I really enjoyed them when I was her age. Although, I really feel my age when she asks, what to her, are obvious questions and just don't make any sense. For example, in one book, "Claudia and the Phantom Phone calls" the girls receive mysterious calls where no one talks on the other end. My daughter turns to me and says, "Well??? Why didn't they just look at the call display???!!" In another book, "Mary-Anne saves the Day", the girl has trouble reaching parents who are going to dinner out of town and she has to leave a message for them to turn around when they get there. So she asks, "why didn't they just take their cell phone?" *Sigh* I'm sure we will get more questions as we work through the series.
However, there are times when I feel younger than my age. When some of the parents of my kid's friends are turning 40...I'm barely over 30! When I am at university, some of my fellow classmates are shocked to find out I have 3 kids who are ten, eight, and six. My first term back, I think a guy tried to pick me up! When I realized what he was doing, I mentioned something about "my kids" and he said "oh you have a kid" To which I replied, "yes, actually 3 of them and I listed their ages which were at the time 7, 5, and 3 and he looked at me and said, "F%$#! How old are you?!!" Truthfully it made my day when he told me he though we were the same age and he was 19, and I was 27!
Things that make me feel young:
*Having people think I am younger than I am, like that guy first term. More recently, there was a booth for grads who wanted professional pictures of themselves in their cap and gown with their families and so I rounded up the kids and Conrad for a token photo. The photographer, while posing us, looked at me and said, "man, were you like 12 when you started??"
*In a way, being in school makes me feel young. I always say that I'm going to school to become what I want to be when I grow up and that's the truth. Even though I am so "grown up" in so many other ways, I feel that a teaching job will actually mean I will officially be a grown up. Of course, there are other things that should make me feel like a grown up that will happen at the same time....I will also have a child in Junior High *gulp* I feel more grey hair coming on!
*I think I am in better shape now than I was in my early 20s. I gained a whopping 68 pounds when I was pregnant with Kiandra and between nursing and pregnancies, I carried that weight for many years. I finally shed all of those pounds a couple years ago (before I went back to school) and have still managed to keep much of it off...of course stress eating from deadlines and papers has let some of it creep back on. :( However, my endurance is better now than it was even when I was in high school. This morning I ran almost 4.5 km ..the whole way! There's no way I could have done that years ago.
*I feel young because my kids (so far) think I am. I guess because many of their classmate's parents are older, they are quite proud of the fact that Con and I are the age that we are. I'm certain that that will eventually change as the generation gap thing continues to grow, but I am content for now. When I turned 30 last year my kids had probably overheard my comments about how I wished I would stay 27 forever ( not very convincing with a now 10 year old daughter!) and they gave me a handmade card that read "We love you mom! Even if you are 30!" My kids are awesome!
I tried to think of 2 more things that make me feel young to make the list even, but my old mind is failing me, lol! I guess I do often feel more older than I do younger. I guess what matters most is that I feel content. I don't regret the path my life has taken and reflecting on what I have accomplished so far, my future looks very promising and I look forward to what God has in store for me.