The other night we went to a neighbourhood pizzeria. I found myself alone at one moment with my sleeping baby beside me. On the far wall there was a big flat screen television with a loop of pre-recorded music videos. It was an eye-opening experience since I’ve never been one to watch music videos, in English or in Spanish. Aside from the random additions of Fergie who can indeed sing, all but one of the Latina singers left me unimpressed. They sounded like digitally altered chipmunks singing over a provocative dance beat. Yet, in common, they all had this luscious shiny long hair and perky… well perky everything. The outfits they wore ought to have made those dance moves at least a little uncomfortable. A good voice seemed entirely optional. Call me a cynic but if I want music, I want music, not an experience that includes false eyelashes, hair extensions, a great bra and gobs of professional help. It isn’t even real.
I know it isn’t real. Really I do. You know that too. And yet we walk away tricked thinking, “Oh gosh, what is wrong with me???” How do you compete with something that isn’t even real?
The big 3-0 is just around the corner for me. I hadn’t given it too much thought until I started to realize that many of the voices around me are saying I’m past my prime. It’s all over.
I say Meh.
I’m just getting started. I’m just getting past the part where you let go of the baggage. I’m just scratching the surface of character and patience and beauty and wholeness. I’m just learning how to say no to the right things. I’m just learning how to be angry at the right things. I’m learning how to really forgive. I’m just figuring out now who I am, what I want, what it is I’m made for.
I don’t want to spend my life acting and striving to appear like I am 20. There have been a lot of things I’ve learned in the last decade that I’m not willing to give up for all the dance moves in the world. So I will dye my hair. I will buy an anti-wrinkle cream that I will religiously forget to apply and I will exercise.
I am getting older. I accept that. So what?
There are, however, a few things that I will not accept. I will not tolerate a spirit that wrinkles. I refuse to let hope be stretched out and sagging. I am not okay with patience that has lost elasticity. Optimism will not droop.
I oppose an arthritic sense of adventure or a paralysed point of view.
Give me hearing aids if need be, but I will not stop listening.
I don’t even mind if I forget today’s date as long as it means I’m really living in today.
You couldn’t pay me enough to squeeze into one of those music video outfits but even if you could, I have enough sense to stand very still and not jiggle anything. I don’t have their dance moves and frankly, I don’t want them. I know with a shimmy and a shake that I can have my little dudes laughing while the dishes soak and while those pending files…pend just a little longer. I know where I’ve been. I don’t know exactly where I’m going but I like the path I’m on and the company is good.
30? Bring it on. I’m just getting started.