Random thoughts at 44
I had a birthday recently. No. 44, which also is roughly how many people asked me if I was turning 29 again. Nope. Forty-four. Don’t you dare take away a single year. I earned them all, and I wouldn’t go back to 29 for anything.
I hated 29. No one believes you’re 29 anyway, probably because everyone walks around asking 44-year-olds if they’re 29. And your professional credibility grows exponentially in those 12 tiny months twixt 29 and 30. The “aw, you’re just a kid” remarks immediately cease.
I am 44. I am no longer a kid.
I still act like one at times. I eat ice cream for dinner on Fridays and know most of the songs from “Lion King.” I get to play with Play-Doh and color. For my money, "Max and Ruby” is the funniest show on television.
My body reminds me constantly, though, that youth has passed. A knee destroyed in a teen-age car wreck screams a little louder every day. The fine print is harder to read without arm extenders.
I am 44, and I am not their grandmother.
I huffed up the last time someone made that mistake, but, looking back, I really can’t blame him for the assumption.
It was a couple of years ago, when I was in the throes of the worst of my Little Guy post traumatic stress disorder and really didn’t care how I looked.
My hair was askew, months overdue for a cut and color – I’m not age-enlightened enough to willingly go gray – and my clothes were frumpy at best.
I’m doing better now. It’s been a while since I left the house covered in baby food and spit-up.
I have relatives younger than 44 who are grandmothers. We simply made – or stumbled on, or had made for us – different choices.
I am 44, and it bothers others far more than it does me.
Big Guy was nine months old and on the verge of walking when I turned 40, so I barely noticed. My mother, however, freaked out. “I just can’t have a kid who’s that old.”
I might never get to say that. The life expectancy for U.S. women is 79; I was 39 when Big Guy was born.
That’s the only part about being 44 that bothers me.
For now, though, Big Guy is fascinated by my age, in part because he can’t fathom a number that huge. “Mommy’s 44!” Big Guy shouted.
A by-stander quickly admonished him. “There are some things the world doesn’t need to know,” he said.
“The world already knows. It’s on the Internet,” I responded.
“Why’s it on the Internet? Why would anyone care?”
“I doubt anyone does. But it’s on my blog.”
I am 44, and technology is a means, not an end.
I have a cell phone that I hate. I make my living with computers but would prefer to run, screaming, as far away as possible on weekends. I’ve yet to master my Bluetooth, and I don’t have an iPod. I’d rather hear silence.
I am 44, and I have no generation.
Chronologically I’m a baby boomer but I missed JFK by five months. I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing when the Challenger blew up.
I’m a year older than Generation X, though I display some of its hallmark cynicism. That tends to happen when your earliest political memory is of a president resigning in disgrace.
I am 44 and adrift without a plan, without a grand scheme for my life or a to-do list of must-accomplish tasks.
I’m fine with that. For me, at least, grand schemes have tended to get blown out of the water shortly after I’ve schemed them, so I roll with the punches now. Being a parent taught me to do that.
I’m conscious of passing time, but not in a dread-filled way. My focus is on not squandering it. There’s too little left to waste on misery.
I’m slower to anger and quicker to forgive even those who ask me if I’m turning 29 again. I’ve learned to cut myself the occasional break, too.
I am 44, and I’ve never loved life more.
Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.