Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Our True Age

A dear friend asked me recently what I felt my true age to be. We had just enjoyed brunch on a beautiful day in her Victorian era flat in San Francisco and at that moment I was feeling about 29. That was the age in which I started to really come into my own. At 29, my mother once said, you're young but the world starts to take you seriously. However, I'd like to change my answer.

I've often thought lately (the last year or two) that I really feel about 50. Not that I'm starting to have aches and pains, but that I've lived a lot. I've played mother to people in their twenties, I'm a bit worn in (like a good paperback) by motherhood, I'm a little sad, a little hopeful, and a lot more tender. I've seen enough of life to know what matters and what really doesn't, and I finally feel at home with myself. I'm not really searching anymore, and I don't play games with people, and I write a nice thank-you card. So, I feel about 50--and in a good way.

Obviously, I've given a lot of thought about the question my comadre asked that beautiful day and I'm realizing how much things have changed in the last few years. I am not the woman I used to be, since losing a mother and becoming a mother (in a six-month period to boot). There are so many contradictions in me now--and yet I'm comfortable with them. I'm much stronger than I used to be, yet much more vulnerable. I'm gentler with others' hearts than I ever was before, yet tough enough to shove back when necessary. I certainly don't take anyone's shit anymore (like I used to), but my heart is much more open to forgiveness. My time is precious, too. The friendships I have now are worth my time and energy--and if they're not, I let them go. I say the word No now with a capital N, and sorry be the man (or woman) who asks me twice. I no longer hesitate to leave a situation and I no longer hesitate to help someone. It feels so liberating to have clear boundaries and clear intentions, and I actually like the fact that my internal age is 50. I'm learning to embrace the earth mama, homekeepin', no-nonsense, Paula Deen-esque lady who lives inside me.


Gorgon Zola said...

That was all beautifully said. I am glad I asked that question. It's always in my head. I really loved how you gracefully you wrote out why you feel 50.

CafeMama said...

Girl, you are always asking interesting questions! That's why you're one of my #1 people--you always make me think, and we never waste time on boring stuff--we get right to the heart of things.

Melusine said...

You have such a way with words, A. And I haven't known you for that long, but I'd say you're aging well. This was really beautiful.

CafeMama said...

Dang, girl! thanks! It is good to have somewhere to let off some steam sometimes, and to articulate things that storm around inside. I'm glad you like!