Adulting

My 11-year-old son has recently asked for cooking lessons from my husband and I. We’ve tried to get him to cook or bake for his entire childhood, but he’s had little interest until now. We’ve done pasta and scrambled eggs and even a basic frozen pizza so he can conquer his fear of the oven. We had a little lesson on laundry, too, or at least how to work the washer and dryer, but that will take some more time.

All of this got me thinking about the term “adulting.” I will tell you right now that I despise the word.  It’s just some cute, irritating word someone thought up that just means basic life skills that someone should have taught you years ago. (And yes, I realize it can mean more than that, like buying your first appliance, but since I have been a responsible adult since the age of 7, the word just bites my ass.)

adultingSo…if creating a budget or balancing your checkbook (am I the only one who still does that?) is “adulting,” then what have I been doing these past few years? If that crap is adulting, what is taking care of your son and working full-time and attempting to navigate the healthcare system for your dementia and diabetes-ridden mother and now taking turns with your family to be with your father who can no longer be left alone?  And what about trying to maintain healthy and fulfilling relationships, including one with yourself?

Is this “Middle-ageing”? Being a member of the Sandwich Generation Club? Or maybe just Life?

I had a little meltdown a few weeks ago, just feeling tremendously overwhelmed with these responsibilities that I did not and still do not feel prepared for. I might have even stomped my foot. But with tears in my eyes, both my husband and I just started to laugh. I mean, what else can you friggin’ do? I can cry you and every other human being on the planet a river, but laughing is something I don’t do enough of these days. My brother was the one who made me laugh the most.  I need and want him here more than ever. But I guess that’s one reason why I can cry you a river, right? Maybe I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed if he were here. Or maybe I’d just feel like ME again.

And that’s what I’m really trying to do. I’m trying to figure out who I am without my brother. I can’t be whole again, that I know for a fact. But I should be able to piece me together somewhat. There are facets of me that still exist–a runner (even though I’m currently sidelined with an injury), a librarian, a reader, a writer, a mom, a wife, a friend, a daughter and a sister. I am a FBG (Former Big Girl) on the outside but a Forever Big Girl on the inside. I’m mostly kind and generous but fiercely protective of my family. I am often brutally honest but sometimes not honest enough, especially to myself.

Maybe adulting is just another term for growing up. Maturing. Finding your way in the world. And many of us, even at age 45, are still trying to figure that out.

 

 

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My wrinkles in time

Do you have those little crinkly lines around your eyes? How about the parentheses that show where your cheeks begin? Maybe the horizontal lines on your forehead?

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Or maybe you’re like me and have the small vertical lines in between your eyebrows?  I really hate those things. I think it shows how skeptical and pissed off I’ve been all these years. You know how your mother used to say, “Don’t cross your eyes or they’ll stay that way!” How come she didn’t say, “If you keep scrunching your forehead when you think someone’s being an asshole, you’ll eventually have angry lines on your face FOREVER!”  I really wish Mom had told me that. Would it have prevented me from making that same face?  Probably not.

I have the parentheses on my face, too. They don’t bother me quite so much, until I notice my face in a mirror or window. If I’m not smiling, they are *very* prominent. My face is already long and those wrinkles make it look even longer. If I had an overbite, I’d look like a horse. But how did I get those wrinkles? Are they really from smiling and laughing? Huh. So I guess they’re like my happy badges. They show my happiness, my joy, my good days from the years that I’ve lived. I may not have all the memories, but my face still does. I kind of like that.

One evening last year, my nine-year-old son asked what I was putting on my face. I told him it was anti-wrinkle cream. “Mom, it’s not working,” he said. I couldn’t help but laugh when he said it, but gave him the stink eye, too. I know it’s a losing battle, but I don’t think I’m ready to give up on it yet. Although the laugh lines don’t bother me, those damn worry lines, well….worry me! I’m already a bit of a bitch, but I don’t want my face to always show it, you know? I’m hoping I can accept it at some point soon, but I’m just not there yet.

I don’t think accepting your body at any age is very easy. Or it never has been for me. When I was fat, I hated myself. When I lost weight, I hated I still had flab and without surgery, always would. Now that my body is aging and I don’t have the energy I once did or my skin is getting wrinkly or I can’t remember everything I wish I could, then I just get angry or frustrated. I don’t hate myself any longer (most of the time anyways) but I often wish I could have a younger body for just a while. Well, maybe not even that.

Instead I wish I could whisper into the ear of my 10-year-old self and say, “You’re ok. Keep running and biking and playing basketball, even when you don’t think you can anymore. Love your body because it’s strong and young and flexible. Don’t worry about other people or what they think. Just take care of yourself. And try not to scrunch your forehead too much. People will always make you angry with their stupidity. Instead of scowling, just arch your eyebrow at them or look at them cross-eyed. Don’t worry about what Mom said. They won’t stick! But the angry look you make with your face will. Trust me on that one.”