Friday, October 2, 2015

I'm Now 48 (But I Will Probably Never Grow Up)

Today’s my birthday! Yay, me! I enjoy my birthdays like nobody’s business. Am I immature? Maybe. A little over the top? Probably. Ridiculous, even? ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY.

And I like it.

There is a small part of me that cannot believe I’m this age. 48! Almost 50! Whoa, that’s like … ancient to my 13 year old self, the one I still identify with the most.

Did we ever think we would be THIS old?

I get to thinking about maturity. It’s an annual thing I do every birthday, the day I consider to be my own personal New Year. I certainly don’t feel like what I thought a mature adult would feel like, but what I’ve realized is that whether or not I act it is not only up to me, but up to my own perception of what maturity is, right? Or even whether or not it matters?

Remember when we would tell people to “act your age, not your shoe size”? How do we know how we are supposed to act at a certain age if we’ve never been that age before? Are we supposed to measure our level of maturity by how we compare to others?

I have never been fond of comparisons, in any capacity - except for sugar substitutes … they are not better than real sugar, and they don’t taste the same, either … and margarine - butter is better … And decaf – no, thank you …

Okay, comparisons of food and food substitutes are all right, but not people comparisons. We are told that we will always find someone better or worse off than we are in looks, body types, financial status, attitudes, you-name-it. Why? Does it really matter? Looking down on someone we consider less fortunate in any way is not a substantial way to build ourselves up (it really isn’t all that compassionate, either). Looking at someone we hold in higher esteem than we hold ourselves may give us something to strive for – if our envy doesn’t get the better of us – but it also serves as indications that we consider ourselves “not good enough.”

Who is it up to that determines what maturity is? I work hard, love and support my children, try to prevent them from the consequences of Head Up Ass Syndrome (usually by direct example). I do the best that I can. And I make a conscious effort to try to do better each day.

Is that not mature of me?

But I will also be the one to attempt a cartwheel after 20 years (and laugh at the pain I felt for a week afterwards), play on swings, face a camera with my open mouth full of partially-chewed food, go out of my way to push people’s buttons at every opportunity, embarrass my children in public … and wear a tiara on my birthdays.

Is that immature of me?

Why? If I’m trying to manage my responsibilities, who is anyone else to judge how I handle my down time? I embrace my ridiculousness. It keeps me sane – well, it keeps me going, anyway. We all do what we can to get by, to stay afloat, to keep our heads out of our asses.

How many times have we heard others talk about what we miss about growing up? How many times have we expressed the desire “to be young again”? Why can’t we understand that while we may have experienced some serious hard times and mourn our ‘loss of innocence’ to world tragedies, that keeping and maintaining that innocence (and joy and enthusiasm) – outside of circumstantial occurrences – is for the most part our own choice?

What we feel, think, focus on, reflect, ponder, and are is a result of our own thoughts. We have more control and choice than we allow ourselves to believe.

We can almost look at growing older as what we deal with when playing sports as children. There will always be people pushing us to perform a certain way, while deep inside we just want to enjoy the game.

We should enjoy the game, right? Because it is like they say: no one gets out of this alive.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to push my big, fat, birthday excitement in other people’s faces. After all, I’m wearing a tiara.