Until recently, with a birthday mere months away ending in “0”, I have struggled with a Goldilocks complex: too old, too young…
Just right. Finally.
I think we’ve all had those moments after a near disaster averted, a crash that didn’t happen, an MRI that comes back clear, where we think “Thankyouthankyouthankyou! I’ll be better. I’ve learned my lesson. I get it now. I’ll appreciate what I have soooo much more.” But like speeding, our gas pedal quickly gets floored as soon as the cops are out of sight.
It’s always been a race against the clock for me. More, more, more. Faster, first, go. Young, younger, youngest. I was the youngest in my graduating class, started college at 16, worked immediately in a field where age is prized. I remember being grilled on the witness stand once about my credentials by a defense attorney. He said there wasn’t any way I had enough experience. I did. Won that case, channeling some serious Dr. “Bones” Brennan, with relish.
Blessed with an apparent baby face, I was recently told by a supervisor “You look like you’re 10!” Let’s be clear here, people, telling a 40 year old they look like they are 25 is a compliment. Telling anyone over the age of 8 that they look like they are 10 is condescending, rude, and generally to be avoided.
Visiting a parent on a locked memory care unit, an Alzheimer’s ward, for the past two years has changed me though. I’m no saint, lordy be, far from it. I often dreaded these visits. It forced me to examine the end stages of life. Harsh, heartbreaking and life changing. Suddenly though it didn’t matter if I looked like I was 10, the fact that I knew who I was became the only thing that mattered. It wasn’t about someone challenging my credentials, I could answer all the important questions: where I was, my name, and the people I love.
Perspective, it can’t be bought, is often painful in the acquisition thereof, but so needed.
I’ve seen some of the young beaten down by circumstances appear so very old, and then I have watched some octogenarians with the loveliest spark, lighting the way to aging gracefully.
You are just right, in this moment. Be a goldilocks. Blow out the candles. You are just right.
Keep sharing moxie.