Monday, August 18, 2008

Here Comes the Tide

Today, for the first day in my life, I actually and honestly felt old. It was a horrid feeling - like a cold emptiness that grabbed my heart. I felt it to the core of who I am. Even more than that, I felt out of touch – something that was perhaps even worse.

As I was driving in to work today, I passed our local high school and noted, with some nostalgia, that today was the first day of school. I watched the teenagers walking in clad in shorts and cute tops with backpacks or bags in hand. I remembered how exciting that feeling was. A new year – a new span of limitless possibilities. A time to reinvent yourself, dream big, accomplish amazing things and meet remarkable new people. I realized that as adults we rarely get those opportunities and certainly never on an annual basis.

Driving further into downtown, I was listening to the radio just as I do most mornings. However Ryan had taken Cora in to daycare so I was more intent on what was playing than normal. Back to back I heard “Sweet & Low” by Augstana and “Where I Stood” by Missy Higgins. For some reason I suddenly realized that almost every rock and pop idol out there on the charts right now is younger than I am. In some cases more than a decade younger. I can handle being matronly compared to the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus, but I can’t wrap my head around being “old” compared to someone like Missy Higgins. That is someone I relate to – someone I would think of as my peer – my contemporary. And yet, quite frankly, I am not.

In addition, both of those songs – so full of passion and desire and longing – made me strangely miss those younger days of dating and drama. Of meeting someone wonderful, of fluttery feelings, of heart-rending let downs – of feeling intensely. I know that sounds ridiculous and when I was in the midst of one of those let downs I would have given anything to have a stable, near-perfect homelife. Let me be very clear – my heart is firmly planted in the garden of Ryan’s love. But I can’t help but miss a little of the drama.

When I got into work I pulled the video of “Where I Stood” and watched it. I realized even more vibrantly how I had changed from the “me” that is in my head. In the video Missy was at a subway station in the standard emo attire: boots, tights, shirtdress, cute quirky hat and a scarf. I understood – no felt – that look. However I was clad in heels, Italian wool trousers, a silk shirt and diamond earrings with my SUV out in the parking ramp.

Am I on the cusp of a midlife crisis? Maybe. Will I chuck everything, buy a bus pass, quit my job and create “art”? Doubt it. But maybe I will add some trendier, younger pieces into my wardrobe. Even better I may actually wear them out and about without feeling silly. Because after all, who says the me in my head can’t make peace with the me that sits in my office day after day? Maybe the tide of midlife is coming my way, but who says I can’t ride it all the way to the shore instead of just letting it wash over me?


Anonymous said...

I know just how you feel! I never thought of myself as old. But to all the high school & college students we are.:-(

Sarah B.

Anonymous said...

At least you didn't find yourself loudly singing along to your favorite song, only to have the announcer come on and remind you that you are listening to soft rock.