Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Process of Aging

This year marks my 15-year college reunion.

I could hardly believe when the promotional emails, post cards, and facebook commentary emerged.

Fifteen years.  Where did it go?

When I was back in Chicago for a half marathon race earlier in the month, I was having dinner with a friend.  After not seeing one another for years, he said, "You look the same as you did in college."

After three babies, a graduate degree, a pseudo career prior to kidlets, sleepless nights, and lots of stress...I could hardly imagine that comment to be true...but I really appreciated it, nonetheless.

Not long after that trip while rifling through old baby clothes boxes, I stumbled upon pictures of me, my old college roommate, travels abroad, and fun times with friends.  I looked at myself in the mirror and then at the picture and thought, hell...maybe, the years have been kind...minus a few wrinkles and bags under the eyes.

When I think about that wide-eyed, hopeful, and extraordinarily green 22-year old college girl, I think about a woman who was yearning, eager, and I guess wanting to be the woman that I am today....married with children and most days extraordinarily happy. 

And when I look at the 37-year old woman in the mirror, sometimes, I long for the days when I would read philosophy texts for hours, drink beer like it was my job, get dressed up for a date and try not to puke from the butterflies (and subsequent beer) in my stomach.

But mostly, I hope that I'll get to look at a 57-year old woman in the mirror who will no longer have children at home.  And a 77-year old woman who will hopefully have finally traveled to Tuscany and published something.  And just maybe a 97-year old woman who will tell stories to her great grandchildren about being born in the 1900's...can you imagine life before the internet?

The process of aging is inevitable.  Some people do it well by owning each season and taking the best parts of who they were into where they're going.  Some people do it poorly by stewing in the past imprisoned by what was.

I'm thankful that the years have been kind and pray that there will be more college reunions to look forward to.

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