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When we’re children and teenagers, we try to rush the future. We always want to be older than we are. We don’t want to be 9; we want to be in double digits and 10. We don’t want to be 12; we want to be 13–officially a teenager. We have high hopes for turning 16 and 18, and even higher hopes for turning 21. There are so many age milestones to reach for, and we don’t appreciate the age that we really are. That is, of course, until we get “old.” Then we realize how fast those years go by, and we tell younger people not to rush it.

An email has been passed around for years about getting older. It’s been attributed to comedian George Carlin, but it’s actually from actor and comedian Larry Miller. It captures exactly how we as a society perceive aging.

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 . . . and your dreams are gone.

I’m at the point where I’m putting on the brakes, trying like hell to slow the passage of time. And yet I still have difficulty enjoying the present. Mostly I have difficulty enjoying the moment. I take great pleasure in planning things, but when it comes to doing what I planned, my mind goes elsewhere. If I’m doing something that should be fun, I think about work that needs to be done. If I’m away from Paisley, I think about how I should be with her. If I’m in Florida, I think about being in Boston. The last day of a trip is especially difficult. The flight could be at 9pm, but I’m so distracted by what is waiting for me upon my return and what could happen when I leave, that I can’t just relax and enjoy the day. Read the rest of this entry »

Today I turned 42. How the hell did that happen?! I look at my 12-year-old daughter, listen to her sing her favorite songs, watch her giggle with her girlfriends, and hug her as she cries over a boy, and it seems like just yesterday I was that girl.

Birthday Cake

Fortunately — or maybe unfortunately — I still do those things, but on a different level. Get me with my girls, and I can be as goofy as any 12-year-old. Put on my favorite tune, and I still sing with abandon (when no one is listening, of course). And I still shed tears over men who were once boys — and I guess sometimes still act like boys. But now I have my life experiences to guide me, reassure me and keep me going, whereas when I was 12 there were so many unknowns and fears.

I would never want to go back to being 12, nor would I want to relive high school. Those years are just too tough — girlfriend fights, boyfriends (and breakups with those boyfriends), parents who drive you crazy, battles with your sister, school. And when one thing goes awry, you think your world is coming to an end. You don’t trust that there will be better, happier times. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s and 30s that life calmed down, and I began to feel comfortable with — and to accept — who I am. Read the rest of this entry »