Grow Up?

Peter PanI’m at that awkward stage. You know; the one where you realize that while you were growing old, you may not have grown up.

Yes, I can refer to my numerical age without sweating, ducking or gulping but I still avoid mentioning it whenever possible. It would appear I have an issue with acceptance, which I assumed would come with age.

Silly me.

I’m not old, at least not in my head (although my head is sometimes filled with a nasty voice reminding me that numbers don’t lie). I’m not precisely “retired” either, although my job is, strictly speaking, an avocation and based on my tax returns, not likely to turn into a valid vocation, if by valid we mean: it pays.

But what really unsettles me is how unsettled I feel. Aren’t I supposed to feel tranquil, calm, at peace? You know, things a mature person might be feeling?

What the hell?

young Nikki scowling at sisterMind you, I’ve had decades to get to a peaceful place. My agitation and my awareness that I was prone to agitation began early. I had plenty of opportunities to get rolfed or take EST or get better at meditating or go on retreats or find my center/balance or at least manage my temper, which is actually a way of managing my fear.

How many years does that take?

And, over the decades, I’ve become fearful of fewer things; so perhaps there’s been some forward movement. I still have meltdowns. I still yell, okay, scream at the vapid stupidity that surrounds me. Don’t get me started on customer service or rogue cops or religious fanaticism. I still come down harder on myself than anyone should. My failure to grasp the intricacies of rapidly changing technology, always billed as “simple”, infuriates me. Some days I detest all humankind, some days I despair on its behalf.

What am I to think about these feelings?

What I think is: This is not the mark of a mature woman.

What I also think is: Who cares?

I’m not here to promote the virtues of being a diva or giving in to every emotion one may be inclined to feel.

On the other hand, being, uh, “emotional” may be less a sign of immaturity than a sign that I’m simply an older version of myself: a tad more aware, a touch more in control but basically me.  Because while I fret and stew, I also revel, laugh out loud, dance and, in my mind at least, cartwheel on the beach.

So the package consists of emotions good and bad only mildly tempered by time. This is the version of me I have to offer. Take it or leave it.

Having said that, I need to stand guard against turning into a crotchety old person. I must resist the onset of “irritable at everything and everybody syndrome”, no matter how much these young whippersnappers tick me off.

Nikki and Molly at play


About Nikki

Author of non-fiction books HOPE IN SMALL DOSES and BECAUSE I SAY SO as well as numerous published essays. Her new novel, THE FORMER ASSASSIN, is due out January 2018.
This entry was posted in Aging, Culture, Humor, Life, Women and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Grow Up?

  1. Susan Mihalic says:

    Yesterday I was sitting in the waiting room of the local hospital while Rick was getting a colonoscopy. I thought, “Am I grown up now? Because this is something a grown-up does.” I understand what you mean about managing your fear; I do the same thing. xo

  2. AJ Calhoun says:

    Having had my odometer turn over recently I have been thinking many of these same thoughts (most of them, in fact, at least where not gender-specific) and I think: Yes, “Who cares?” Well, one might care enough one’s self to at least have a most wonderful birthday, and I hope yours will consume at least the entire weekend. As Rumi once blurted out, “Be scandalous!”

  3. Pam says:

    Happy Birthday Nikki,
    I think you just described what it means to be human. I think maturity is accepting all of who we are – the beautiful and not so beautiful, the sage and the brat.
    To many more years!
    Love Pam & Dave

  4. Linda says:

    As the saying goes, “You’re not getting older, You’re getting better”. More free to be our authentic selves. Living life as we choose and caring less what people may think.
    Have a wonderful Birthday, Nikki. Happy, Happy Birthday to you!

  5. Betsy says:

    You could never be a “crotchety old person”!

  6. Leland says:

    Have you read Florence Gordon by Brian Morton? Takes crotchedy to a whole new level you’d feel much better about yourself!

  7. Susan Creamer Joy says:

    Being emotional is also a sign of an expansive heart and you are in full possession of one that is top notch. Is it really your birthday? You wear all thirty of your years very well. XO

  8. Jaime says:

    Happy Birthday, you whippersnapper. Love you.

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