Last Friday was my birthday.
I actually spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about whether to say how old I am on this birthday. The thought of this birthday came up for me when I started this blog. Well, to be honest, before I started it. Should I put my age in my About Me? Should I include pictures in my weight loss history where it would be apparent I was a child, well, a long time ago.
“You don’t look close to 60,” said the sonographer who was doing the Doppler ultrasound to determine if I had a blood clot in my leg.
This was a few weeks ago, so I responded, “I’m not 60, not for a few more weeks anyway.”
She answered back, “I said you don’t look close to 60. You don’t look close to 59 either.”
It was the first time that someone not in my family had referred to my approaching birthday. There are some birthdays that are more momentous than others. I remember turning 18 which was surely important. I never had that birthday where you suddenly can legally drink. The law changed from 21 to 18 while I was being 19 one summer. 30 was a good birthday. 30 seemed to mark that line into real adulthood.
40 was interesting. Some see 40 as the beginning of being an older woman. 40 is certainly not old for a man, but society is a bit more cruel to women. In my case, though, 40 didn’t feel old at all. That was because I was pregnant with my first child who was due the day after my 40th birthday. I couldn’t possibly be old if I was about to give birth!
By the time I was 50, I had 3 children. That baby that had finally shown up 8 days after my 40th birthday was about to turn 10. We had adopted two more children who were soon to turn 8 and 13. So, 50 was certainly middle aged, but I didn’t really feel old either, not with kids that age. Life was busy and good. (Weight loss was, alas, not happening. I was somewhere in the 180s then). And, regardless, I still saw life as full of possibilities.
But, 60. Well, 60 is different. I don’t really feel older than I was many years ago. Yet, at 60, you realize that there are certain things you won’t ever do. There are paths that weren’t taken and never will be. While there are still many choices left in life, you become more aware that you have to make those choices carefully as you don’t have unlimited choices. Time is marching on. It isn’t that you can’t do new things. I most certainly can. It is that you feel a need to make those new things count. To make sure the choices are the right ones to make. And, to realize, that some things are just never going to happen. In general, those aren’t things I really want to happen. I’m not going to climb a mountain or sail around the world and I really don’t want to. Still.
I have this semi-joking, semi-serious debate with my son about whether I am now “old” given this most recent birthday. I see my mother who is 90 and, well, compared to her I’m not old. Not close. But compared to, say, my children…I can see the argument.
Talking about this particular birthday is really not off topic for this blog. This blog is not just about the less of me part. It is also about the part of me becoming a better me. And, part of that is realizing that this “better me” is now 60 years old.
I have one picture of me thin, when I weighed probably in the low 130s. I eventually lost down to about 117 pounds so this was not even my low weight. But, I look at this picture and like how I looked.
The thing is that even if I magically got to that weight tomorrow, I wouldn’t look like that picture. In that picture I was 35 years old. After I started regaining weight, I kept the thin clothes that I was wearing in that picture for years. I finally got rid of them several years later, when some part of me dimly realized that you can’t get back there again. Oh, I could lose all the weight again (I haven’t, but I know it is possible). But, I would never be that 35 year old person again.
When I hit my goal weight, or get below it, I will surely be a better me, but I won’t ever be that 35 year old me because that time is gone. And, that is really more than OK. That 35 year old was single and didn’t have children. I wasn’t even dating and had bought a book about having a baby without a man (all about single women having artificial insemination). I had basically decided that I was unlikely to ever find someone I wanted to marry, but I was well aware of that biological clock ticking away. At 35, I was an adoptee who had never laid eyes on anyone biologically related to me and I had spent years fruitlessly searching off and on for my first mother who gave birth to me.
My life is so much better and happier 25 years later. I am so glad to be the 60 year old with my husband and children. I am glad that, eventually, my search for my first mother was rewarded and I found her and my half-siblings. I wouldn’t go back to being that 35 year old even if I could. I want the me that I have now, even with another 27 pounds or so to lose. The better me really is the me that I am now and that I am becoming at every moment.