Embracing my sparklers…

My in-laws are making their way here to my house. We are going to have our Memorial Day cookout today, and celebrate the May and June birthdays in the family as well.

I tried to fix myself up a bit today. I painted my toenails (which I hate doing because of how bad my hands shake), put on a new outfit (shorts, which I rarely wear but are actually pretty comfortable because I got them a size bigger than I normally wear), and attempted to array my poof (my hair). That’s when I noticed that I have several more gray strands than I remembered having.

Actually, gray is not the word. They are WHITE. I had to get a closer look at them, so I yanked one out. I looked at it, then yanked out another. And another, and another. Before I knew it, I was staring at about a dozen or so translucent strands. Then I had to laugh. My hair decided to skip the gray stage and go straight to white, huh? I mean, why waste time?

I’m not upset. I know some people freak out when they see gray hairs. I actually don’t mind aging. Mind you, I don’t attribute my aches and pains and brain fog to aging–I think those are symptoms of my mystery illness. I don’t mind the fact that I am getting older. We are faced with two choices in this life–get old or die young.  I’m not afraid to die, but if I have things my way I would like to see my kids grow up and start families. And I’m definitely not as young as I used to be. I don’t know why society abhors getting old.

Getting older to me has been positive. I have gotten more comfortable with myself, more stable, and of course, grown in the Lord. As I’ve gotten older and unfortunately had to deal with more stress, strife and tribulations, which are unavoidable aspects of becoming an adult, my faith in God has increased. I’m definitely in a better place mentally than I was in my early twenties.

There was a meme on Facebook that posed the following scenario:

red pill blue pill

The red pill means I would be TEN flipping years old. HECKY.NO. Not in this society, especially. When I was ten back in 1991, the world was just a friendlier place. There was no such thing as terrorist attacks. I had experienced racism by then unfortunately, but no one had levied that dreaded “N” word at me–that came years later. I could run around outside and ride my bike relatively free from stranger danger. Kids got into fights, but the bullying wasn’t bad enough to drive kids to depression or suicide (in general). There wasn’t as much pressure to look a certain way. Television was a lot better. It was cleaner. There wasn’t the influx of reality TV trash that there is now.

There are definitely some things I miss from childhood. Not having any financial responsibilities is the main one. But there were other things I remember fondly from 1991. That was the year that I said goodbye to Ann Arbor and hello to Ypsilanti (it’s not that big a leap. The two cities are right by each other, but it meant a change in school districts). My parents had just bought their first house, one of which I have precious, precious memories. That was also the year we went to Disneyworld as a family.

Then I thought about the fact that if I were to go back to being ten again, that meant that I would have to do the following things over again:

  1. Middle school.
  2. Puberty and all the trash that comes along with it–acne, tender burgeoning boobs, the first period, which never comes at an opportune time, like when you’re at home by yourself wearing dark pants;
  3. Braces;
  4. High school;
  5. Crushes and dating (I would say first love but I didn’t have that opportunity in high school);
  6. SATs and ACTs;
  7. College. That’s an absolute no for me. I don’t want to do any of that over again.

And if I did go back and do it over, would I take the same path that led me to Matt? Would I end up with the exact same three kids? And who knows, maybe during a do-over Dad wouldn’t have even made it to 58… With that being said, no thanks. I’d take the blue pill.

The Bible speaks positively about growing old, namely because along with increased age comes wisdom (or at least, it should). My favorite Scripture regarding growing old is Proverbs 16:31: “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life”. I think of some of the people in my family who have lived long lives, mainly my paternal grandmother. She lived 92 years, and only started to lose her independence during her last year of life. The entire time she was living, up until her very last breath, she had all of her mental faculties intact. I remember when she was in the hospital years ago, and she had developed painful bedsores. Now, mind you, Gramma Smith was a fiery Southern soul who used to drop four-lettered words left and right. It was a part of her charm, LOL… But I remember her saying, quite irritably (for good reason), “My a– hurts!” Then, the pain worsened, and she went a different route. I heard her mutter quietly to herself, “JesusJesusJesusJesus”… before I knew it, she was asleep. No, she hadn’t taken any pain meds. Something about the name Jesus…

I adored Gramma Smith. She wasn’t without her flaws, of course, but there was one thing she had under control–she loved the Lord. I miss seeing her at church. She loved getting dressed up–her outfits always consisted of a matching hat, heeled shoes and handbag, and she wasn’t afraid of color. I think of the invaluable time I spent with her as a child, snapping peas, washing greens, watching her make pies, dumplings, chicken, etc., and listening to her tell stories about her days as a youngin’ in Alabama.

(Now I’m in tears).

In the grand scheme of things, our time here on earth is short. When we think of the fact that our afterlife is for all eternity, that kind of puts things into perspective. Why get hung up on competing with younger people when they have to do the same thing we have to do–deal with the reality of getting old? Why waste time fretting over lines in your face and spending thousands of dollars on cremes and treatments that will only work for so long, or, even worse, have you out there looking like a mannequin??? (I’ve seen some SCARY looking plastic surgery). I’m not saying people should just let themselves go, but, there’s no point in fighting the inevitable or obsessing over it. I’m not as young as I was before. It’s to be expected that I’ll have some white hairs and, eventually, probably some wrinkles (unless I’m like my grandmothers. Neither of them had wrinkles–they had plenty of laugh lines–and my mom will be sixty this year and she has no wrinkles, either). That’s okay.

Matt and I laugh regularly about how we’re changing as we get older. Some of our personality changes are directly attributed to growing in the Lord, but there are other things that are vastly different from when we first started dating. When we met, we were working overnight at Target. We were both night owls by nature. When we started dating seriously, it didn’t mean anything for us to go to work, spend time together in the wee hours of the morning, maybe separate for a little while and rest for a few hours, only to get back up and do it again. On the rare weekend days when we didn’t have to work, we were literally out ALL night. And I don’t remember EVER being exhausted. That’s definitely not the case now. The last time we attended a party was before I was even pregnant with Jayla. At the end of the party, Matt and I dragged our weary, tired bodies to our car, feeling accomplished. It had been a long time since we’d hung out, and we just KNEW that it had to be about one-thirty or two in the morning. We got to the car, turned it on, and to our surprise–it was 10:34 p.m. LOLOLOLOL!!!! That’s when it hit us that we were old. We can’t hang like we used to. But, it is what it is.

Even if I wanted to hide my white hairs, I really can’t. I’ve had people make remarks about them, which in my opinion, is not only in poor taste, but also pretty stupid, if you don’t mind me saying. “Wow, you’re too young to have gray hair!” Ummm… well obviously I’m not, because I’m DEFINITELY my age–I have the birth certificate to prove it–and the gray hairs are DEFINITELY  there…

Only thing I can say is, “I’m not worried about my sparklers.”



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