Friday, June 26, 2009

Thoughts on Aging

Dennis is out of town. And I get nervous at night. As I laid all alone in my bed at 1:00 this morning, scared of what I might see if I looked out the window, and scared of what might be standing behind me, and scared of what might happen if someone broke into my house, I was trying to think of happy thoughts so I wouldn't be scared and I could go to sleep.

My scared thoughts wandered to the death of Farrah Fawcett and (*gasp!!*) Michael Jackson and the lady in the book I had just been reading (stupid book). Somehow from there, I started thinking about getting old. And my kids growing up. And me and Dennis aging together. Because we are.

At this point, I realized that I was NOT thinking happy thoughts, but I also wasn't scared anymore. So I went back to my thoughts on aging.

I don't like getting older. Well, no, some things I do like. In fact, I like a lot of things. I like the intelligent and engaging conversations I can have with my children. They're so freaking AWESOME!! Yesterday I had a long conversation with Wade about the distance between Provo and Alaska and the distance between Provo and Venezuela. We also talked about why Halibut are such ugly fish. We contemplated what it might be like to drive to Venezuela. It is 3,482 miles from Provo to Caracas, Venezuela, in case you were wondering. That's a long drive. Longer than to Ketchikan, Alaska.

I also like the security that middle age seems to be bringing to me. I'm not so worried as I once was about what people think of me. I like my wage and my husband's salary. I like it that I wasn't scared to go back to school when I was 37 years old. I was just SO EXCITED. (I did NOT feel that way when I graduated at 23...) I like it that I feel pretty comfortable in my own skin (except for my weight, which I don't want to talk or think about).

I really like it that Dennis and I have been married for 20+ years. We've had four children together, and both survived incredible periods of morning (all day, all night, for 9 months) sickness. We've lost loved ones together. We've been through knee surgeries and stitches, hysterectomies and nervous breakdowns, broken bones and broken hearts. We've hiked mountains, gone camping, canoed and fished, fixed cars, boats, and bikes, we've planted gardens and trees and grape vines. We've built swing sets and sheds. We've installed toilets and dishwashers and ceiling fans (I'd like a couple more of those, if you're reading this, Dennis). We've moved from Utah to Illinois to Florida to Minnesota and back. Several times. We have a huge history together. I LOVE that.

And as hard as it is, I like watching my children grow up. I like watching them spread their wings, while my heart aches, as they learn and mature and get ready to go out into the world. I like to see how handsome/beautiful/smart/clever/capable they are as they grow. I like seeing the adults they are becoming.

I don't like the ways I feel myself wearing out. If I lay in bed and read too long (is four hours too long??) my back and shoulders really hurt. My knees hurt in the mornings. I have more gray hair than I want, but I have to stop pulling them out or I'll be bald. I don't want that, either. My teeth aren't as straight as they used to be, and some of them are starting to wear out. I can't do the splits anymore (who cares, except for me?), and like I mentioned earlier, I totally hate my weight. It's pretty frustrating, too, that the work that would have lost that weight in the past now doesn't get the job done! (I totally blame Krispy Kreme. This is all their fault).

I don't really like the heartache that comes when loved ones make bad choices. I don't like the helpless feeling you get when you have to watch them suffer the consequences of their decisions.

But what I came to realize during my mid-night reverie is that I am pretty happy with my life. Yeah, there are things about getting old that pretty much suck, and I bet they get worse as we get older. But there is certainly joy to be had in this journey of life, and although I often don't recognize it, last night while I was ignoring the scary things lurking in my dark bedroom, I remembered that life is beautiful. My life is beautiful. And even when it isn't, it's mine and Dennis's, and we love each other and we have children and parents and siblings and friends, and jobs and a home, and one car that works. And I was grateful.

And I drifted off to sleep feeling peaceful and calm and wondering how late I could sleep in the morning and still get to work on time.


Susan said...

What a well written post! I think we all could stand to lay awake some nights and think about the good things in our lives.

Kim said...

Marianne, that was such a sweet post! What a wonderful way of looking at things. I think it's so easy to get caught in the nitty gritty hardships of life and forget to look at all of the amazing things we have accomplished, been through, and learned. You are amazing and you have a beautiful family!! And (totally random), my dad totally did tons of work in Ketchikan, Alaska. He was there like once a month for a couple of years and loved it!

Marianne said...

You are a great wife. I'm lucky to be married to you. Hang in there and don't let the creepy under the bed guy grab you. (ha).

Oh, and I'll send pictures tonight.

heath said...

You used to be able to do the splits?! I'm so, so jealous! My oldest sister could do the splits until about the time she had her second kid. I hated her for that.

Thanks for the insights--I hope you know that you are still one of my favorite people.

JoEllen said...

I love reading your blog! I just do not have a way with words and it is fun to read your words. It is part of life to get old and have our bodies wear out. But, remember all those things that you are thankful for and the other isn't as important.

Tat said...


Kazzy said...

I just found your blog address on FB. Fun to link up with fellow bloggers. I recently put up a little post about aging too. Inevitable, huh?

Karen Burton

Erica Peterson said...

marianne- I wish you gave lessons on "being comfortable in your own skin!" I would be the first person to sign up!--believe me!

Lee and Melody said...

Sis, I love you. I love that I have you in my life, and I love the perspective you share with me. And I love (LOVE) love that I will see you Thursday.