Sunday, August 23, 2009

shed their age

Of Merlin wise I learned a song,—

Sing it low or sing it loud,

It is mightier than the strong,

And punishes the proud. I sing it to the surging crowd,—

Good men it will calm and cheer,

Bad men it will chain and cage—

In the heart of the music peals a strain

Which only angels hear;

Whether it waken joy or rage

Hushed myriads hark in vain,

Yet they who hear it shed their age,

And take their youth again.

Ralph Waldo Emerson – first part of his poem “Merlin’s song”

reach to grow

I’ve been thinking a lot about aging lately. For awhile now I’ve been finding myself thinking that I’m much older than I am. A couple of months ago I found myself thinking…. “ahh, soon I will be facing menopause.” I’m turning 35 tomorrow!! Sure it’s possible, but unlikely, that I will be contending with that mysterious milestone early. It doesn’t run in the family.

I keep thinking that I’m at the end of my life, no time for that Masters degree I’ve always wanted, no time for the fit runner’s body and style of living I’ve envisioned for so long. I don’t know why I think this. It’s an automatic, subconscious thing. When I hear it in my head I tell myself… No silly. You’re only 35. Maybe it’s because I got here fast. The last 10 years being quite a blur. Or maybe it’s being a mom, putting my own life on the backburner far too thoroughly. Maybe it’s because of my uncanny ability to sabotage my own career/success/happiness. A dear friend of mine would say, to any question is it this, this or this? with, “Yes.” 

drinking fountain at the park

Then, last month, as if only to legitimize my delusions about my own ageing, I found several gray hairs at the place where my hairline meets my forehead, front and center. I was in the car, with the family, with the windows rolled down, parked and I literally screamed. I spoke as loud as possible, “I have gray hair!?!?!?!?!?!?!” Then I proceeded to blame them on my husband. “This one right here, this is you. And this one, and this one, all you. This little one right here is the boy, but the rest are you.” In truth, he’s the one person in my life, if there were no others, who saves me, shelters me from the graying aspects of life. It’s just fun to blame him, somehow. Thank goodness he’s a good sport and has learned not to listen to me too carefully.

I thought I had this issue licked a while ago, when I was turning 30 actually. It’s a number. It’s arbitrary, for the most part. It only means something if we ascribe that meaning to it. It lasted a while. 30 I was okay with. 35, jeez, how did 35 happen?



Jennifer Murphy said...

If it helps you feel any better Rachel, I got my master's degree when I was 36 and didn't even start running until I was 37 and 45 pounds overweight. You have plenty of time. And I find the older I get, the less I care how old I am.

sdkevin said...

Good to see that you can think of it as just a number adn not let it have a bigger hold on you or your ambitions...

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

It's good to be conscious of aging, but only to spur yourself into doing things you might never do if you wait for "one day."

Larissa said...

A poignant post. I think many of us who go through growing up too fast as children "feel old". Perhaps that and coupled with your being "an old soul" makes the number all the more traumatic. I agree that 35 did get here in a flash and sometimes I feel as though the last few years have aged my tremendously. Then I remember that living consciously was my transformative remedy 2 years ago, and can be once again!