Why I feel old suddenly

My mother said that she was really depressed for months about turning forty. Until her birthday came and everything was just the same and she felt fine after that.

I was looking forward to the date, and now I'm feeling hung over from it. I'm feeling old. I'm doing all this grown-up stuff. No crises, it’s not, "Drop everything and focus on this!" work. It’s just business. Legal. Medical. Financial. Logistical.

Like, my thirty-year-old fillings all have to be replaced. Six teeth, three new fillings and three complete crowns. Thousands of dollars. Thank goodness we have insurance. But shouldn't my mom be here talking to the financial manager in the dentist's office?

Anj's youngest son is fielding questions about her health on her blog. My babies aren't going to get that big, are they?

I've just become the official administrator of my grandmother's estate. Which sounds grander than the reality. But when the real estate agent introduced the "owner" to the new neighbors, I realized he was talking about me. Me, standing there, shaking hands, making deals. Isn't that my dad's job?

Actually, one of the good things of this whole process is finding out that my father respects my decisions, even when I don't do it his way. At least sometimes.

There's a new Young Adult Friends group at my meeting, and I'm too old to join.

My slang is woefully out of date.

I'm the costume mistress for my son's fourth grade class play. I said today, "this is the fun part of being an elementary school parent." I am the mother of elementary school aged boys.

I was watching a mom with two little ones at the grocery store yesterday, and I realized that she was both at least ten years younger than me and a very competent mother. I wanted to tell her she was doing a great job. I felt more kinship with the 70 year old women who were comparing the baby with their grandchildren.

But the worst was last week when I was listening to a song on the radio about a girl whose parents don't approve of her boyfriend and I realized that I was identifying with the mom in the story.

So much attention to details. This month is all about finding and holding the presence of God in the details.

And about not worrying about the outcomes – I am not in charge of what my cousins or the nominating committee decide. God is not in charge of what they do. Each of us is in charge of our own decisions. But God can help me to learn the lessons in the mundane and practical and important.

The story in my horoscope this week says, "It will give you the proper perspective as you, too, go about the work of doing the best you can at a task that is virtually impossible to perfect."

Sounds like my whole life right now.


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Blogger Gregg Koskela said...

And you are wise. And living into God's call for ministry as writer, mother, activist, Quaker.

Me? I'm taking my daughter to high school orientation tomorrow night. Sigh. How can this be?

3/11/2008 8:04 PM  
Blogger anj said...

Oh Robin - you cause me to tear up. I recognize so much of myself in your words. Different details, but same feelings. But your words point me back to exactly where I want to be, finding and holding the presence of God....Now being administrator of your grandmother's estate, that is pressure! :)

3/11/2008 10:13 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

you are welcome to join the yaf if you want to. but you don't have to want to, either. we've got 2 new parents in our group, and 2 50 year olds.

and in terms of your slang, my coworkers at the school use the word you scolded yourself over ALL the time & they're all younger than me! (and my response is always, "it can walk fine!")

3/11/2008 10:43 PM  
Blogger cubbie said...

eep! i've been caught! at least by your blog.

3/11/2008 10:44 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Wisdom. I keep hoping for that. And praying. Especially for the kind that knows the difference between what I can change - and better not forget to do - and what I can not change - and just have to get along with.

Just to be clear, my grandmother died years ago, so it's not an emotional project, just a lot of paperwork that should have been dealt with years ago, by somebody much older than me.

Gregg, high school? We just have to get ready for middle school this fall. I knew you were really older than me. :-)

Anj, the old spiritual is ringing in my head, Hold ON!

cubbie, I know that I could come to the YAF functions, but I feel like one of my current projects is to learn how to be middle aged gracefully, maybe by the time I'm 50. But thanks. I'd like to someday be one of those 80 year old women who manage to hang out with young people and be neither overly foolish nor rigid.

For any one else, I'm still looking for an alternative word to describing something poorly done as "lame." Any suggestions?

3/11/2008 11:11 PM  
Blogger jsi said...

I know exactly what you mean with so many of those transitions. The real estate; the radio; the kinship with those who are older and younger.
Turning forty was an "I finally made it!" feeling for me, embraced and enjoyed. But life in the 40s has been a true adult experience. Life can be challenging, and fun doesn't have to be applied to everything I get to do.

But three of our four children are still in elementary school, so I am at the school once a week, able to be involved in fun. Coffe filter pinatas - I'm there! Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Park mobiles with hangers and glitter - I'm there! I can read Curious George and Miss Spider with the voices and nobody rolls their eyes! I can use my collected knowledge of all of the names of the duck family in Robert McClosky's Make Way for Ducklings. Who else in the world really cares that Mr. and Mrs. Mallard had a :Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and a Quack?!.

Getting older is an adventure, sometimes heavy, sometimes light, but always an adventure.

I enjoyed your post today. Praise God from whom all blessing flow.

3/12/2008 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI, the YAF group is really open to anyone. Although you may find it not that interesting for yourself.

If it makes you feel better, this YAF wonders when/how I will ever be in a place in my life where I have the hubby and the elementary school aged babies and the staying-in-one-place inner peace!

3/12/2008 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alternative to "lame" - crappy, shitty, or for a more tame alternative - poopy.

3/12/2008 12:40 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Allison, my slangy usage of the word "lame" mostly implies that it could have been better if someone had tried harder. Which is also why it's just an inappropriate word for me to use in this way.

3/12/2008 1:02 PM  
Blogger Rich in Brooklyn said...

Consider this. If you are truly 40 years old, then the year you were born I was already 21! Some of the most significant events in my lifetime are known to you only through history books.

How old do you think I feel?

- - Rich Accetta-Evans

3/12/2008 2:34 PM  
Blogger Will T said...

Robin, you young thing,
In May last year my daughter graduated from college and got a job and now is engaged. In August our son went off to college. All of a sudden this parenting gig is mostly done. Too bad because I think I was just getting the hang of it. Lynn and I have rediscovered the joy of going on dates together. Old or young is so relative. I am middle-aged now, but only if I live to be 112.

Will T.

3/13/2008 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't think it would be such a big deal to turn forty -- until I turned forty, of course. I feel like it's vain of me to be concerned about my changing body and face, or at the very least a very silly concern with externals, but it's hard not to be, isn't it!

3/23/2008 11:56 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

I think that there is some truth in that old saying that you are as young as you feel - if we come to know each other in that which is eternal, we'll feel young for a very long time.

3/24/2008 12:51 AM  
Blogger Harmonium said...

Heh, wait till you start thinking "When I was my son's age, he was 17!"

3/24/2008 4:49 AM  

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