I’m never sure why people are uncomfortable about getting older. I'm proud of the wisdom I accumulate as years pass. I'm also not afraid to be an adult.
One of the things that gobsmacked me raising children was how many adults "in charge" of my kids shirked their mature, responsibility. I've kept track of the emails I've had to send inquiring over an appalling lack of grown men and women acting as such. My questions seemed to always boil down to a simple, basic one:
"Who, exactly, is the adult in the room?".
There's often a tepid or squeamish response to being asked to behave as an adult. We live in a youth culture, yes, and a youthful spirit is evergreen; but Warriors...Someone's got to pay the bills. I know myself to be ageless and light but when the moment comes to take responsibility... I'm front and center.
This is no Peter Pan life, folks...someone has to steer the ship leaving Neverland.
The girls were taught to call anyone older by a generation Mr and Ms or Sir and Ma'am. I always cringe overhearing someone correct a young person saying, "yes, ma'am." Or "no, sir.", further dissuading the respect issued reporting, "you make me feel so old."...I want to discourage this and reframe it. I always welcome good manners as a lovely issuing of respect and reverence for the fact I've lived more years and deserve such deference.
You know me...I'm not stuffy. I'm not on a high horse unless I'm in boots, jeans, and saying "giddy up". I'm just saying, life's evolution requires years mean something and as such, as adults, at each stage of development, we need to take inner inventory of our OWN development. Kids develop into the adults watching us and need to feel safe being kids in our care.
I'm still the mom who will call another mom if I know there's trouble brewing. I'd want another adult to watch over the path of my children too. When I was growing up we got away with next to nothing. I lived on Aster Lane and if Joyce Viale didn't catch me Georgia Osborne would...or Cathy Stojonovich...or Carole Rhineheart...lol...you get the idea...other moms sure as hell weren't letting their kids go down in flames but they weren't watching anybody else's nosedive either. I'm not talking about inserting oneself obtrusively; I'm recalling how a community collectively acted as adults and the children were better for it.
Whatever your age act it...with wisdom. I don't care how you dress, you do you, and feel great doing it...but let your years make you a role model in action. There's nothing more pathetic than a person collecting years, none the wiser having collected many. I'm a youthful spirit, I keep my physical self disciplined and strong, I'm told there is a light in my eyes (which is the greatest compliment I receive) but I never forget I am an adult...I am the mother of two daughters closely watching my lead as what they are meant to grow and be.
I was rewarded for my decision of acting my age and choosing dignity and responsibility with a phone call from my eldest, Indiana. She was driving to ballet listening to my interview with my old family friend, Terri Runnels (http://www.mlwradio.com/cigars--scars---superstars-with-terri-runnels.html). Indy was adorably endorsing our conversation and said, "...we have been learning about Jacqueline Kennedy in history...how stoic she was and how immediately upon losing President Kennedy she made it her mission to preserve his legacy with dignity and grace. When we were learning this all I could think of was this is how my mom handled it all, this is how Mattie and I never felt afraid, because that first night we lost daddy you set the tone...you said, 'we will be very sad for a long time but you will never be scared. I will never let anything happen to you girls...and nothing bad is going to happen to me. I will protect you from everything because that is my job. Your job is to grieve losing daddy and be a kid. I'm the adult, you are the kids.' and then mom, you kept your word; Mattie and I never felt scared.". I had the strangest sensation of smiling and crying but thanked her for this gift. She showed herself the young adult she is becoming, making my heart bloom like the daffodils in my garden saying, "you don't know how many people you've impacted with the grace you've shown but I do because hearing you tell Ms. Terri you didn't know who to be when daddy died so you called on Jackie Kennedy...she was the most wonderful First Lady But you became the First Lady of Daddy's Warriors, Mom. You did that for us and them.".
...if I'm never told anything else I will forever remember sitting in my pink bedroom chair and having my child tell me I'd done my job. I'll never forget when the world fell out around us she felt sorrow but she knew, she need not fear.
There's no smooth, wrinkle-less face, there's no young body parts or full head of hair that match what strength, wisdom, and leadership can mean as a legacy. If we are blessed enough to "age"...let us do it with purpose, intention, and maturity.
I believe in aging gracefully while acting your age. I believe in an ageless spirit but a wise one. I believe when the chaos of life ensues, it's important to stand at the front of the room prepared to be the trusted adult...Always!!!