Monday, November 22, 2010

Waxing Philosophical

The Matron cannot quite wrap her mind around the fact that on Friday she marks another birthday: 48.

People. This is almost 50.

Yours truly does not even feel like a grown-up, yet alone the elder statesman she is about to become (and let's posit that statesman is a gender neutral term). She has not one single slice of gray hair and still slips into size 14 boy's jeans. Pop culture? On it! Latest technology. Got it. She's the queen of online teaching at her college and is more comfortable in front of a screen than an actual human body (sorry, John, for all that this tendency might imply).

Long ago, when the Matron was a Young Miss she served a brief, memorable and deeply disturbing period as a secretary. This was right out of college. Here's how good she was at that job. Every week, she received a stack of computer generated reports. After discovering that nobody knew to whom these reports should be distributed (and we're talking a foot high each week), she found an empty closet and just started stacking them there. Where they stayed until her brief tenure as a secretary ended. They might still be there.

Her duties involved supervising people triple her age -- really. In retrospect, she is truly sorry for that slight. Can you imagine having a 23 year old being your boss at an institution you've been in for twenty years? But one of these women was very wise.

Young Miss: "Oh my GOD. I'm turning 24!! I can't believe I'm getting so old!!"

Wise Fellow Secretary (probably about sixty at the time): "What's the alternative to aging? I'll take the numbers and be happy I'm here to see them."

Now, the Matron has never forgotten that. As a cancer survivor and someone living with an autoimmune disease, she understands the trials of the body -- and its ability to fail at any second. But as a woman? It's hard to watch gravity succeed at every level.

The irony about aging is that it's new. Most of life is spent as children, teens, young adults, vital people in the midst of work and family --the Matron has been in the thick of these things for nearly 48 years.

But at some point, if luck shines, we're older than most around us. And even though this journey is just as uncharted and fresh as all those other beginnings, there's an unspoken expectation that age carries with it some sort of wisdom. Yet the Matron will pit facing 50 with anyone looking at college: it's all new territory.

Still seeking that wisdom. And grateful to see the next birthday, gravity aside.


Anonymous said...

Just so I don't miss it, I will wish you a most wonderful Birthday on Friday and year filled with wisdom gaining skills! I'm turning 51 soon and not sure I have those abilities yet either. Some days I feel 20 and others 120!!! The numbers don't bother me, never have. I had an 87 year old grandfather who referred to the "old man" up the street who was 93. In his mind THAT man was old , not him because he was still active and vital. I'm going with that plan, even though I like you have an auto immune disorder that likes to kick me on my keister every now and then.Positively marching forward into the yet uncharted! Bramble

Anonymous said...

You come across as younger than me (I'm 44) so I think attitude has a lot to do with it. I think the older secretary is right, we need to embrace aging because the alternative to aging isn't where I want to be right now.

Suburban Correspondent said...

I'm looking forward to 50, oddly enough. As menopause advances, I feel as though I have myself back, after a strange 35-year sojourn through a land where my worth was determined by how I looked and acted to other people. Is that weird? I enjoyed my 20's and 30's immensely (not so much the last few years); but this still feels like a relief.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

Happy Birthday, in advance.

Also? Fifty feels frickin' fabulous. That is my solemn promise. Nothing to fear. All that.


MJ said...

Although I am almost 43 (being a December birthday!), I understand how you feel because it is unexplored territory in so many ways.

Still, I am also looking forward to aging, not the aches/pains of it but the freedoms of it. I'm looking forward to menopause and being warm periodically ( ~ wink)! As for gravity? I befriended it long ago in yoga where I discovered that I preferred gravity over the alternative: reverse-gravity ( ~ a scary experience).

Happy 48!

Dodge said...


I was driving on the freeway the other day and spotted the buddah mobile. You are NOT lookin 50.

An old Tia Friend....

Wenderina said...

The key to aging happily is letting go of regret. At least that's what I think. And what I am still struggling to do as I come up on 44. The turkey neck is coming (and not for a happy thanksgiving). The eyes and mouth are turning down at the corners. The weight is shifting and settling. The bones and muscles are creaking. The wisdom? I think that just comes with starting to pick our battles and our words a little more carefully. But the real peace in aging will only come from establishing a sense of "OK...this is what life is...and I'm ok with it. Whatever decisions it took to get me here...they're ok too."

Hey - can you send this comment back to me on MY birthday? I'll be weeping and wailing in January.

Minnesota Matron said...

Dodge -- Any friend of Tia's is a friend of mine. And thank you!! I keep thinking I'm 30 : -)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

That was some wise advice--and you were wise to heed it. Happy birthday to you--a new decade! What will that look like? I am sure you'll pack it full of fabulous accomplishments.

Daisy said...

Yet another item we almost have in common; I'll be setting up a birthday cake next to the pumpkin pie tomorrow! But I'm *ahem* a couple of years older.

Eileen said...

Happy belated birthday, Matron. And if you will put up with a bit of wisdom from someone who is assured that she will not survive her cancer, and who has passed the 50 mark by one year, I'd tell you to enjoy each year as a new adventure, regardless of the number of years rolling out behind you. You can't know what the future will bring, but you can keep a sharp lookout for opportunities to enjoy Right Now - if you look, you will find them everywhere.

(as for the auto immune disorder, I highly recommend Low Dose Naltrexone and high doses of vitamin D3 - gelcap or liquid only. miraculous!)