What It Is Wednesday: I Wish I Were Younger
For the first time in my life, I wish I were younger. Probably not for reasons you might think. I’ve always fired back at newly-forty-somethings who insist they’re old and promptly pigeon-hole themselves into an older mindset that seems to age them prematurely. I’ve never felt my physical age, and I’ve certainly never had the conservative mindset that many of my high school friends adopted by the matronly age of 24.
Honestly, most of the time, I feel like I’m about 28 but with a hell of a lot more confidence than I had then and even more impatience with bullshit.
But for the past few weeks, I’ve wished I were younger.
It’s not because certain brands of spike heels hurt my knees after a decade-old-or-longer fencing injury or that there are certain yoga positions I can’t hold well even when I’m in practice. Though it would be nice to have my pre-injury body back. Or flexible enough to wrap my ankles around a man’s neck.
It’s not because I’m no longer invited, at 100 pounds soaking wet, to walk on some hunky football player’s back because the crunching under my bare feet feels good to him. I doubt I’ll ever be 100 pounds again and don’t want to be, considering how undernourished I was and how much I hated my body back then, but I do sometimes miss those days when1.5 hours of cardio and weights a week TOTAL was enough to keep me ripped when 1.5 hours a day now produces no obvious results.
It’s not because men in my dating pool prefer women 20 to 25 years younger than I am, because it “keeps me young” or so they can start a new family after screwing up with their first one, something that’s not really available to most women their age. Sure, men in their 20’s are nice to look at and I still drool over a well-defined groin dip and I still have more mojo than I know what to do with, but those young pups are at a different place in life and I’m really not interested in raising another family. I’m in a creative, productive, philanthropic, legacy-making era, with daughters with goals more akin to theirs. At the same time, though, I’m not interested in men in their 60’s or 70’s. They’re at a different place, too. Or maybe I’m just waiting for Goldi-Locks who’s “just right.”
And yet, for the first time, while I don’t feel old, I do wish I were younger. Say, 10 years younger. That would be enough. Twenty years would, in our culture, be too engrossed in the physical and I’d be distracted with the expectations that come with being a young woman in a more-than-I-want-to-admit sexist society because it didn’t really get better and more enlightened like we thought our world would. But don’t misunderstand: I don’t want to go back to WHEN I was younger, feebler, more submissive, less likely to stand up for myself: I’d simply like more time.
Maybe this is the neon-flashing lighted sign of middle age–suddenly wanting more time.
I have time, probably another two decades of wild creativity and productivity, and the upcoming leisure and hard-earned savings to enjoy it. I’m in good health and take care of myself, with the exception of never getting enough sleep. I’m smart and ambitious and determined and loving and, for lack of a better explanation, I have my shit together.
And that’s why I sudden wish I were younger.
Because I know who I am and I’m completely comfortable with that, whether others like it or not. I can take off the mask and let others see exactly who I am and not tremble in it. I can go deep into profundity, wallow in it, roll out smelling of it, and making that connection to others who don’t wallow there often, who can’t, and share that depth. I’m completely grounded in who I am and in my purpose in life.
And when I was younger, I wasn’t. I was so different from everyone else and felt like such an outcast in almost every situation, that I always questioned myself, my value, my abilities, their worth. That’s all changed over the last three years…three years this night. So I don’t want this to be my starting point. I want an extra 10 years of life to feel this way. I want back time I threw away on not believing in myself.
For all the time statistically ahead of me, I still want that lost time back. Some of it. I’d settle for 10 years.
Key Takeaway: Sometimes, we wish we were younger because we want more time.