Happy Freaking Birthday

"I'm not scared you'll leave me for a younger woman, You're a good guy and I know you'll do the right thing and you won't leave, but I'm scared you'll want to."

And that was how we ended our vacation. Those thoughts in my head had intruded, unwarranted into my head on our trip as I suffered back issues that made me feel about 157 years old. Unable to keep up with the others on our trip, I felt lame, slow and old. The waiter at the restaurant didn't even ask for my ID when I ordered my margarita. Jerk. And the scores of employees wishing me Happy Birthday, felt like they were rubbing it in. It was grad week at Disneyland and scores of highschool and college grads poured into the parks with their boundless energy and everlasting optimism about their futures. I remember that feeling. Now it just pisses me off.

There seems to come a time in a married woman's life when she crosses a threshold. Either knowingly or not, she crosses over in the eyes of the world from Miss to Ma'am. Then one day, she looks in the mirror to find creases on chest, by her eyes and on her forehead that don't go away 15 minutes after getting out of bed. She's lost a bit of glow. It's not dramatic, she doesn't look very aged, but it's the sudden realization that there are now scores of women who have that girlish charm, that lively glow, that smooth skin and that zest for life that she used to have. By now, she's had some kids. She's wiser, but she feels haggard and tired. She can barely remember what having a flat tummy without trying, feels like, and a little piece of her dies inside everytime the waiter hands her alcohol without asking for an ID. It's a subtle shift, like I said- it was nothing dramatic. But the moment that realization hit me, I panicked.

Now, Tim is a good guy. He's faithful, loving, kind, honest and hard-working. He's everything a man should be. He, as society allows, is getting better with age. I, on the other hand- as society demands, have now started buying products labeled "anti-aging" (because evidently you have to be proactive with this stuff). Screw you, society. The feminist and logical part of me knows that this is all bullshit. That I will continue to be beautiful to Tim until I'm dead. That he would never trade me in for a younger model. I know this. I do.

But the insecure anxious teenager inside me is convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that he will want to.

It's hard for me to reconcile those two inner voices. It feels like an unfair and uneven playing field. As we age, he's getting better, and I'm just getting...softer. The whole "growing old together" sounds so romantic until the "growing old" part actually starts to kick in.

So there I sat in the airport, silent tears streaming down my face, feeling indignant at the relentless march of time, grieving my youth, and resenting my current irrational state. "This is ridiculous" I think, "you're crying in public, and now Tim is frustrated because he doesn't know how to help you." I felt a twinge of guilt because he didn't do anything wrong, and yet here he was feeling like I was punishing him. It wasn't fair and I knew it. I felt like I was losing my grip on reality. I preach passionately to our kids that it's what's on the inside that matters. That kindness is better than cuteness. That women are not objects, nor do they have an expiry date. I know at this point that I'm trying to manifest a Utopia. That this world doesn't yet exist. So how do we, the movers and shakers who are trying to shift the paradigm, deal when we have one foot in what should be, and one foot in what is?

I wish I knew the answer to that. I wish it was as simple as just believing and being confident. The reality is that we are human, and often prone to feeling insecure and anxious.

I need to trust. Both highschool boyfriends I had before Tim, cheated on me. They got tired of me and found someone else that felt new and exciting. Sure, it was highschool and I shouldn't have taken those relationships so seriously, but the damage was done. The message was clear- if you don't keep their interest, they'll leave. This paints and grim and unfair picture of men. Sure, this applies to some guys, but not all, and certainly not Tim. I have to remind myself of what I know: that I am more than my outer beauty, that as I age- I gather wisdom, experience and grace, and that my husband loves me. Always, no matter what. I can't be willing to allow thoughts to the contrary in my head.

This was an incredibly hard post to write, I almost scrapped it as soon as I typed it up. But we always strive to be honest with you, and to live our life in a way that hopefully helps others in relationships know they aren't alone.

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