I’m Not 16 Anymore, And That’s Finally OK

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“I Can’t Do that Anymore.

My boys wanted me to build a fort in their room the other night.

So I gathered chairs and bean bags and couch cushions and sheets and everything else I could find, and I constructed the most awesomely fabulous fort of all time.

It was legit. Like, 2 legit to quit.

They were happy with my work.

I was happy with my work.

Until they asked me to spend the night with them. In their fort. On the floor.

Amongst the stuffed animals and Star Wars blankets and child-size sleeping bags.

I did it. I obliged. I smiled and pretended to have fun.

I slept in that teeny tiny space. But I paid for it the next morning. Boy, did I ever.

My eyes were puffy from lack of sleep.

My neck was sore from sleeping all wonkified and curled up in a weird position trying to fit my adult-sized body in the 3×1 foot space they left for me.

My back was sore from being kicked and punched 10,000 billion times by tiny hands and feet.

I can’t do that anymore.

And that brought up this entire list of things I miiiiiiiight not be able to do like I was when I was 16.

That brought up this whole giant group of accomplishments I probably can’t tackle now that I’m done with college.

I am not Taylor Swift. I am indeed not feeling 22.

I’m 34 and unless N*SYNC comes on the radio, I feel every part of my age.

I tried to do a round-off the other day and could barely move the next day: I can’t do that anymore.

Eating junk and still being skinny: I can’t do that anymore.

Staying out at a party past 11 pm: I can’t do that anymore.

Shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch: I can’t do that anymore.

Wearing bras without serious support: I can’t do that anymore.

Not worrying about bills, because my daddy takes care of that: I can’t do that anymore.

Wondering why I don’t have any plans on Saturday night: I can’t do that anymore.

Caring about what people think: I can’t do that anymore.

Being afraid to fail: I can’t do that anymore.

Letting my personal tank go empty: I can’t do that anymore.

Running around here and there and filling my time up with meaningless stuff: I can’t do that anymore.

Changing who I am just to fit in: I can’t do that anymore.

Putting everyone else’s happiness ahead of my own: I can’t do that anymore.

I’d give just about anything for my 16-year-old body again – perky boobs, muscular thighs, flat tummy – but you couldn’t get me back inside that high school building if you lured me there with chai tea lattes and Lululemon stretchy pants and gift cards to Nordstrom’s, all the things 30-somethings dream about.

I’ve learned way too much since those days. I’ve gained way too much experience. I’ve changed too much. I’ve worked way too hard to become somebody I am truly proud of.

I’ve given my all to being a good wife, a good mother, a good friend and I have FINALLY learned to let go of all of the things I can’t do anymore.

I have finally learned to let go of all the things I can’t be anymore.

No, you won’t see me doing the splits anytime soon. You won’t see me in a short little cheerleading skirt.

Those days have long passed.

But you won’t see me crying because I got left out either.

You won’t see me standing there in the cafeteria awkwardly hoping someone will want me to sit next to them.

I can’t do that anymore.

Now, I just sit down wherever I am and make a comfortable place for myself. And it feels so, so good.

Maybe getting older isn’t so bad after all.”

Mom takes selfie in home
Courtesy of Amy Weatherly

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Weatherly. The article originally appeared on Facebook. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best love stories.

Read more from Amy:

‘You’ve been burned. You’ve been talked bad about. You’ve been left out.’: Woman insists this is ‘your life,’ so ‘don’t wait’ for someone to include you

‘Nothing as grown-up as putting $1.67 on your Visa. I could feel Dave Ramsey’s disappointment wash over me.’: Woman realizes your ‘worth doesn’t change’ after embarrassing moment in drive-through

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