There Is More To Life As We Age, Not Less

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“I don’t feel my age usually. I mean, my hip hurts when it’s humid and you can hear me coming because my knees make this crunching sound when I walk but really I don’t feel 49.

Mostly I think I feel about 32, pretty grown up, solidly in the middle of parenting and sort of hanging out at the age where it all started to come together for me, the age where I no longer had to care what anyone thought about my choices. Growing up felt good and right and I no longer felt like I was pretending at the whole thing.

Sometimes I feel 16, when George Michael’s Faith starts playing and I whip out my air guitar and dance with wild abandon remembering every word. I’m at a school dance in a circle with my friends living free. It helps that my hair is still just as big I think.

Other times I am 21, sitting with my girls like I am one of them, not their older and wiser mom but instead a friend sharing a glass of wine and talking over all the things the future could hold. My heart swept right up into their world and all the possibilities and angst and wonderings.

I can also be 19, when I catch sight of my husband from a distance and my heart flips over just like it did when I would walk by him at the Nighthost stand in our dorm and hand him my ID to check so I could get into the building. I swear on my life that was yesterday.

Every now and then 13 rears its head. I just suddenly feel like a middle schooler, mostly when I am meeting new people and feel outside the crowd. My palms sweat and I wonder if my outfit is right and what people will think of me and oh man my laugh is way too loud, then I have to remember I don’t need to care about any of that anymore and I channel 49 in a big, bad hurry because 13 is tender and hard.

When I hold someone’s new baby I am instantly 27, holding my firstborn and wondering how on Earth I was going to care for this actual human, yet knowing I would do anything to make her life amazing. I am filled with the magic that took over my heart the moment she was in my arms. And when I look at the sweet mama of this child I am her for just a moment and again it is all in front of me.

But today, today I felt 11, barreling down the waterslide over and over with my son and my nephew, getting my hair wet and water up my nose and laughing my head off. We jumped into the pool and laid on lawn chairs to dry off, the sun drying the chlorine on our skin and our hair and I didn’t even give a thought to the fact I hadn’t thought to bring a brush to comb out the tangles because today was about living and who cared about the rest?

11 is wonderful. I think we all need to channel our inner 11 a little more.

And this is why I love getting older, there is more life. More to remember and live again. We can choose only the best of our lives intentionally go back to and we can time travel back and forth through it all, revisiting these pieces of ourselves that still exist because we let them, we call them forward with a look or a song or the smell of chlorine at a pool.

Maybe this is actually what it is to be 49, feeling like life is a gift and knowing the whole of our lives is still here with us. We have lost nothing and we have gotten so much. Cheers to getting older my friends. How lucky are we?”

woman in swimsuit outside smiling
Courtesy of Amy Betters Midtvedt

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Hiding in the Closet with Coffee by Amy Betters-Midtvedt. The article originally appeared here. Follow Amy on Instagram here. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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