2018-12-05 / Editorial

REMEMBER WHEN

Diana Royal

Back when country music was actually worth listening to, Alan Jackson had a song called “Remember When.” In it, he recounts his life, back to when he first fell in love, got married, had children, etc. etc. There's a line in the song that says, “Remember when thirty seemed so old? Now looking back, it was just a stepping stone.”

As I write this column, it is the eve of my birthday, and by the time any of you read this, I will be the ripe old age of 37. I know that's not really all that old, but it seems ancient. That song I was just talking about? It came out in 2003. Just three years after I graduated from high school. Yes Alan, I remember when 30 seemed so old. I should still be 18. No, wait. My daughter will be 18 next year. How is that possible? Am I going to have a midlife crisis? Am I already having one?

Not too terribly long ago, I found myself constantly questioning everything around me: friends, my career, education. Were the people in my life the types I needed in my circle? Were they lifting me up or tearing me down? Should I go back to school? Will I ever get published again? Do I need to go into the medical field?

Add to that questioning my role as a mother and answering the always present, “When are you going to settle down and get married?”

I’ve stopped doing that in the past year. I’ve stopped doing a lot of things – most importantly the self-depreciation. As hard as it may be, I’ve started saying no when I need to or just want to. I’ve tossed out the toxic people. I’ve stopped eating (for the most part) sugar.

And none of that damaged me. If anything, I am better than where I was and who I was.

I’m seeing aging as a completely different process now, even though I’ve begun suffering from memory loss and watching Wheel of Fortune religiously. (At least it’s not The Price is Right, right?)

I don’t feel inadequate or like I’m missing part of something because I don’t have a “life partner.” Those holes were fulfilled when I reaccepted Christ into my life and realized I will never be complete and that’s okay. We are molds; we are meant to bend and stretch and change over time.

I find humor and beauty in getting older. Walking through Target with my mama on Sunday, I’m not sure how many KitchenAid appliances I ooh’ed and aah’ed over. Nowadays, I’ll take a waffle iron or cheese grater over a new pair of shoes. I am also mesmerized by antique doorknobs and lampshades.

If I’m entering the midlife crisis stage, I’ve got my arms wide open to what’s next. This has been the greatest birthday eve ever. I’ve sat with my parents and watched music videos ranging from BTS to Queen and Michael Jackson. Just before loading up the dishwasher (exciting, right?) I moonwalked around the kitchen with my daughter, both of us in socks and clueless. But we laughed. We loved. To paraphrase Mr. Jackson’s lovely song: I won’t be sad. I’ll be glad. For all the life I’ve had. And I’ll remember when.

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