'I blinked and now I'm 30 years older'

As the famous quote by Allen Saunders goes, life's what happens when you're busy making other plans. Source: Getty

I have been trying to think of something pithy to write about, so I waited to get inspired and I came up with ‘experience and wisdom’.

 I have plenty of experience now at 61. Who thought I would ever say that about myself?  One day I was 29 years old, married to the man of my dreams, starting my family, starting a new job in a new country (USA). I had it all. A new house to start my life. A pool out the back and a four-bedroom house with a view of San Bernardino. The two children, both boys. A couple of dogs and a cat. 

I was waiting for my future, full of possibilities as a mom, a wife and a teacher. I had  the freedom to work, work out and have my life with my kids. 

Suddenly, I blinked and here I am … 61,  divorced and living back in Sydney in Australia. I have a one-bedroom granny flat with a little yard and two little dogs and a cat. When the weather is windy and loud I can hear the waves breaking on the headlands. I can stay home and derive happiness knowing that my sons are happy and well-adjusted after the divorce. I find joy in the ocean, the beach and life itself.

But now I ask the big question. Where did my youth go? What happened to the past 30 years? 

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I was young, fresh, full of hope and excitement and loving life. I could wear a bikini and not care who looked at me! I could wear high heels and short dresses and my legs were supple, strong and pain-free. I wore contact lens to show off my eyes, and Mac makeup, and shopped at Nordstrom and Macy’s. I could eat what I wanted to without getting fat and exercised three days a week.
 
Now, the middle-age spread has well and truly arrived (I kept it at bay for about 15 years with yoga and exercise). When I look at pictures of myself,  I see my mother.  I have to wear a one-piece bathing suit because I can’t fit into a bikini. I have to wear flat shoes now after my meniscal tear and plantar fasciitis. I see wrinkles that I can fix with Botox and dermal fillers. I believe in growing old gracefully and if I have to utilise the doctors I work for I will.

I colour my hair, so now I am about four shades lighter  and it’s working for me. I’m a ‘bronde’, as JLo says in her ad. I have experience and wisdom and stories and I like myself.  I can still teach yoga and massage, and I am the best customer service person in Sydney. I can speak  French and Spanish with ease. I am perfectly fearless speaking in public and can and will talk to anyone who doesn’t think I’m crazy.

I don’t take crap from anyone, especially the grumpy old s***s who live around here and who like to bully women. I can take care of me and don’t need a man to help me. Life is peaceful and serene and good.

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