In a few short days, I turn 39, on the brink of middle-age.
I’m not sure how this is possible. I mean, my birth certificate says 1970, but I don’t feel like I’ve aged since 1997. So, either I’m young at heart, or I’m immature.
I suppose, in the scheme of life, 39 is still young. But, my body keeps throwing out mixed signals.
I love taking hand held photos – close ups of me and my daughter or me and my son. Once in a while, I convince my husband to join me behind the macro lens. The end photos used to be cute and silly. Now, digital camera playbacks make me shutter. In the photo, I see a set of eyes surrounded by a roadmap of wrinkles. Squinting in macro shots is no longer an option.
Finding a pair of pants that fits well is a growing concern. Not because I’m an odd size, but because there’s an area around my waist that refuses to stay in line and will not be contained. Low waist jeans are too unwieldy. High waist jeans are too ’80’s. I wonder why we don’t just bring back the girdle. Oh, right, they did. It’s called Spanx.
At the beginning of summer, I bought a new, daring, swimsuit: halter top style. But, when I put it on, I questioned my sanity. The top bared too much cleavage for an “almost 40, mother of two.” I wore it only twice, and each time I got a familiar response from bystanders, familiar because I have done the same thing when confronted with a 60-something woman at the beach who crossed the line. Avert the eyes. Stare. Avert. Stare. Wow.
One of my favorite quotes from my dad is one he tossed out when flipping through vacation photos:
Who’s that old man in the picture?
I understand that level of denial now.
For me, my age shows up briefly in photos, in swimsuits, in the tug of my pants. But a letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles stung even more. Apparently, this year, I’m due for a new driver’s license, new photo required. The letter might as well have read, “you’re old, Ms. Craig. Quick trying to fake it.”