My mother stopped aging a few years back. She is now, eternally 29. I think that rocks. Because, literally, my mom stopped aging. It's not like she's some crazy yuppie with her heels stuck in her purse while she wears sneakers and a skirt suit to work, claiming eternal youth. She doesn't yell, "Getttoff my lawn..." or call people whippersnappers. She is who she is and she is 29.
I am 33. Sometimes it's hard being older than my mother. You may or may not know that my mother is my absolute heroine. She is the wind beneath my wings and other corny things. I strive to be just like her. Not because she's perfect, but because I even love and look up to her faults. Her faults are the kind of faults I want to have.
And, to some extent, every year I have the opportunity to just quit aging. To join my mother at eternal 29-ness. And every year I choose to keep going. This weekend, as we celebrated my brother and my birthday multiple times (because we are those people), I really got to thinking about why. Why it's important to me to keep aging. To not be 29 anymore. Even though in my soul, I believe I'm actually about 17.
First of all, I truly consider every year to be an accomplishment. Every year that I get through, that I survive and wake up a little wiser than last year is worthy of celebration. It's not that I'm so proud of myself for continuing to breathe for another year, it's that by the time August 3 rolls around, I feel like I deserve a little recognition. It seems like any more, every year is a hard year. I suppose some day I'll grow out of that, but in the meantime, I aim to spend that day breathing a sigh of relief that there's another year I don't have to re-live.
Secondly, there's something in me that needs to mark time. I often catch myself reciting like a litany, "I graduated high school at 17, college and marriage at 22, had and lost Ethan at 25, had Brynna at 26, Maren at 30..." I'm not sure why this is important to me, but I want to remember. When I had and left jobs. When my kids hit milestones. When I made changes. I don't want to forget these things. Deciding to remain 29 seems like giving up. From then on, everything would be when I was 29. I refuse to believe that there are no more events worth marking in my mental time line, so I need to keep counting.
Celebrating birthdays is important to me, because I think we all deserve a day set aside just for us. That's why I feel so sorry for those born on Christmas or their sister's birthday. We all need a very special day that is just ours. My mom still celebrates birthdays, though, she just doesn't age. I need the whole package.
Maybe I'll still change my mind. I think she was 32 when she decided to hold at 29. It's still possible. But for now, I'm content with growing a little older all the time.