Today I turn 61. I never thought I be this old. I can remember thinking “Wow, at the turn of the century, I’ll be almost 50!” It seemed so far in the future. Now I’m looking at it in the rearview mirror.
I don’t mind getting older. I think that’s because I still feel like an imposter in adulthood. Like someone will find me out and say “She doesn’t belong here. She’s not a grown-up.” There is still so much of the little girl with the Davey Crockett tee shirt and the Mickey Mouse Club ears.
I like that little girl. Well most of her anyway.
There are still bits of the Mary Ann who was petrified of not being the best, who couldn’t bear to fail at anything, who wouldn’t take a chance at something she might not be perfect at. But I’ve gotten better. Mistakes shake me but I get over them faster. And although I’m shy and quiet about trying something new, at least I’ll give it a shot even if I wind up stinking at it. In the past, I was doing it for others; my Mother, my family, my teachers. Now I do it for me. And I like me, even when I’m not perfect.
Then there is little Mary Ann who was always afraid people wouldn’t like her; she wouldn’t be one of the cool kids. I never felt I fit in with any group. Well, I don’t and that’s not a bad thing. Actually, I fit in everywhere and nowhere, if that makes sense. I love people, all kinds of people. I get along with almost everyone I meet. I can have conversations with complete strangers; join a group of friends I haven’t seen in a long time and it’s like no time has passed. I can move fluidly from group to group but I can also feel OK just being by myself. I still get a bit aprehensive when I know I am going to be with new people or people I haven’t seen in some time. But that passes quickly. I know that if I am open and receptive to people, they will shine right back at me.
But the best parts of that little girl are still with me too; the part that still sees the wonder around her; that lights up whenever she’s near an animal, any animal; that makes up silly songs and crazy dances; that laughs and believes in magic; that knows there is good in the world.
Yes, I’m getting older. But I don’t consider it aging; it’s growing, changing, keeping the best and discarding what holds me back.
And every day, becomming just a little bit more.