I completed a class in Museum Education last week, and this week I start guitar lessons. The former I undertook for professional reasons (any museum education department heads out there looking for a contract writer?); the latter is a Mother’s Day present and, not coincidentally, a thing I’ve kind of wanted to do for years. All of this class-taking has also served to remind me that I’ve been planning (also for years) to take a carpentry class once the kids achieved an advanced enough age that me adding a commitment to my days wouldn’t feel like torture, and that furthermore, I not long ago decided that after carpentry would come knitting. So. The kids having achieved that age, I appear to have some plans to make.
But also, and for the purposes of this post, there’s this: Apparently I’m now that middle-aged lady about whom people think “Wow, look at her – guitar! Carpentry! That’s so cool! She’s not stopping! Rock on!” Etc.
And I kind of hate that.
Because the truth is that I’m just carrying on being me. I didn’t change appreciably when I crossed the 40 year mark, but rather, in a very real way, became more me.
I’m more comfortable in my skin and with my little plans, more able to recognize which ideas I’ll follow through on and which aren’t happening. There’s nothing remarkable about me taking up guitar or tool box — in fact, knitting is the odd-one-out here. (In a former online life, I had a friend named jemimapuddleduck who said there was something wonderful about being able to take what amounted to a long piece of sting and make an article of clothing out of it. That sold me).
I’ve resisted being pigeon-holed my whole life, resisted having people tell me who I am, and what it means — I’ve even gone so far as to withhold information in order to avoid the conclusion-jumping of others. So me being annoyed by these expectations of middle-aged women is, in fact, further evidence of the fact that I’m just, you know: Carrying on.
And as long as I’m here: It’s my intention to someday be old, and it’s also really annoying when the elderly are described as “cute,” by virtue of their elderly-ness (you know: falling in love, discovering Twitter, standing up for one’s political rights — it’s so adorable! When your hair is gray), or, alternatively, presumed saintly for the same reason (else why would it be news that the perp in some dastardly act was a “grandmother of three”? Hmmmm?).
Here are the two things that are largely (though far from exclusively) universal about the aging process: The mechanism that is the human body slows down, and the data storage device that is the human brain gets fuller.
Everything else is just people being people.
And here’s another thing I’ve been my whole life: A curmudgeon. Only now people probably chalk it up to age.