Cake, and Eatin’ it Too

I’m 48 years old. And, I’m totally okay with that.

There was a different plan for this week. For whatever reason, it’s going to wait. And, honestly, I‘m not even sure what I’m writing about this week.

A few days ago it was my birthday—no big deal. I’m okay with getting older. That’s not where this is going—I hope. It’s just that, as I’ve gotten older, I have begun to notice that most of the sayings about age are true. My favorite one is: Youth is wasted on the young. What? That’s just stupid, ‘till you think about it. I work with youth. They don’t know so much stuff. But, they think they do. They aren’t stupid, they are ignorant. Which is why they’re in school! I know.

Still, I find humor every day when a student challenges me on something that they only think they know, but they don’t. And, not only do they not know they don’t know, but what they think they know is so far off from the truth it’s terrifying. Students say stuff to me in a way that they must believe they are either an authority on the subject, or they invented the notion themselves. Then, I spend a minute or two correcting them, and when they realize that I am right, they usually say, “You’re right.” To which I follow up with, “I know. That’s why I said it.” and walk away.

Imagine being a youth again, but, with all the knowledge you have now and the life experience to back it up! I would be unstoppable! Oh, the things I would do—and possibly get in trouble for. No. No, I wouldn’t, because I got away with most of it then, and I’m wa-ay smarter now.

This sounds super arrogant, I know. That is not what I’m trying for. It’s just that I’ve been really reflective lately. Looking back on the things I have done and believed I understood. I understood so very little for knowing so very much. It almost doesn’t seem fair. Still, in a way it makes sense. Think of it, would you have done half of the crazy things you did when you were a child if you had a full and complete understanding of the ramifications and consequences that you do now that you’re an adult and have already done them? It’s a long question. Maybe go back and reread it. It’s okay. I need to too. Answer: Probably not, if not most definitely not. That ignorance allows growth and development.

I would still join the Marine Corps even if I knew then how it would impact me now. No question. However, I would change the way I went about some of the things I did. I would take certain chances I had avoided. Avoid some risks I took then. But, those things only happened because I was young and ignorant. If I changed things, who would I be now? Would I be me, or someone like me?

Supposedly the best eyesight is 20/20. Thus the ‘hindsight is always 20/20’ nonsense. 20/10 is better visual acuity, so why isn’t hindsight 20/10? Because it’s still not perfect. That’s why. 20/20 is normal. That means that if you look back on something with 20/20 hindsight you still only see it normally. Not better. This might suggest that we go through life looking at ourselves and our actions with 20/30 or even 20/40 mindsight (I know what I wrote). That would suggest that we even mess up our reflective thoughts of ourselves. We can’t even view our own life with clarity. How are we supposed to improve?

With time.

Here I am on my 5th birthday. I wanted to go to the firehouse to see the fire trucks.

From left to right: Fireman, boy-kid, girl-kid, me (with super cool Stop & Go policeman mittens—that’s a fun story), Brian Sauther, (in front) girl-kid, (behind that one) my oldest sister, my youngest sister (still older than me), another boy-kid, and another fireman.

I don’t remember most of those kids. And, when you have a birthday right around Valentine’s day, you have a tendency to get red with heart-themed stuff. The red was always fine. I have always liked red. It’s my favorite color. My studio, the very room I am typing this in, right now, is red. Crimson red—my favorite red. All four walls and the ceiling. But, when you’re in the ‘80s and trying to not get beat up, suspenders with hearts all over them is not the way to avoid it (I got those for my twelfth birthday. TWELVE! maybe I was being punished…?).

As my adult self, I still wouldn’t wear them, but I also wouldn’t care if I did. Different mindset and attitude about what other people think of me. I’m okay with myself now. I know I’ve erred on multiple occasions, but I’m okay with that because those mistakes have put me here. I am what I am because of all that I have done. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that I am happy about the heartache and pain I may have caused others. What I am saying is that I am finding peace with God about who I have become because of the good, bad, and mediocrity that has been me—and my choices—over the years. I have gained perspective on things. Life, people, relationships, and all kinds of stuff because of time. Time has also allowed me to help so many (mainly because of my current jobs at the middle school and university).

I know all sorts of weird things because of exposure to time. I had a coworker once say to me, “You seem to know all sorts of weird things. Do you know anything about…?” And I did. And, I wasn’t insulted by the opener or question. Actually, truth be told, I was quite flattered.

While I have not always loved every second of getting older, and do miss the blissful sleep of the ignorant youth that I used to be. I’m good with who I am. I like me—for the most part, I’m still growing. I think that there is not enough celebration of the older like there used to be. So much stress on looking younger, or feeling younger. NO! I have earned every wrinkle, grey hair, thinning hair (which, admittedly, I am not a fan of—I know what I wrote), scar, bad joint (the body part, not the popular one—I’ve never done those and never will), emotional trauma, and so much more. These are the trophies that say: I’m still here. You didn’t take me down. Nice try, sucker.

I think I’m rambling…

I’m 48 years old. And, I’m totally okay with that.

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