My birthday is looming and yesterday morning I had a little pity party for passing youth. At first it felt like bereavement for my younger prettier and thinner self, then it turned into wistful wishing for a smarter or richer life. I wished I still had a mother to cry to, and then I thought about Oldself.
Oldself isn’t in the dictionary but I’m using it anyway. It’s just the younger version of our true selves but it’s not the truth. It’s the one we choose to remember. Not the one who suffered the agonies and anxieties and mistakes of growing up, but the one who was happy and colorful and carefree and glorious. Oldself had no bad days, except maybe the darkest ones but even those are edited. Oldself is pretty and young and is running in slow motion through a field of daisies, rushing in for a hug that will last a good long time. She doesn’t have acne, or arguments, she’s so happy she doesn’t even have a Christmas Wish List. Oldself is completely content.
My kids have bad days sometimes and I remember that it was a thing once, to have a bad day. I guess with age and experience in relativity, you realize that bad days are seldom if ever entirely bad, and that bad moments happen, and soon pass. When my kids are having those down days I’m sometimes at a loss to help them because I surely can’t fix everything. I can hug them and listen to them and hope the rest fades away. I can talk about how they’ll forget all this one day but they don’t understand. They can’t. They don’t have an oldself yet.
Today when I look in the mirror I don’t see a young pretty energetic girl. I see someone who is certain that wealth isn’t measured in dollars and happiness surely doesn’t come from a store. That’s where oldself and myself align, as I expect it will for my kids one day. But oh, for now in this in between time it’s true that for my young daughters, sometimes life will be a real bitch.
So I am saying thank you to Oldself for a birthday present called perspective. Try putting that on a wish list and you’ll see what I mean about aging, I hate getting older but I don’t mind being wiser.