Age is a strange thing. As I've mentioned, this past Saturday was my 38th birthday. It just so happens that one of the filing clerks at our firm turned 18 the day after I turned 38. It's weird to think that I am 20 years (and one day) older than her! And it got me thinking about what *I* was like when I turned 18.
You hear people say that they feel the same as they did 20 years ago. I can't say that. In fact, in most ways, I feel better. When I was 18, I was still getting to know myself. I may have seemed fairly confident to people who knew me then, but although I had high self-esteem, I didn't always have a lot of confidence. Fear held me back from doing a lot of things that I'd do today almost without hesitation, and I spent a lot of time dwelling on things that were outside my control. I also had a penchant for picking horrible men with whom to get involved in those days. Money was a constant issue and worry for me at that age, too. I was a college student with a low-paying, part-time job and next to no parental support.
It's obvious that I'm better off financially now than I was then. (Or actually, at any other time in my life.) From a mental health perspective, I believe I am also much better off today than I was when I turned 18. Sure, I had good things in my life then and would have considered myself a generally happy person. Now I am just so much more comfortable in my own skin, so to speak. I am aware of my faults and my strengths. I accept who I am and do what I can to maximize my strengths and work on my flaws.
One constant? I struggled with my weight then, too. Though I probably weighed between 165 and 170, I thought I was a huge cow. Ah, what I wouldn't give to be that weight today! ;-)
Though I think I am generally better off at 38 than I was at 18, I acknowledge that I definitely notice differences in myself that are not so positive. Gray hairs. Lines on my face. Blotchy skin where it used to be smooth and clear. (Believe it or not, I never wore foundation at 18: I didn't need it.) My knees ache now when I exercise (though that's probably due to weight gain as much as it is to aging). It's harder to lose weight. I can't stay up as late as I could then. I can't drink like I could then. I get heartburn now if I eat certain foods.
All in all, I will say this honestly: But for the effect that my age has on my fertility, I would much rather be 38 than be 18 again.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Posted by S at 2:40 PM