20 March 2012
Dear 22 Year Old Woman of the Modern World,
Yesterday, I turned 44. And it is frickin' awesome. I hate the word frickin'. It is so frickin' trashy. But someone recently asked me to ease up on the swearing (and I was like dude that WAS easing up on the swearing).
44, coined Double Quatro by my friend Colleen, is a lifetime away from you, 22 -year-old woman. And you think 44 is.........well, you don't think about it at all because it has nothing to do with you or anything else that is seemingly important or exciting. But if someone asked you to think about it, you would be polite and you would not say "old" but you may intimate "irrelevant" or "out of touch" or "interested in quiet things" and the whole time your subconscious would be saying "I will never be 44. I don't want to be 44."
But I am telling you, 22-year-old woman, that right now you are only half you. There's a whole half of you that is yet to be revealed and there's only one way you can get at it.
You have to age.
When you are 22, you are all about "who will I be?" And "how will I get there?" But when you are Double Quatro, it's all about "Here I am! Don't ya love it?" I become more and more myself with each passing year, shedding question after question, culminating in a quasi-superwoman with intuitive powers and a first class ticket to contentment. I know what makes me happy. I know why my son misbehaves. I know why my husband yells at me on my birthday. When something hurts, I don't push through the pain, reaching for the goal - I stop and ask why it hurts. And then I fix it.
I fix it with my intuitive superpowers, my years of experience and my authenticity.
The other day, a man approached me in the Fed Ex parking lot.........he ran out of the store and motioned for me to roll down my car window. I thought I must have forgotten something and he must be running to return it to me. Then he held his card out to me and said,
"Hi......I saw you in the store and I thought you seemed like an interesting person. Here's my card if you'd like to stop by my shop sometime."
A landscape architect and a sculptor. I think he's trying to sell me some art. He says "I'd like to, you know, get to know you...........and.......I swear.......I've never done this before." And still, because I'm exceedingly modest, it takes me a little too long before I finally say to myself, "Omigod. Is he trying to get wit' me? I guess clean hair really does make a difference."
I'm a woman nearing her mid-forties with mom-body and bi-weekly clean hair (only if my head is itchy) and someone who is not legally bound to me wants to get wit' me.
In that moment, sitting in my car, I figure out that he must have seen something. Something else. Something real and interesting and content that registers as attractiveness. And it makes me swell with pride. It makes me want to call my 22 year old self and say "Guess what? There's more! Apparently, your looks only count for a portion of your attractiveness! No, I'm serious! You'll find out when you're 44!"
Oh 22-year-old-woman, being "pretty" doesn't cut it anymore. Now, being bold is the most important thing. Being authentic is the most important thing. Making an authentic statement about who you are is the most important thing. Not that I do that successfully 100% of the time; a greasy pony tail, uggs and baggy yoga pants are not an authentic statement of who I am. Except that I am authentically lazy. But it gets easier and easier to figure out what to say and how to say it so that the puzzle pieces all fit together.
And not that my authentic self didn't exist when I was 22........she was there. It's just that no one is completely confident at age 22 that what you are is the best thing to be. Is there something better that I should try to be? Should I pretend that I like experimental jazz better than Barry Manilow? I've spent 20 years chipping away at the repressive shell of youth, building a better, happier person. And it feels awesome.
But don't get greedy, 22 year-old-woman. If you had all this at age 22, you would be a freak.
You'll have to wait, and age, just like the rest of us superheroes.