It’s not you, red wine. It’s me. It’s been some time coming and I tried to deny it but the evidence is clear. Even just a little glass, a half glass, and I experience regret in the morning. I’m sorry, red wine. I’ve enjoyed my time with you but now I must move on. Farewell, good friend.
It’s not you either, sleeveless dress. Fun sleeveless dress with the swingy skirt. I feel feminine and girly in you but alas, my upper arms belie my age. Maybe I can still get by with cap sleeves …
Black Converse All-Stars. Cute Converse All-Stars. The go-to shoe of my twenties. So sporty. So fun. So flat. So painful. These knees cannot take you anymore. And these knees are connected to everything else. These knees make the rules now.
Sitting “criss-cross applesauce” on the floor is a no-go. Really, sitting on the floor at all is ill-advised, as is sitting on a bleacher or a folding chair. Why does sitting get painful?
I’m mostly okay with being a couple whispers shy of 50. It seems that the world keeps ticking by and other people grow up but I’m still mostly the same. If I make it to Coco on a regular schedule I can pretend my hair isn’t getting grayer every year. I’m blessed with good skin, so wrinkles are thankfully not an issue. If I am strategic about what I wear I can ignore the extra 3.5 pounds that have taken up residence on my stomach. There’s some mild arthritis and it’s confirmed I will never be able to do a push-up but overall, my body still does what I ask it to do and my brain, while a little forgetful (what were we laughing about at lunch? It was only five hours ago.) keeps track of the myriad things orbiting my life.
With age comes wisdom. It is true. Conventional wisdom is that we get more of it as we age. Perhaps it is compensation for the ways our bodies start to slack off on the job. There is a settled-ness in thinking; a certain confidence that experience affords. The knowledge that things worked out previously gives assurance they will again. The thing that historically caused trepidation has been outed as innocent. Where I once would fret, I now am fret-free.
I used to rush through life. I don’t know what the hurry was. I organized my errands with the precision of a war tactician, precisely planning the route to minimize gas consumption and time usage correlated with expected busy-ness of the stores. Now, after living with babies who became toddlers who somehow morphed into teenagers, I have slowed down. My yelling “chop chop” is not going to speed them up. I would have to light them on fire to get them to move more quickly and since that is not good parenting, I have learned to be okay with being not early.
I used to be more concerned with personal presentation. I would select my outfit hoping that I looked like I just happened to end up this together and polished. I expended mental energy on earring and shoe selection. I briefly bought into the “it’s better to look good than to feel good” philosophy. Now, while I do admit to still trying to look nice (and probably still caring too much), I tend to grab whatever is on top of the pile, and if the shoes aren’t knee-friendly they don’t get worn.
I’ve begun to believe myself when I say that if someone is going to judge me it probably wouldn’t be a successful friendship.
I have learned that if I don’t listen to my voice mail for two weeks, 14 of the 15 messages will no longer be relevant and won’t merit a return call.
If I continue to feed my husband cilantro he will begin to like it.
My son will not die if he refuses to eat the dinner I prepared and goes to bed hungry.
Every summer my daughter is going to disagree with me about the length of her shorts.
If I do not clean the house for three weeks, it will still function successfully as a house …
… and if I do not close the bread garage door all the way, no one will, and the dog will eat the entire loaf.
These are little snips I have collected. I did not used to have them. I was early, never squandered gas or time, always had clean toilets, and felt bad when someone didn’t want to be my bestie. But now I have wisdom, and wisdom has allowed me to let go of things that do not matter. So I am okay with saying good-bye to red wine, sleeveless dresses and Converse shoes.
When I look at it from this vantage point, this place of knowing what is and is not worth being concerned about, I prefer the wisdom.
Even if it does come with sensible shoes and longer sleeves.
Copyright 2018 Merridith Frediani