You know how sometimes you just know things—know them-know them? Things that aren’t accompanied with any sense or reason, but are truer than verifiable fact? Yes. So, the thing I know in my gut, brain and all my extremities is that I am meant to be old. Sure, my present life is quite wonderful and I’m generally smitten to bits with it, but I’m not in my prime. Not even close. And my glory days seem far away, but they’re coming.
According to the Internet calculator I just consulted because I can’t be trusted with mathematics, I’ve bounced through exactly 12,399 days on planet earth feeling like a foreigner in whatever age I’ve happened upon. The shape loose and baggy, sloppy even, like an XXL Hanes tee on a four-year-old. Sure, it’s functional, it’s something I can sleep in at night, but it doesn’t fit. I don’t fit. Not yet anyway.
In a culture where youth is the big, shiny everything, I find myself all-out envious of the kind of confidence and ease of a self that’s been sat with for a while, a self that has seen some things with you, one well-known and broken in. I’d like some more of that “eh, it’s just not worth worrying about” common sense that gets heaped on, decade by decade. Or the ability to instinctively know precisely how to keep all of life’s big priorities so perfectly prioritized. I ache a bit for that expert-level me, the me that can be paid for only with time.
Thanks to an unshakable nervous energy, many a nail has been picked to the point of disrepair as I fidget and wonder if I’m being a good wife, a writer worth reading, a friend worth keeping, a mother worth her weight in the privilege of the word. Objectively, I think I’m decent—good even, most times. But better is what I’m after and maybe this is the lure, the thing about growing old that gives me a nice tingly feeling, because it puts time and lessons, intuitive or hard-learned, on my side. A promise to make everything I love, everything I hope to be, clearer, sweeter, truer.
So, here I go. Will I look at 23-year-old Instagram models and consider asking my doctor if Botox is right for me along the way? Absolutely, of course, totally, yes. But chicken-scratched somewhere in an elementary school conference report under “What You Want to Be” reads not one, but two answers from yours truly: “rodeo queen” and “cool old lady.” If I’m lucky enough, at least one of those things will make a debut in those upcoming glory days of mine.
April (Swinson) Smasal spent her formative years in Wyoming, where her career options were limited to rodeo queen or writer. Foregoing the lure of an impressive belt buckle collection, she opted for the word thing. Now, she’s a copywriter and writer-writer living in St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband, Nick, baby boy, Hank Danger and very cute-slash-spoiled French Bulldog, Arnold E. Biscuits.
BY April (Swinson) Smasal - March 16, 2019
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Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.
What a beautifully written piece. This is probably one of the best posts that I’ve read in a while <3
Thank you for the sweet words and for reading, Lauren!