i woke up today and forty was sitting on the foot of the bed. she smiled when i yawned and sat, expectantly, while i stretched my arms and rolled over. i felt like i should acknowledge her but i wasn't quite sure she was real.
see, i have moments where my age creeps up on me and i feel it attach itself around my neck like a fur collar that is supposed to be valuable but actually saddens me because it is the skin of a dead animal draped across my skin. moments where i think i missed out on so many opportunities and i am all of a sudden sliding down a muddy hill without shoes, hoping i land somewhere soft. it is in these moments i panic about the fact that i don't yet have a retirement fund, that my body is starting to fray around the edges, that i never really pursued acting, writing, grad school, teaching.
i also have moments where i feel unburdened by the ideas i have about age and what it is supposed to mean. i am cool with the fact that, most days, i am the adult in the situation. moments where i feel so far removed from my childhood that i feel free...where my past mistakes are gilded with age and don't rattle their cans behind me when i walk. moments where i am so grateful to get older each day, because going in reverse would be a fucking nightmare. (honestly, the ridiculous notions we tell ourselves when we are young. it's enough to kill you.) moments where i am unafraid of failure. because i have already failed. over and over again.
when i woke up today, i flung my legs over the side of the bed and sighed. i picked forty up off the bed and wrapped her around my neck and realized...she doesn't feel like fur at all. she's lighter, cooler.
she smells like baby skin and hearty laughter and her arms are long and short, all at once.
she's also a lot younger than she sounds.