This isn’t going to be really about aging at all. In fact, recently, I have to spend some time thinking when asked my age. Honestly, I can’t remember if I’m 32 or 33 unless I do the math. That’s not because I’m afraid of being older. I didn’t panic when I turned 30. I’m not worried about my next birthday when I’ll be 34. (I did the math.)
I spent so much of my life looking so young. When I was a new teacher, parents would ask me if I was old enough to be teaching their children. When I showed up to take my staff photo on school picture day, the PTA moms helping out with the photos asked me who my homeroom teacher was. It was annoying, because here I was with my brand new teaching credential and masters degree. I was highly educated! I was fully qualified to be doing the job in front me, and yet people assumed that I was sixteen, and frequently treated me as such.
So, now I think I look my age. My face has moved on from that little girl face, and I’m fine with that. I really am. I wouldn’t mind if the breakouts would move along also, if we’re making requests. But that’s not what I intended to write about at all.
No, I’m talking about the things that we realize as we get older. The really important things that grown-ups deal with. For example: refrigerator shelves. Until about three years ago, I had never cleaned a refrigerator shelf. It just never occurred to me. Now I do it fairly regularly. Notice that I didn’t say weekly, or anything crazy, but when things are getting a bit out of control in there, I wipe down all of the shelves, and clean out the drawers. Grown-up!
What else? Oh! Well, this one is embarrassing, but wiping down the kitchen counter. This is now part of my (mostly) nightly routine. Our countertops are deceiving, because they look clean, but they don’t feel clean, and at certain angles you can see every single thing left behind by sticky fingers and drippy dishes. Now that I’ve made a resolution to clear the dishes from the sink every night, it’s just the logical next stop to wipe the counters down. The fun never stops around here!
I guess what I’m confessing is that it took me many, many years to stop being a slob. Apologies to my college roommates! I feel actual joy when I come downstairs in the morning to a clean kitchen, living room and playroom. I know that’s all going to fall apart within minutes, but the moment of walking downstairs to find everything in its place is bliss. What is it about these moments that makes me feel like an adult? More than the ability to choose whatever I want at the grocery store. More than taking my children to SCHOOL, and attending parent-teaching conferences, for Pete’s sake. More than paying all of the bills, even. When I clean the refrigerator, I feel like I’ve finally grown up.