Thank you, Christina Boyd (reviewer, editor, social media specialist, publicist), for your honest thoughts below on aging. I see a lot of my own thoughts and fears in this post.
AGE IS JUST A NUMBER by Christina Boyd
- Four away from 50. Four away from half a century. If I dwell on the number, I might hyperventilate. Or at least get that tight, squeezy feeling I have been starting to experience these last few years when in confined spaces.
I used to think that age was but a number. And that really, if I was satisfied with my life, happy with who I was with, what I was doing, where I was… then getting older was no big deal. That was when I was 25. Newly married to a dashing naval officer and had recently re-invented myself from a chipper, efficient flight attendant, and before that, a glory seeking pageant winner/wannabe model/college co-ed. But before I had re-invented myself many more times. Small business woman. Mother. Artist. Campaigner. Book reviewer. Book editor. And book publicity manager. Regardless, I know for a fact that 25 year old Christina would have thought a 46 year old was old. Definitely old. Not ancient, but certainly middle age.
So back to 46. And being 4 years from the big 5-0. It scares the hell out of me! There. I said it. Mostly because I recognize the new lines on my face and increasing number of greying hairs as surely proof of my own mortality. And damn, if each new birthday doesn’t mean Death is sneaking closer. Scary thought indeed. Thankfully my favorite aesthetician reminded me at my last birthday that I should wear my age like a badge and that each line or grey hair is really an indication of the growth and achievement, regardless of breadth. (Bless her heart. Obviously she is also very good at an hour’s worth of rejuvenating my soul as she expertly sands those lines off my face.)
Not long ago, I started reading the obituaries while having my morning cuppa and have found I am morbidly fascinated about these strangers’ lives, regardless of how big or small a mark they left. (Another sign of aging when I started reading the obits?) I was struck with how one of the dearly departed was described as having “completed his 80th trip around the sun.” What an exciting sentiment! Each year, an adventure around the sun. I have become so enchanted with that idea that now when I wish someone happy birthday, I prefer to congratulate on successfully completing another trip around the sun.
I wish I was always as confident about growing old gracefully as I endeavor to appear. Alas, there seems to be so much left on my Bucket List, and while checking things off of my Daily Task Lists and often feeling subjected to the schedule alerts on my iPhone, I wonder if I am making progress towards any of those Bucket List items. With grim thoughts like that, it doesn’t take much to start identifying with the Fanny Price character in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, “Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.” Mostly that’s just on dreary, blustery days as the days grow shorter and darker. So I do what I tell my kids, go outside. Take a run. Get some fresh air. And as I breathe deeply, despite a near constant cover of clouds and rain this time of year, I start to relax here in the lush, verdant Pacific Northwest. Take another cathartic breath. And it doesn’t take long before I am reminded of all the blessings that indeed fill me up. Soon all those niggling thoughts about schedule alerts start to come into perspective. Usually by the time I am finished my run (or walk), I am feeling more patient, more generous and more energized. Not old at all.
As fifty looms near, I confess I may not be comfortable with the idea of aging (though I am strongly against the alternative), I am hopeful by the prospect of another adventure around the sun. And with any luck, 46 more trips. Like my new daily regime of reading the obituaries, I must remember to stop, take a breath and count my daily blessings. Because when I am 92, wouldn’t it be a shame to reflect how my younger self worried about all the wrong things?
Christina Boyd wears many hats as she reviews for Austenprose.com, is an editor at Meryton Press, is a social media specialist and publicist at a hybrid publisher, Booktrope, and is a ceramicist for the Made in Washington stores under her own banner Stir Crazy Mama’s Artworks. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest (not 5 miles from the Canadian border) with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers and a retriever named BiBi. After reading The Six major Jane Austen works, her thirst for more could not be slaked, despite discovering on-line fan fiction, purchasing all the movie adaptations, attending Jane Austen Society of North America Annual General Meetings and becoming a life member of JASNA. Visiting Jane Austen’s England remains on her bucket list. Connect with Christina on twitter: @xtnaboyd
How Do You Know (December 2nd)
What if you were approaching the end of your thirties and all of the life milestones you took for granted in your youth suddenly seemed out of reach?
On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding toward her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up,” Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0. In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometimes painfully, that life doesn’t always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number.