Grand questions for this year include: will I ever stop feeling completely incompetent with selfies? Will my regrettable haircut* grow out successfully? Will this be the year I appreciate not being a world-acclaimed artist, since it significantly lowers my chances of joining the infamous 27 Club? What will my next year of teaching look like? Will Radiohead ever tour in my area? Am I going to be a good mother!?
Because oh yes, I'm about six months pregnant.
Can you blame that deer-in-the-headlights look I'm rocking?**
To reward those who visit the blog, have a bump picture. Facebook doesn't get this. In fact, it only exists thanks to the persistence of one Diane Robinson, whose requests/pestering finally wore me down.
|Look upon my works and despair.|
As has become custom, I have to say: this birthday felt pretty anti-climatic. My big present had happened the week before. I had to give a talk in church. And my over-whelming reaction to the actual age milestone was, "huh, didn't that pass by about five years ago?"
In fact, the most exciting part of my birthday was finding my first gray hair the day before.
I desperately hope this is the start of something, and not some random pregnancy-hormone-fueled fluke. I actively yearn for the signs of visible aging. I smile and laugh and grimace and crinkle my eyes in the sun deliberately, praying for crow's feet and laugh lines. I envy my mother's hair, generously salted with streaks of white. The wrinkles and whitening serve as benchmarks of a life well lived, trophies of survival I ache to flaunt. When my soul feels so wizened, shouldn't my exterior match?
I don't want vaulted "maturity," the posturing of knowing more than others and smugly throwing that knowledge around based on nothing more than years-by-the-number. I don't want to pretend to be in world-weary middle-age, the world-weariness a facade masking insecurity and true fear of the aging process, fear that life has slipped by unnoticed. That's not what the gray-haired are about. A gray-hair soul cannot be a douchey soul. Gray-hairs aren't cynical. Gray-hairs aren't full of regret. Gray-hairs don't chase after that which can never be.
Gray hairs come with acceptance and experience. Gray-hairs have sipped the wine of life, the sweet and the bitter, giving each sensation full acknowledgement and denying nothing. Gray-hairs don't give a damn what anyone else thinks, because they've worked and sweated and cried enough to reach a place of rare self-contentment. That being said, gray-hairs know the value of each person, each individual path, and they graciously choose to accept others with a full and welcoming heart. Gray-hairs exude warmth and humor and deep satisfaction. They've seen everything and know that, in the immortal words of Freddie Mercury, nothing really matters. Or to be more accurate, they know that very few things actually matter, so nourish those few things and leave the rest to worry about itself.
In aging, I hope to accept a gray-haired fate long before time forces my hair that way. I hope to embody a happy, optimistic age. I hope to pass the wisdom of the gray to my daughter, to quell doubts and uncertainty in favor of love. And if this year brings more gray? It's free to stay awhile.
*This current ode to David Lynch is the fixed version of truly, the worst haircut I have ever received. I've never seen a hairdresser so afraid of hair. It was an hour in the chair with his hand legitimately shaking as he trepidatiously picked up a lock, cut it haphazardly, observed my head for a few seconds, chose another lock at random, checked the mirror for validation from my glowering face, looked away as he made another cut, then looked back at the mirror for the whole process to begin anew
**To be fair, that's due more to selfie annoyance than any existential fear and gloom. Those emotions were reserved for the first five months. I'm mostly over it now, and on to nervous excitement.