Today I am 56.
(I know for sure because now I have a birth certificate.)
No major revelations have popped up overnight. I didn't wake up noticeably wiser than when I went to bed. But I do feel I've finally caught up with myself.
I was never really an ingenue, though in my twenties I dearly wanted to be one. But I've always viewed the world with a jaundiced eye, though my disease to please always prevented me from expressing it. And by the time I was in my twenties I'd been running a household, refereed too many extended family brouhahas, logged too many hours in hospital waiting rooms and endured too many deaths and near-deaths of loved ones. So, hard as I tried, I could never manage that dewy-eyed open visage of hope and wonder required of a fresh-faced ingenue. I wanted to be Gigi; I was more like Ma Joad.
It was rather inappropriate to my twenties. I did spend a year being a reckless 20-something (well, as reckless as I get...). I forget the specific age, but it was the year of "Jeanne's one bad girl moment." It didn't last. You can't hold down a full time job, carry a full course load at college, and run a household while sporting a hangover. Plus, I never had that puzzling youthful attitude that I was going to live forever.
Oh, I've had my wacky moments over the years. It's just that none comes to mind right now; but I could have sworn I was wacky at some point. Well, at least I went through a Big Earring Phase in my late thirties..
For the most part, though, I've always preferred quiet, restful activities to the loud and exciting. The only part of Las Vegas I enjoyed was driving through the canyons outside the city. I go to sporting events and read or knit. At theme parks, I hold everyone's glasses and pocket change.
Up until a few years ago, this preference always made me look standoffish at best, downright anti-social at worst. But I wasn't really anti-social; I was just tired.
The good news is that I've finally grown into my Ma Joad-ness. At 56 it's totally acceptable to schlep around in comfy clothes and silly hats and drop the "g"s in all your gerunds and inflections.
Like Ma Joads everywhere, I just "keep a' comin'; Can't wipe us out; can't lick us. We'll go on forever."
...like the Energizer Bunny...
...or that creepy bear from the movie AI.