After I dropped the kids off at school this morning, I drove to the library to return some books.
Next to the library there is a long path which runs for miles to the north and south, mostly used by runners and bikers and one loose dog who once darted up the riverbank, through the trees and sent a biker flying over her handlebars onto the asphalt. I don’t know who that dog belonged to, but I have seen her sleeping in my daughter’s bed.
Because it was so early when I returned the books, the path was mostly empty, save for a lone, young mother with a jogging stroller. My initial reaction was that she didn’t seem much different than I used to be; which, after some thought, wasn’t really true at all.
Of course, I don’t know the woman so it’s quite possible that we are a lot alike…though, when I say that, I mean her young-self and my middle-aged self, because I could tell by looking at her that she had her act together far more than I did at her age.
First of all, it was 8:00 AM. And, she was jogging. With a baby.
Second, she was color-coordinated and wearing nice workout gear.
Third, see the first thing again.
I was SO not that mother. As a matter of fact, I can recall feeling very disheveled inside and out. I can remember not wanting to leave my house because of the way I looked and I canceled plans all the time. I was overweight, my hair was completely unstyled and my clothes were outdated. Inside, I was a mess because I thought all of that mattered. I felt like a hag at the age of 27.
Now? I’m MORE overweight, my hair is a disaster and I’m currently wearing a shirt with a coffee stain and my husband’s running shorts from 1990. The ones that I fished out of the Goodwill bag because, hello? Perfectly good running shorts! Even though the stripe down the left leg has detached itself and hangs loosely.
But, inside I’m not disheveled anymore, no matter what I look like on the outside when I show myself in public. I don’t stay home and make excuses. I am living my life, enjoying my family, friends, work and the confidence that comes with age. Well, in my case anyway. After seeing that young mother and knowing that I would have never done what she was doing, I realized that 40 isn’t such a bad place for me to be. Either that, or it’s my Zoloft.
All I can say is that it feels good.
And, I didn’t even have to go jogging.