A few weeks ago, I was waiting in line at the ATM machine outside the bank. A good-looking man, about thirty-five with long blond hair, was heading toward me on the sidewalk. He looked me dead in the eye, smiled, and said, “Excuse me ma’am,” as he passed in front of me.
For a minute, I was perplexed. I even turned around to see if there was an older lady standing behind me, but all too soon, I realized he was talking to me. It seemed like only yesterday I was dating men his age and younger, and now they were addressing me with a matronly title of respect. ‘When in the hell did I morph from a babe to a ma’am?’
Shaken up, I pushed the incident into the back of my mind and tried not to think about it. But, unfortunately, it happened again all too soon.
The day started like any other day. I was minding my own business, buying a lottery ticket when an overly kind, young convenience store clerk told me “You know ma’am, you look like…um what’s her name? Oh, yeah, Edie on the show Desperate Housewives.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, in hindsight I realized it was a huge complement. Who wouldn’t want to look like Nicolette Sheridan? But, at the moment, I was too busy trying to stop the word “ma’am” from reverberating between my brain and my skull. I took a deep calming breath and it worked, at least momentarily, until a proverbial bell went off in my head and I was stung by the realization that I was no longer like the “Sex in the City” single chicks that I totally related to a few years back. I was now a desperate housewife. I was my mom’s age. Yikes!
So tell me, when in the hell did I morph from a babe to a ma’am? Was it when I became older that more than half the people on the planet? Exactly what time, did this occur? Was it at thirty-eight, forty, or forty-five? (I’ll stop here before I divulge my actual age; it’s hard to swallow.)
I’ll admit, I’m having a tough time accepting myself in this strange new category. Like a lizard, I have shed my skin many times, but this time the skin underneath is not new. It’s loose in some places, and lined in some from too many years of happiness, tears, heartbreak, and love.
Sometimes I long to go back, flog myself, and redo the past, now that I am old enough to realize that I wasted too much time on stupid stuff. For example, in high school I spent so much time trying to grow up I didn’t realize how cool it was to be there. In my twenties I was raising two kids ( because of my choice to grow up fast) and dreading becoming thirty. A few years into the big 3,0, I realized thirty wasn't old at all. In fact, my thirties ended up being period of rebirth for me. By the end of the decade, I was comfortable in my own skin for the first time. And, forty wasn’t as bad as everyone made it out to be even though I acquired a few rogue aches and pains. Hell, I had my third child a few years later. But right now I am like a teenager again, unsure of myself and not quite comfortable in my aging skin. I suppose if I am lucky enough to be around twenty years from now, I’ll look back and tell myself what a young fool I was for blogging on this topic in the first place, but until then, I guess I’ll just have to get used to this matronly title of respect thingie.