Swiftly Fly The Years

It’s no secret that I’m not exactly young anymore.  I’m sixty years old, and could easily pass for a few years older than that (sagging chins and wrinkly skin runs in my family.)  I know I don’t have the strength and stamina I used to have; I never go anywhere without a pair of reading glasses, and I avoid mirrors whenever possible.  So you can see that I really do understand that I’ve become, shall we say, “a woman of a certain age.”

Which is why I can’t quite explain how shocked I was when I realized that my son, (the youngest of my two “children,”) had the audacity to turn thirty this past weekend.  I don’t remember being quite this surprised a couple of years ago, when my daughter turned thirty, although maybe that was because at that time I could take comfort in the thought that at least one of my offspring was still in his twenties.  But my son is my youngest, and now he’s thirty.  How in the world did that happen?  When did my baby boy become a thirty-year old man?

fullsizeoutput_4ee1I know it’s sounds beyond cliche, but it really does seem like just yesterday when he was just a little guy, full of energy, fun and endless curiosity.  I remember how he struggled to pronounce the letter “r” which always made him sound as if he was speaking with a southern drawl.  He could be stubborn when it suited him, but that wasn’t always a bad thing.  If he was interested in something, he threw himself into it with his whole heart.  Once when I was picking him up from preschool, the teacher handed me a large paper bag to take home, filled with that day’s art project.   Apparently, the children had been asked to paint a picture on a coffee can lid.  All the other children painted one.  My son painted nineteen of them.

But now my son and daughter are all grown up and their childhoods are mere memories.  Now we’re all adults.  Sometimes I struggle with just how much advice I’m allowed to give at this stage of our lives, and exactly where the line is between being helpful and being intrusive.  As a mother, I think I’ll always worry and want them to take good care of themselves and make wise decisions.  But our role as a parent changes and evolves as our children grow up and become independent adults.  All I can say is that I try my best to say and do the right thing.  And I’m beyond grateful that I raised two forgiving souls who are willing to overlook the times I get it just a little bit wrong.

So yes, now I am definitely an “older” woman,  but the more I think about it, the more I realize that is perfectly okay.  This stage of life allows me to focus more on myself and to follow my own interests.   And when I look at the fine young man my son has become, I find that I really don’t mind so much that he just happens to be thirty years old…..

94 thoughts on “Swiftly Fly The Years

  1. The “advanced years” can be a joy. My hip and knee keep me from hiking five miles in the woods, so now I have taken up a yoga practice, isometric exercises and low impact aerobics all on YouTube. I spent many years as a house painter and have always wanted to paint on canvas. I am going to Michaels this week to get supplies. Enjoy the freedom, Ann. You deserve it. I am sure you son is a fine example of a 30 something man.

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  2. Besides the sags and wrinkles, isn’t it the GRANDest of times??!!! I’m right there with you as my baby turns 29 next month. Hubby just hit the big 60, but I have a few more years. 🙂 That matters not, however, as the true joy is seeing our “kids” become such amazing adults and then gift us with more “kids” to spoil and enjoy! It is weird, though, as I still so often feel 30ish – LOL! And I totally get the struggle with advice. Oh how I struggle with that – LOL! Enjoy this GRAND phase Ann! ❤

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    • Thanks, Jodi! It is weird how my mind knows my “kids” are all grown up, and yet my heart still wants to guide them through all the issues that pop up in their lives. I know perfectly well they are capable of taking care of themselves, but….”once a mother, always a mother” I guess. Glad to hear it’s not only me! But yes, the joy of seeing the adults they have become, and the joy of grandchildren more than make up for those sags and wrinkles!

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  3. I just turned 31 and I’m sure my parents feel similar. I know I’m trying to figure out when exactly it was that I became the so called “responsible” adult and still find myself looking for an adult without thinking about it.
    Now, I still have tons of time before I’m looking at older kids, but 11/2 years and both will be in school and 3 until I’m looking at having a middle schooler. Seeing friends my age who have teens and tweens amazes me that we are even old enough to have them now.

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    • I think you’re right, no matter what age we are, we still wonder just exactly how we became this old! I do remember when I turned thirty I was a little surprised I had hit that landmark age quite so soon… And just wait until the friends your age have kids who are adults! Believe me, that one is a little mind-blowing too!

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      • One of my friends I grew up with (her mom led my girlscout troop and was my babysitter in elementary school, I lost touch with her and started working with her not too long ago. I’m no longer there, but I still talk to her on a regular basis) just had her daughter turn 20- her step, but I don’t think she considers her her step daughter- she’s fully accepted in the family like her own kids. Her kids range from toddler to high school, I believe. It’s definitely strange watching my friends on Facebook- how fast their kids seem to be growing and the fact my oldest (going into 3rd grade) is already seeming to be close to my height.

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    • I quit working full-time outside the home when my daughter was born, and simply worked as a free-lance writer for a while. Then when they started school, I worked part-time at the local school district as well as writing. So, I’ve been on my own schedule for a while now and am used to it. But I do have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that my youngest is now thirty! In my head, I don’t feel much older than that myself….LOL!

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  4. I have been practicing getting old since I was in the third grade so I am kind of used to it all. I don’t mind it at all. I like the non-attention I get. People bother me less and tend to give me a wider birth than back in the day. I really like that. Lol.

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    • Yes, there is that advantage. Being “invisible” has it’s advantages….we can get away with stuff because a) no one is paying attention to us, and b) even if they are, they don’t think someone our age would do anything they need to worry about! Ha!

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  5. I always marvel how quickly the time passes. My son will graduate from high school in 2020 and my daughter will graduate from college in that same year. It doesn’t seem possible!
    Congrats on raising a fine young man…I’m sure you had a part in that.
    I’m pretty stubborn about the changes age brings. Especially when I have to put on my reading glasses. Somehow I think that is a temporary thing…but I know it is not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sadly, the only way reading glasses become temporary is if you surgery on your eyes, and I’m a little too squeamish for that (for now.) And I remember how those graduations seem so hard to believe…not that they graduated, of course, but that our kids were old enough to graduate from college and high school. Still, congratulations are in order for your whole family! And thanks for the comment!

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  6. Oh, Ann, this is delightful! I had a tough time with my sons turning 30; when my oldest turned 50 two years ago, it was another surprise! My youngest hits it this April. By now, though, (age 78 in May),I already have made many accomodations to being old and have discovered untold wealth in elderhood, so this one is much calmer. You have a wonderful attitude, and I know that your elderhood will continue to be a blessing.

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    • Thank you! And I love the term “elderhood” as it makes it sound like just another stage of life, which of course, it is. You’re right, once we accept it we do discover the many gifts that this age brings us. And we’re wise enough to enjoy them, too. Thanks for the comment!

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  7. I love the wisdom that I’ve gotten as I’ve aged, and I like that my confidence has increased. There’s a lot to said for maturing…and most of it is good. But it is tough to know when to parent, and when not to parent your kids….I don’t know how to make that call either, and mine is younger than yours. You had the good sense to start earlier…

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    • Your kids will normally let you know (by their behavior) when they no longer need a parent. Of course they do still need a parent, but just cannot see it!. Anyway, if my experience is typical, there comes that time when they need a mature, life-experienced adult friend … and if you can slip into that role, you will not regret it. In my case, it was in their late teens (when they believe they know everything) when I “shifted gears”, and I have a wonderful relationship with my daughter (now in her 40s).

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    • Honestly, it doesn’t get any easier as they get older, because our natural inclination is still to try to guide them, but at this point in their lives, we really are just people to listen to them and only give advice when it is asked for. Which is not a natural thing for me!
      And I agree that aging does give us a lot, including wisdom and confidence. If only our bodies didn’t start giving out, I’d completely prefer being older!

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    • Yes, whenever I find myself thinking my kids need to make better choices, I remember the choices I made at their age and realize they are actually doing pretty darn good. And it is a joy to see our kids grow up into good people, isn’t it? Thanks for the comment!

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  8. A very relatable post Ann. I don’t go anywhere without my glasses now and even in the kitchen I need a magnifying glass to read labels! As for kids and getting older, it feels like only yesterday my 18yo youngest was just a baby. I can remember so clearly being his age!

    Embrace these years Ann because you’ve earned the right to do as you like now. And isn’t it wonderful to know you’ve raised your kids to be beautiful well adjusted adults. We never stop worrying though, do we?

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    • Thanks, Miriam! You’re right, we never stop worrying and a part of us never really accepts that they are all grown up now. But another part cherishes the chance to get to relate to our kids in an “adult to adult” manner, and to realize that we really do have a little more time for ourselves now. You’re right, this is a time to embrace!

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  9. Ann – you express yourself so well. These are things I also think about. My kids are in their twenties and teens and they are most definitely nearly all men. How much advice to give and knowing my new role as a mother are still works in progress. Time certainly moves on, but I’m okay!

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    • Thank you so much! And yes, it is all a work in progress. We age, and our families change and grow older, and we just adapt. Hoping we are doing the right thing, mostly. But in the end, I think our good intentions do count and we need to just relax and enjoy this phase of our life. Or, in my case, at least try to!

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  10. Happy birthday to your son! Yes, when our children reach those certain ages, especially their youngest, it simply bumps us up the ladder. Mine are older that I like to admit but I would not go back as I enjoy my life today with its own style of freedom. As someone commented, you are young at heart! Cheers to life at any age!

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    • Yes, life can be good, no matter what our age. And though I sometimes miss those years when our kids were little, I really wouldn’t want to go back either. I do enjoy this phase of my life (although I’d love to have better eyesight and less sagging here and there) and I’m enjoying having a bit more freedom, a lot more confidence, and a grandson I can enjoy too!

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    • It does happen so quickly, doesn’t it? One minute they’re ten, the next minute they’re thirty….. But yes, having a grandson helps a lot, as I do get to enjoy him but as you say, I get to leave all the technical bits to his own parents. It’s quite nice!

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  11. Happy Birthday to your son! Now instead of being the “oldest child” at age 29, he’s the “youngest adult.” That’s what I was told when I turned thirty—a million years ago. I find at this phase of life, like you, I’m exploring things I like to do. At times, those activities aren’t necessarily the same ones my spouse enjoys. It’s challenging working out this new balance. We get along just fine and love each other as always, but it seems at this point life, some hidden or quieter parts of ourselves can shine through.

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    • I love that! And I’m going to tell him that he’s now the “youngest adult” in the family too. I know what you mean about finding a balance. My husband and I have some mutual interests, and some interests that don’t overlap at all. But we will figure it out in the end…I look at this as just another phase to get used to, like getting married, having kids, becoming home owners, etc. And I love the way you put that…the quieter parts of ourselves shining through. That’s a very accurate description!

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    • Enjoy the 17-year old while you can! It does pass all too quickly. But when your child becomes a full-fledged adult, that is also a good thing. It’s a different sort of relationship. Not really better, not really worse, just different, and I bet you will enjoy it too.

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  12. Your post made me smile. I must admit it makes me feel a little better when a person of the 60+ club admits that sometimes they may possibly over-step boundaries with their kids. I love that you refer to them as “forgiving souls”, which is how I often see my loving daughters. They know I try and are always willing to overlook my transgressions (eventually). Isn’t it truly a blessing to feel good about who your children have become? I honestly can’t think of anything right now that would be more important. Good for you and your family, Ann!

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    • Thanks, Des! You’re right, feeling good about who our kids grew up to be is everything, and makes all the child-rearing angst worth it. I’m not always good at “butting out” so I really appreciate the fact that my kids seem to tolerate it well….I think (and hope) they know I mean well!

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  13. Ahhh this is a lovely post! I will turn 62 this April and my middle son, who turned 30 recently told me that I was indeed old! I had a good laugh because while in certain respects I do feel older and can feel changes, overall I feel younger than what my age says I am and I guess I act that way too. I do not THINK of myself as old (but how sweet of him to remind me) as I do believe that age is but a number and in yoga there is the belief that we are as old as our spine. So I try to keep my spine young and flexible. (Perhaps I am gullible too)

    My youngest is 28 and with his older brothers I felt shocked when each of them turned 30! So I do totally get what you are staying and I know that when HE gets there, then I will really feel it haha.

    Because perhaps my brother died at the young at of 24, I am very much of the mindset that we are very priviledged to grow old.

    Lovely post and yes knowing that our kids have turned into amazing adults is very meaningful and important and makes up for the fact that it all “flew by”… it did not actually do that, but it takes just a blink to look back and so perhaps it feels that way.

    So enjoyed reading this post Ann.

    Peta

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    • Thanks so much, Peta! I’m glad to know that others are also bewildered when they realize their children are now thirty-something adults! It is odd.
      But I think you are right, age has so much more to do with our mindset than anything else. As long as we feel young, and take care of ourselves, we are young enough. I’m so sorry to hear about your brother, and glad that you use his untimely death as a way to remind yourself that growing older really is a gift that not all of us achieve. Still, I can’t imagine your grief.

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  14. I think we all have that in common, Ann, that wondering about how time flies by. 😊 Whenever I’m asked how old I am I have to do some maths because I never feel as old as I actually am! 😁
    And it’s wonderful that you see the upside of it all – now you’ve got more time for yourself and can discover new things! 😄

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    • Ha! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has to really think before I can answer that age question! Time does fly so quickly that sometimes we just lose track of it, I think. But yes, there are upsides to aging (thank goodness!) that make up for the downsides. And ultimately, I do try to just be grateful for what, and who, I still have.

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  15. We are older parents about to retire and anxious to get our youngest (graduating college this May) off the payroll. I find we still do a lot of parenting, but in a different way. When I was younger and in the group that was more likely to be killed by a terrorist than get married (yes someone did those stats) and whining about not having kids, I was given the advice to not worry because once you have your kids, they are there the rest of your life. And will require worry, care and advice.

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    • I think you are right. We never stop worrying about our kids no matter how old they are, and the urge to give advice doesn’t go away either. Some people take that advice better than others, but I think that’s only natural and underneath it all, they’re glad to know we still have their best interests at heart.

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  16. I know exactly how you feel, Ann. Being 76 turning 77 in a couple of weeks, I feel the same when I look at our five boys, the oldest being over fifty and the youngest approaching forty. I hope this may be a small consolation for you. Have a great week!

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  17. I’m okay with being almost 63. Like I have a choice anyway?!!! My daughters are in their 30’s, and I’ve really enjoyed all of the stages of them growing up. I have to say that sitting around drinking wine with them is equally as fun as all of the fun times when they were little. Well, maybe even a little more fun!

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    • Yes, it’s not like we have a choice, we are as old as we are! And we may as well just like it. I also agree that it is fun to sit around the dinner table with our adult sons and daughters, enjoying a glass of wine together!

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  18. Happy Birthday to both of you..:)
    We never stop giving advice, Ann. We just need to find ways to do it without having it seem as if we are. We pick and choose our words and battles, like when they were younger, only in different ways and times. When wives come into the mix, the rules change again and your words are measured a bit more but you’ll find your voice and regardless of what they say, they’ll always want to hear hear it…:) They may not listen, but they want your thoughts.

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    • Thanks, George! That’s what I needed to hear. Sometimes it is just so hard to know how to proceed in new situations, but you’re right….no matter how we word it, or whether or not they seem to listen, they do always want to know our thoughts.

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  19. It is said that we are every age we have ever been and that is true. We remember how we felt at sixteen, thirty-two, forty-five, or whatever. The passage makes us stronger, wiser, better able to handle the hard-knocks that come our way. The beautiful thing about being a parent is that we get to remember our children at every age as well…we see the toddler playing in the sand, we same child getting ready for school the first day, we see prom night, their first everything! God has blessed us with this remembrance of ourselves and our beloveds. Our memories make us who we are and they give us grace to keep creating more memories…no matter what our age.

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    • That is such a good way of looking at it! We do remember all we have been through, and that helps us to relate to our children and grandchildren, because we’ve been there, and we remember… And yes, we are always creating new, and precious, memories. Thank you so much for this insightful comment!

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    • Forgive me! This comment should have been edited! I had surgery on Monday and I guess I am not quite myself. I am doing much better, but I should have read that over before I posted it. “we see the same child getting ready for school.” I cringe at this because I was a teacher before I had my children…and an English major in college. I looked back at that comment and thought, “Oh my!”.

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  20. Oh advice to adult children is a dicey road! My rule of thumb unless it will take them down financial ruin or something life threatening, I bite my tongue until they ask, “Mom, what do you think?”. I’m surprised I have a tongue at all anymore! Lol!

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    • Yeah, that’s what I’m trying to do, but it isn’t easy! Still, it is the best way….even if it does mean we bite through our tongues now and then! Thanks for the comment, Lorie!

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  21. Thanks, Ann. I can so relate to your words. I find that as I age and my daughters start their adult lives, I am both melancholy and grateful. I am so happy and proud of the individuals they have become, but sad to think that they are not so innocent and dependent on me anymore. Life at our age seems to rest somewhere between a longing for our youth and a thankfulness for the remaining wonderful times to come.

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