I turned forty-four this year. Forty. Four. Holy cats! Recently, as birthdays come and go, I notice that I’ve grown more introspective. I often find myself contemplating my age, my life, the path I’ve taken, and the journey preordained for me. I can state with absolute certainty that I don’t feel forty-four. I’m not sure if there are certain assigned feelings ascribed to any particular age, but I never fell into compliance.
Age is a weird concept to me, as are the societal pressures that accompany growing older. Comparison is a seductive trap to fall into. It is consciously and carefully avoided or it envelops me and I lose traction on the slippery slope of not quite measuring up. I cannot measure my life against the barometer of societal norms. It is akin to comparing apples to oranges and I perpetually find myself one step behind, one step outside the box. I’ve grown to accept this permanence. Celebrate it, even, but it wasn’t easy growing into that state of mind.
An unexpected blessing of aging is that I’ve grown truly comfortable in my own skin. Trying to conform to what I thought was expected of me, or how others viewed me is no longer relevant to me. I tried and failed miserably for years and even during the times that I desperately sought the acceptance that accompanied my pitiful attempts at copy-cat conformity; I perpetually found myself once again, just a step behind. Do I still yearn for a less complicated existence at times? Of course, but Asperger’s prevents that reality. And it’s OK. I would much rather live my life encouraged by the knowledge I possess explaining my idiosyncrasies; than live the depressing existence void of understanding that consumed me for so many years.
And so, I celebrate my forty four-feels-like-thirty two(?) years, and look forward to one more trip around the sun!