When I Was 34

Originally penned August 9, 2001

My story. Right now I approach 35. Thirty Five. Too young to be President. Too old to be Christ. I am a 34 year old woman sitting on her suburban home porch. What does that say about me? I’m a lousy homeowner, what with the swaying fence, broken gates, chipped and fading wood stain.

What is my story?  I’m a relatively happy girl, things are in perspective, I worry about money, like most grown ups with mortgages.  I feel a large amount of guilt about time not spent with my children.  I hope I’ve parented them well to this point, and cringe over challenges to come.  I cry with joy, filled with love for them.  I have a happy marriage, still find my husband sexy and amusing, amazed by our unspoken compatibility in most areas and rendered speechless during our conflicts. Pretty typical.

I pray, I take my kids to church, sometimes.  I believe in moderation.  I believe in God and Karma and what goes around comes around. Everything costs and you always find what you look for.  I believe laughter is good for the soul, so is crying, and screaming. And whispering and purring.  I believe man evolved from pre-man, not ape, and that we are still evolving every day to a higher spiritual awareness, an awareness that in hundreds of years will make us all look like apes. I believe in even-steven, yin and yang, tit for tat. No free lunch and the incomprehensible efficiency of God, of the universe.  I believe in Desiderata.  I believe in the Holy Trinity and the power of prayer.  Rainbows are gifts, God’s way of getting us to take our eyes off our dashboards and give us something to smile about.  I believe rainbows and orgasms are more fun with another person.  I believe in life after death, that you can communicate with the dead.  I worry about my weight, I chastise myself for lack of willpower and my widened waistline.  I take comfort that I’m not alone.

That empty field across the road will soon be houses, the wooden fences and barns leveled.  Heavy equipment will toss dust into the air.  Trucks and concrete, asphalt and two-by-fours.  Fire plugs measuring out the empty lots.

The evening sun just peeked out behind the clouds to shine on the land across from us.  Soon the season will change.  I believe only God can change the color of a mountain.  Winter will come.  All will be white, cold.  Days short, dark mornings and afternoons.  Christmas joy and Christmas stress, Christmas expense.  It will come and go much too quickly as with recent Christmas past, and like most Christmases to come.  Months to years to a lifetime.

I will be an 85 year old woman, trash can filled with used up pens, drained of their ink.  Stacks of notebooks at my feet, a knitted afghan across my lap and my arthritic fingers painfully pushing pen against page.  Will it change so much?  Hopefully the deck will have been better tended and my waistline essentially the same.  I believe my beliefs will remain, enhanced by the wisdom of age.  I hope to recite other lessons learned.  The trees will still sway, the seasons will still change.

I pray my heart will be filled with joyful memories and not regrets.  I pray my children will still be close to me.   I pray there will still be a feline friend at my feet.  I will have bought my last American car, will have held my grand babies.  I will have continued my relationship with God and when the day comes for me to leave this world, I hope it is with Grace.

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