|BWS Stories - "If I Could Save Time In A Bottle"...Embracing Our Authentic Selves|
"If I Could Save Time In A Bottle"...Embracing Our Authentic Selves - Gee Golly Gee, Where Did The Time Go?
Janie Emaus has written several books for Parachute Press, the packager of Goosebumps and Fear Street. Her short stories and articles have appeared in True Confessions, Chicken Soup for the Soul books and the Los Angeles Daily News. She currently writes for the Los Angeles Times Kids' Reading Page and is at work on a novel about babyboomers. She can be contacted at Janieemaus@aol.com
Gee Golly Gee, Where Did The Time Go?
Then: Senior Prom
Now: Senior Discounts
One day I woke up and discovered that my flat stomach had been replaced with a tiny roll of fat. Not to worry. Much. I promised to get back into my old exercising routine. Forty, fifty, maybe even sixty sit-ups each morning. This was definitely something I could handle.
A few days later, I rolled over and I had grey hair and needed reading glasses. Okay, still easy enough to fix. A few phone calls, a few appointments and I emerged into the world with blonde hair and progressive bifocals.
A few weeks after that I bolted upright in bed and realized I now had hot flashes, memory loss and anxiety without anything specific to feel anxious about. Hmmm. These changes seemed a bit harder, but I told myself I could still handle it.
After all, I am a baby boomer and according to the headlines, "Baby Boomers Are Good At Everything."
And then the alarm went off. Loud, piercing, unavoidable. I jumped up and stared at myself in the mirror. Who was this woman staring back at me?
This woman with lines at the side of her mouth and eyes? And God, it's hard to think, let alone say - wrinkles on her neck!
Just yesterday I was a free spirited college student with no one but myself to worry about and now I had a husband of thirty years, a twenty-something daughter, thirty-something stepchildren, parents in their eighties and grandchildren on both coasts of the country. I was a bi-coastal grandma!
When had all these changes taken place? It was like I had walked out of 1966 and into 2007 without even pausing.
Who had asked Father Time to put me on this fast train to middle age? I certainly didn't remember buying a ticket.
And that's when I threw up my hands. I'd had enough.
It was time to stop.
But I'll let you in on a little secret. Well, maybe not so little.
You can't stop it. Time just keeps on truckin' and the only thing to do is flow with it. The alternative isn't much of an option.
That's when I decided to call up my longtime friends. Time to take some "time" for ourselves.
When I mentioned my idea to Terry, she said, "Count me in." In her twenties, Terry was a stay-at-home mom, closing hundreds of paper bags full of bologna sandwiches and chips. Now at fifty-nine she's a super real estate agent closing million dollar escrows.
Jeri's response was, "When?" Jeri is a retired Probation Officer and an old hippie, who still believes everyone, should get a piece of the pie even if they haven't helped bake it.
And Joanie, a small business owner with a big heart and lots of laughter, said she wouldn't miss this adventure for the world.
So what if we had cottage cheese thighs, wiry, stubborn hair, and rolls around our bellies? The last time I checked with the Auto Club, being young and fit was not a prerequisite for a road trip.
We chose Reno as our destination. We decided to take a leisurely drive up the coast. Just like old times.
Now for the record, three days on the road in 2007 does not equate to three days on the road in 1966.
Back then, we packed sleeping bags and tents. Now we pack debit cards and a "Guide To The Best Hotels on the West Coast."
Then, we took toothbrushes and hair spray. Now, we carry anti-aging lotions, firming fluids, and anti-wrinkle eye creams.
Then, we talked about hot guys and college plans. Now we talk about hot flashes and retirement plans.
Then, we looked up at the stars, making wishes, drinking Boonesfarm Apple Wine. Now, we sip our Ketel One martinis, realizing we are the stars. The stars of our own lives.
As baby boomers we've been documented, categorized, analyzed, departmentalized, boomerized.
Baby Boomers play hopscotch and tether ball.
Baby Boomers drive faster than the speed limit.
Baby Boomers add MD's, DDS, & PhD's to their names.
Baby Boomers become parents.
Baby Boomers buy stock in estrogen!
Baby Boomers' children have children.
Will Baby Boomers ever retire?
Baby Boomers learn to blog.
Oldest Living Baby Boomer Tells All
Well, I may not be around for that story, but I have plenty of my own. And one of the best involves those friends on that trip to Reno.
We were Menopausal Maniacs on the loose. From hotel to hotel, seeing the world through fifty-something eyes.
Watching crazy teenage girls in shorts, shorter than the mini skirts of the sixties. Cheering them on for their gumption and spunk. Knowing that we were once there and now it's their turn.
Seeing the hope on the face of a twenty-something guy playing a slot machine. Knowing that the real jackpot is in living his life, his way.
Calling home and hearing a granddaughter say, "I love you." Checking in on parents who still want to know that you arrive safely at each city.
And laughing, laughing, laughing. The three important ingredients to growing older.
How we traveled may have been different from our college days, but one thing remains the same.
Then - Great times with good friends
Now - Great times with good friends.
As far as I'm concerned, the best years are yet to come.