When I was 30 years old with my first baby girl hanging on my hip, my mom was 52, and we were both adjusting to our new titles of Mommy and Gram. My grandma became GGMom, and a new generation was underway. I remember the first time my daughter’s baby babble came together to clearly form the word Mama – it was so exciting to be called by this new name! Three younger siblings quickly followed that first baby and fast forward to 2018, I now feel like I’m called Mom more than Kim. I’ve actually had entire conversations with people over the years who didn’t know my first name at all; I was just (Kelly/Sam/Cassidy/Troy)’s Mom. My grandma passed away in 2002, and that baby Kelly on my hip is now 22 – the age my mom was when she had me. So I guess I am at somewhat of a full circle moment, as I am approaching 52 myself at the end of this week. Turns out as you are hustling full speed through life after college getting jobs, raising babies, starting businesses, etc., all those older folk who were always telling you to appreciate it because it goes too fast actually knew what they were talking about.
Turning 52 itself is really no big deal. Once you cross the 50 milestone, it’s pretty much business as usual. Except for the fact that party conversations now include discussions of new knees, colonoscopy appts, good podiatrists and thyroid issues, I feel like the exact same person I was at 22. It’s more the fact that I am slowly creeping to the next stage of being in the senior generation. Carefree old surfer friends I spent hours with on the beach are now posting pictures of skin cancer surgeries and warning young people to use sunscreen. I listen to the lyrics of some of the music the “kids” love now and actually think, WHAT are they saying? (seriously though, makes Madonna’s racy “Like a Virgin” sound downright corny). The era of joyful wedding parties has now been replaced by shocking divorce announcements, and my friends and I sometimes sit around and talk wistfully about yes, the good old days when times were simpler and slower, and people were nicer. I am very lucky to have a large group of fun-loving, youthful friends who, like me, believe that sometimes laughter really is the best medicine, but 52 is not 22 no matter how you slice it, inject it, nip it or tuck it.
My respect for my parents’ generation is now mingling with a tender understanding. There truly are important lessons in life that can only be learned through time and experience. So as I start my 53rd journey around the sun this Saturday, I hope to take with me childlike wonder when I encounter the new, a continued appreciation for the simple beauty of nature, and an awareness of where my time and energy are best focused – oh, and probiotics for travel digestion and my glasses in case I have to drive at night.