For this week’s writing challenge, we’re asking you to explore what age means to you. Is it the loss of youth, or the cultivation of wisdom? Do things get better as you grow older, or worse? There are many ways to interpret age, often depending on your relationship with the passing of time.
Age, we all age. In years, in experiences, in memories, in how we view things. We all age, unless we die young. For this writing challenge I’m going to take you on a road most have never been, except me. I’m going to take you down MY road.
In November, for NaNoWriMo I started writing my memoirs. Now I‘ve lived a long time. No, I’m not going to say how old I am, but take my word for it. It’s been a long time since my mother pushed me so rudely out into the world.
When I was writing my memoirs, I began to realize a few things. One, I’m amazed I’m still alive! Two, I’ve been through a lot of shit. Three, I’m still amazed I’m still alive! Ok, maybe that’s repeating myself, but I could have died any number of times. Just wasn’t my time.
(Age 0 to now) From day one I haven’t had it easy. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not whining about it. It is what it is and I’ve survived. We all have choices in this world, depending on what choices we make, it could go badly, or well.
(Age 5 to 16) I’ve had friends from childhood that made their choices and it did not end well. I made other choices. Oh some were not the best and some were downright stupid. But I own them and give no excuses as I made my choices at the time the best I knew how.
(Age 3 to 10) I was born the second youngest of a family of 4 siblings. I wasn’t planned and I wasn’t wanted. How do I know this? My mother told me this several times. I believe her. I was born in a time when you kept your kids, whether you wanted them or not. So there I was. We were very poor when I was young. I remember eating ketchup or lard sandwiches. Yeah, lard, you know, animal fat. Back then you could buy it in big tubs. That’s what people cooked with before we knew it was bad for us.
My mother would spread the lard on a piece of bread and sprinkle sugar on it. We kids ate it and were glad to have something to eat.
(Age 2 to 9) Then growing up was hard. I was sexually abused for years by a family member. Since I was about 2 or 3 till I was nine. So coming from that I could have made wrong decisions and gotten into alcohol and drugs. But I didn’t. Those were my choices. I didn’t do it. I watched a childhood friend go that route when she was abused by someone. She became a prostitute and a drug addict. I don’t even know if she’s still alive. I doubt it.
I’m not saying I’m stronger than my friend was. I’m not. I just made different choices. I choose to bury myself in books. But I suffered in other ways. I became painfully shy, especially with boys and men. For a while I hated myself. Sometimes I still do. I would gain weight just so I was unattractive. So you see, I made different choices.
(Age 18 to now) Then I made a choice to leave home, as my mother and I never got along. I moved in with a friend and she almost killed me. Twice. I wrote about that before here. I don’t blame her, as her mind broke and she didn’t have any choices, they were taken away from her. But it is part of my history. I could have died by her hands easily.
After that I moved briefly to Mississippi. For a man, of course. Needless to say it didn’t work out as he was a major asshat, not to mention he was a mama’s boy and mama didn’t like me. I moved to Texas after 6 months of him calling me names and fights. He was the only man I punched. Ha! He called me a whore, I punched him in the face. A few days later I was on a bus to Texas and my little brother. Again choices. Some not so good.
I lived and worked in Texas for almost a year when I met my ex. Yeah, another bad choice. I married him, he turned out to be a major narc, I went into deep depressions.
Then I got cancer. And another depression. Now I know these things were not choices. They were just something that happened. I had no control over the cancer. Not much over the depression until I got mad and whipped its butt. That was where the choice came in. I got lucky and I know it. Most people can not beat depression on their own. I know this and I am deeply respectful of those people. It’s not an easy fight with or without drugs and counselling.
The first depression could have been my last as I contemplated suicide. I had the gun in my hand, ready to do it. My four dogs saved my life. Another story I wrote about on here.
The second time I found out I had cancer and my ex was a major douchcouch. I had lost my last of 4 babies. Miscarried. He refused to talk about it as usual. I kept the pain inside. I was told I had cancer, he refused to talk about it. I went into a major depression. After a couple of years I crawled out of the depression and was cancer free. Yeah, I should have died then too. Because I ignored the cancer.
I left the narc. We divorced and he stalked me for 5 years. My best friend was terrified he was going to harm me. I believed her. I moved back to Wisconsin, where I was from. He showed up one day. I left and moved to Canada. To this day I believe he meant me harm. Where I was living in Wisconsin there was a whole forest to hide my body.
There were of course, lots of other things in between these life changing events. But I don’t want to bore you. As I said I’ve been alive a long time. Sometimes I have no idea how I managed.
As for now, I’m thinking of another life changing event. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m hoping it will soon. That won’t be dangerous, I’m sure it won’t. Unless some critter gets me. I’ll just have to wait and see.
Lives are about choices. Good, bad, and ugly. We can regret things, hold hate inside, fury or some other destructive emotion, till it eats us up. Or we can let it all go and rejoice in being alive for another day. Choices.
I prefer celebrating. So it comes down to age, years lived. For me age is just a number, granted, it’s a relatively high number, but it’s all good. Don’t be afraid of aging. Don’t worry when the years rack up and you see a bit more wrinkles, a bit more gray in the hair. Be thankful you got this far and look to the horizon for more years to add to your age. You’ll be fine.
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