SuperWoman Feels Old

Now that SuperWoman is the ripe old age of 39, she’s been noticing some things about what it feels like to have a body that grows older, even at the same time as the inside of her feels young and lithe.

(Yes, she just used the word lithe. Ha.)

What’s SuperWoman’s age, on the inside? It’s like, 20, or something. (Or maybe she should make that 21, so that her inner self can still partake of wine.) Maybe it’s even 15–innocent and wide-eyed–as long as she doesn’t have to go back to high school again.

Still, on the outside there are these changes. Waking up in the morning, for one. Remember when SuperWoman made a vow that she was going to get up early and do yoga for 30 days? She failed miserably, which is why she didn’t talk about it afterward. She got up for two days in a row, and then she was back to the old routine, hitting snooze until the last possible minute, popping up and deciding whether a shower was really necessary before work. This reduction of energy, she assumes, is due to age.

And there are some other things she attributes to her aging body. The gray hairs on her head grow in faster, giving her hair this delightful yet muddied multi-colored tone. (She had once thought she’d go all gray in her 60s, but now she thinks that could happen much sooner.) There’s the ache in her thighs from walking up too many stairs. Her slower stride. The fact that her hair sticks up when she wakes up in the morning, and that she is content to look like a hobo with mismatching sweaters and wide-leg pants and socks on a Sunday morning while children play video games and she sits at her computer, sipping coffee. (Perhaps all she needs is a good pair of pajamas?) Also, even more disturbing, is that an extra pumpkin muffin or slice of pizza stays around her middle and makes her pants tight, and she has to eat next to nothing to remove those food items from production in her metabolism. She falls asleep at 8:30 pm while watching a teeny-bopper movie and gets yelled at by her son who wants her to stop sleeping. She can’t help it. It’s like a fog comes over her, like the air is filled with Benadryl.

But with age is wisdom, right? So as her body changes and deteriorates and starts to decay, the inverse—apparently—happens with her inner self. SuperWoman grows more established and esteemed and knowledgeable about the world and the ways of women and men.

Fat chance. She’s still just as confused as ever. And poor. And without any special titles.

Nope. What happens on the inside, SuperWoman has learned as she gets older, is that she gets more humble. That ego of hers gets smaller and she keeps learning to roll with the punches. This is a good thing, all the spiritual teachers will say. Maybe wisdom and grace don’t come from knowing so much, but in realizing how much you don’t know.

That sounds deep, but she’d still like her hair to stop frizzing and her muscles to feel strong and her appetite to match what helps her fit into her pants. So in the meantime, what will she do?

Make-up. Hair dye. Elastic pants. Meals with good friends where they talk about all they don’t know, but the experiences that have made life interesting. And dancing in her living room with her kids, because despite all the other bodily changes, dancing always feels good.

 

Image: “Dancing” by Moody Fotografi via Flickr. 

SuperWoman and the Perils of Public Transit

It was a Monday, which always makes life doubly hard. SuperWoman had enjoyed a weekend with her progeny, eating delicious brick-oven pizza, sipping a delicious strawberry daiquiri, watching football, allowing her kids to rustle up the duvets in the showroom at Ikea (against her better judgment). Despite its bad reputation, however,  SuperWoman was handling this Monday very, very well. She made a decision to exercise on her lunch break for the first time ever, and she was very proud of herself for the ingenuity of packing her bag and watching Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce while working the intermediate level of the elliptical in her somewhat new sneakers. Then she changed and got back to work, like a…well, SuperWoman. She handled TalkMonster’s frantic phone call when he got home from school with ease (middle school math is very, very stressful), and then she left work, opened her magnificent book (Ordinary People by Diana Evans), read voraciously, got off the subway, waited impatiently for the bus, and read voraciously again until it was time for her stop.

She began walking home. Her apartment windows were in sight, the little jade plant, the air conditioner sticking out, the ivory curtains cascading to the side. A man was ingloriously mowing the lawn of her apartment building with a weedwacker. She hates weedwackers. And leaf blowers. She hates those things, too.

And it was then, suddenly, she realized.

Her car was not, as she had thought, parked in the lot at home. In fact, it was several miles away at another train stop, the one she had parked at that morning after dropping her kids at school.

SuperWoman’s transportation regimen is a little complicated. So complicated that when she started at her current job two-and-a-half years ago, she had dreams that trains kept coming and going, that she was missing them all.

Here’s what her public transit mornings look like. On the days SuperWoman has her kids, she drops BeautyQueen at preschool, then TalkMonster on the street near his middle school so he can walk part of the way, then WonderMess at her elementary school. Then she high tails it to the high speed line, where she parks two blocks away and walks to catch the train.

On the days she doesn’t have kids, she takes a bus directly outside her apartment—oh, the luxury!—to the subway and ends up only two blocks from the doors at work.

On this particular Monday, for some reason—perhaps because she was still in summer camp schedule zone, perhaps because she forgot what day it was, perhaps because she was so immersed in her very, very good book—she forgot where she had parked her car and ended up in quite a tickle.

The second tickle? She couldn’t even get Uber working on her phone to call for a ride, because there was not enough storage left to download the app. (SuperWoman often thinks she needs a techy boyfriend to help her with these things.)

How was she going to get those kids?

In walked Kerri Superior. Well, she didn’t walk in. SuperWoman called her, frantically, cursing about the lawnmower guy who kept weedwacking even though SuperWoman was in a bind and needed to explain the situation with relative silence so Kerri Superior would understand.

The reason you may not have heard of Kerri Superior is because she’s not flashy and doesn’t need a lot of fanfare. Without sitting in a room and saying “Om,” all day with a golden halo around her short brown hair, she projects an air as though she has sat in a room saying “Om” all day. (Maybe it’s her special secret? Maybe she does? Heck, SuperWoman doesn’t know what people do in the privacy of their homes.) In addition to being a fabulous dresser, a loyal, honest, and trustworthy friend who always knows what to do, one of the things SuperWoman likes most about Kerri Superior is she doesn’t have kids, which makes her able to get dinner on a whim, take the time to cook nice meals, go to yoga, plan book clubs. She is simply marvelous, and on this Monday, Kerri Superior dropped what she was doing so she could pick up SuperWoman and take her to her car.

SuperWoman felt regal, to be chauffeured by such a special woman, a fellow super woman who doesn’t need to write a blog about how special she is, but spreads love and wisdom to her many admirers—colleagues, students, friends, even neighbors, surely.

Once SuperWoman got her car her, however, her job was not done. She still needed to pick up her progeny and head home, listening to horrendous tales of math homework in middle school and head-banging in preschool. Going to the grocery store as SuperWoman had planned was off the table—the afternoon had become too stressful already. So she improvised. She used whatever little bit of food she had left—bagels and cream cheese, bagels and American cheese, macaroni-and-cheese (notice a theme?), chicken nuggets, to put together some sort of a meal to keep the sidekicks healthy or at least full. And then she helped TalkMonster with his homework (although “help” is a generous word), bathed the girls, and read with WonderMess until it was time for bed. To top it off? She wrote a bit and meditated in her bed.

Take that, Monday! Take that, public transit! You may have delayed SuperWoman, but you will not stop her.

Because…

Why?…

She’s, well, super.

 

 

Image: "train" by Yuya Tamai via Flickr

SuperWoman Ages

Yes, it’s true. Superheroes get older just like everybody else. Each year, in fact. (I know, crazy.)

This month, SuperWoman reaches the last year of her third decade on the planet. (Or is it technically her fourth decade? She doesn’t know. Math isn’t her thing.)

Turning 40, there’s a rough one. But turning 39? Sexy. She has one more year to do all the fun things thirty-something’s do that you can’t do anymore when you turn 40. Serve your kids grilled cheese and fries and pizza more nights than not. Visit an array of happy hour bars with Susa-Power and Cat-Eye. Get MotherBear to call someone to fix things when something isn’t going her way, like getting a non-refundable thing refunded. (MotherBear has a knack for that.)

Oh, but really, who’s SuperWoman kidding? Being 39 is not much different than being 40. She’ll do all the same things at 40 that she’s done at 39, that she’s done at 38, that she did at 24. Her eyes just hang a little lower now in her skin. Her hair just comes in a little more gray, and faster.

The problem is, there were certain things SuperWoman hoped to achieve by this point in her life, things she sees the other 39-almost-40-year-olds and even younger-year-olds doing and having. Getting promotions. That would be nice at some point. Or having a house, like she used to have. (Even though she has to admit, she likes the low-stakes living of an apartment. If only she had a dishwasher. Which brings her to…) Dishwashers.  Nicer cars with seat-warmers. (Okay, she really doesn’t care about those, but even the option to go into a car dealership and even consider them would be cool.) Nice hefty savings accounts. An office with a view.

She certainly didn’t expect to have endured near poverty, living in a second-floor walk-up on the outskirts of her nearby town, spending half of her days without her kids. She didn’t expect to be low on the totem pole at her cubicle job. What did she imagine?

Oh, you know. Oprah. J.K. Rowling. Being one of those sorts of women.

Was that shooting too high?

The thing is, despite all this sad-sacking SuperWoman is doing (she’ll admit, she was the kid who used to cry when family sang “Happy Birthday” at parties) she’s truly optimistic about her future. She knows she’ll live until at least 80, barring some fluke tragedy. She has an entire half of her life left to lead, her second act. And it’s going to be a good one. A big one. Positive and beautiful, filled with travel and adventure and warm-hearted conversations over tea and wine, or holding her children’s hands as they face a glowing sunset and travel to Venice. Truly, this is what she feels in her bones. There is so much goodness to come, so much to appreciate about the life she has already lived.

So it’s on, Birthday Blues. Come at her, Mortality. Wrinkles, you don’t scare SuperWoman. Age is just a number. And SuperWoman, despite all her flaws, has become a wizard at counting her blessings.

 

Image: "Birthday Cake Candles" by Nick Amoscato via Flickr.