A few weeks ago, I spent some time on the campus of my college alma mater. It was fun to walk around the familiar corridors -- this time, toting a baby instead of a backpack -- and marvel at how far I had come in the years since I graduated.
Of course, I got a huge kick out of watching the students -- the girls wearing sweet smiles and skinny jeans (which, I'm sorry, I'm a child of the 80s and I wore pegged jeans for years, but I'm here to tell you it's not a flattering look on anyone, ladies; return to the forgiving legs of the boot-cut denim), the boys sporting scraggly goatees and newly discovered muscles.
They looked young. But not like kids. I didn't feel like I stood out that much -- except for the baby.
Then I went to chapel.
While waiting for everyone to take a seat (while simultaneously doling out Cheerios to Teyla), the campus ministries director came over to say hi. He recognized me, since he had been on staff back when I was in school.
"Remind me again, what years were you here?" he naturally asked.
"Well, technically I attended college from 1989 to 1994, but since I grew up down the road, I know people from a 15-year time span," I joked.
And then it hit me: I just said I was in college when the students sitting around me were born.
I sunk into my seat a little, laughing at my own self-awareness -- or lack thereof. If I had heard someone say, "I went to college from 1970 to 1974" back when I was in school, I would have immediately thought, "OLD PERSON! OLD, OLD, OLD!"
But I'm not old.
It's a strange thing, this aging. Time passes faster externally than it does internally, it seems. On one hand, I know I'm 37. It's fact. But on the other hand, aren't I still hip and fresh, with an added side of maturity?
Truth is, I rarely think about my age at this stage of my life. I'm too darn busy. I can tell you how old my kids are (7, 5 and 1), but my age? Most days, I have to stop and do the math (2009 minus 1972 is....) to figure it out. My age is irrelevant to day-to-day life, and those detail consumes me right now. (Hello tyranny of the urgent.)
Maybe having young kids in the house keeps you young. Or maybe having young kids in the house doesn't leave you a spare nanosecond to obsess about aging. Either way, it works.
At least, it works until your kids are teenagers. Because then, there's no getting around it: You're OLD.
Kelly also blogs at Love Well. She would like to thank you for your indulgence last week in giving her the day off while she was on vacation with her family. Instead, she spent Wednesday sitting in the sun at SeaWorld, invariably getting wrinkles which will make her look old. Someday.