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My Deepest, Darkest Secret

I’m going to share my deepest, darkest secret with you. I’ve never shared it with anyone. I hope I don’t regret it.

I am afraid of getting older.

Well, to be totally honest, I’m more than afraid. I’m terrified. Not of getting old. Of getting older. The difference is subtle, but it’s there. “Old” is an amorphous term. “Old” is always just around the corner. A ten year-old thinks twenty-five is old, and so it goes at every age. But “getting older” is a relentless, inexorable fact of life, affecting even the unknowing ten year-old.

You might think it’s a vanity thing (especially those of you that know me ;)). But that’s not really the problem I have with it. OK, I hate the little baggy skin that’s starting to appear on my neck, but really this fear goes much deeper than that.

This helps

If anything in my life is holding me back, it’s not the actual aging. It’s the fear of it. Take my writing, for example. I love the adventure of writing a book. Although getting it published is not my purpose in writing, I would love to have that happen someday. It’s the someday that panics me.

Here’s my thought process:

It will be exciting to finish writing this and start querying to find an agent. Of course, querying takes a long time, but maybe I will eventually get an agent. Then the agent has to sell it to a publisher and that usually doesn’t happen overnight.  Once the publisher gets it, it can take two or more years until it hits the shelves.

OMG. I will be SO old by then. That’s way too old to enjoy any of it. I need it done now, before I’m too old, so I can enjoy it. It needs to be done Now. Now. RIGHT NOW.

Aging gracefully is not for me. I can’t even comprehend that concept.

Even Barbie is getting old.

Wait there’s more.

I have lots of cousins; over thirty of them. And we were very close growing up. When I think of them (and me) now at the age of our parents, and our aunts and uncles now the age of our grandparents, I get a knot in my stomach and I have to push the thought out of my mind. I hate the thought of my family and friends getting older more than I hate the thought of getting older myself. If I ever have a panic attack, this will be the trigger.

I’ve shared my deepest darkest secret with you, other than my age, which I try not to dwell on. It’s really not a vanity thing. It’s more for my sanity.

Now, I’m going to work on A Voice Among the Thorns. I need to get it done so I can enjoy it while I’m still young.

Well, I'm not sure I'd want to be 20 again.

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8 comments on “My Deepest, Darkest Secret

  1. I like that barbie pic, I may put that as my profile photo. I know, I have a lot of thoughts about this topic. One is that…things seem not to mean as much when you see how short life is, it seems to me sometimes, like: What difference does it make, we all die anyway. Lately I am afraid of getting dementia too. Just trying to make the most out of my time when I am here….hard to find answers!! God bless you, keep writing!! Remember Grandma Moses and others who started “late in life”

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    • Thanks for the encouragement, Margaret.

      You gave me the topic for a post. “What difference does it make? we all die anyway.”–I think that might be one of the most important questions ever.

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  2. Nobody warned me that someday I wouldn’t need eyeshadow because my eyelids would just be permanently dark. Is that why teens buy it? To look older? Are we always seeking to be something we are not because no current reality can satisfy us?

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    • Hey Marian,

      The thing nobody warned me about (so I’m warning you about it now) eyebrows migrate upward. By the time I’m 70, I’ll need to shave my forehead. 😦

      I agree that we are never satisfied, for long any way. But what if the current reality is all we think there is?

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  3. Better to fear dementia, cancer, ALS….I know people facing all of these.

    Aging is no big deal IF you have:

    1) enough money to live gracefully (i.e. not subsisting on your SS check eating cat food, unable to afford your meds); 2) have a few dear friends who “knew you when” 3) keep a sense of humor and perspective 4) take damn good care of what you have! No smoking, drugs, obesity.

    I’m 54, and am often mistaken (at close range in broad daylight by sighted people) for someone in her late 30s. So even though your body may age, your spirit, style and joy do not have to.

    I am terrified of death. THAT gives me panic attacks. Aging means — you’re still alive, damn it! My Dad is 82, dresses like a dream, drives a black Jag and is my model.

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  4. Getting older is one thing we can all do regardless of our talents or abilities. Living with it is another matter. I just try and enjoy as much of the time I have as I can. Not always easy I agree

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