Sometimes, the extraordinary is in the mundane.
I am young. Finishing my bachelor’s degree in just three years. Being awarded accolades; moving across the country with my tall, dark, and handsome boyfriend. I am going to a top law school.
But I still wear waterproof, smudgeproof make-up to bed, because I am afraid of being Seen.
I look at the photos now, and I can hardly believe I was ever so young.
Life goes on.
And then one day, a million years later, I am getting ready for bed, and I vaguely recall that there is a photo of me in the exact same nightclothes. I have seen it recently, even.
And I marvel at what a difference 12, 13 years makes.
I don’t wear makeup to bed anymore.
I recount the story of seeing my younger and older selves to someone the next day — how getting older seems so extraordinary while it’s happening, but when one sees one’s selves side-by-side, one becomes painfully aware that ageing is utterly mundane.
Youth is wasted on the young.
We talk and we talk. We talk about who we are; where we are. Where we expected to be. How we got to the places we are. The overarching theme seems to be: When you know, you know.
Everyone says that.
But what do we know?
Here’s what I know:
I know that I make a better thirtysomething than I did twentysomething;
I know that I am stronger than I think I am;
I know that the completely extraordinary moments are often the most ordinary ones.
And oh my. How those gorgeously ordinary moments have been extraordinary! When I look at my ageing self, I recall how I remember and cherish each hello and goodbye. How each everyday conversation takes on new meaning simply because it exists.
Do you appreciate the people you love?
I also know that while I have long ago outgrown the need to sleep in my makeup, so long as I am able, I don’t think I will ever fail to put on a little mascara and lipgloss before heading to the Emergency Room.