The following is a guest post by Darcie Purcell, who had a huge ah-ha moment while watching her son’s high school football game. Darcie is lucky. It takes many of us much longer to have that same ah-ha moment. Others are still waiting. Darcie can be visited at Being 40: Shift Happens and her Facebook page.
My son just started his freshman year in high school. We had our first Varsity Football home game and I was so excited to be there. To experience high school again – Friday Night Lights with the Metea Valley Mustangs!
I realized when I entered the stadium that I’m a parent of a high school kid NOT the high school kid. That makes me ancient, uncool, a bad dresser (or the dreaded wanna be/cougar that tries to dress younger than she is)…I don’t want to be those things.
I took my seat on the bleachers next to my friends who seemed oblivious to the significance in this moment (did I say I have a flair for the dramatic?).
The music was blaring through the loud speakers. Kids were everywhere, laughing, horsing around, screaming, flirting, gossiping…football players on the field and off the field all in their jerseys, marching band members dressed and carrying their instruments (did you know it is cool to be in marching band now…who knew?!?), girls in the shortest shorts and boys in baggy pants.
As I was taking in this sensory overload, I suddenly felt this energy to my right. I turned my head and was looking at the energy that I had been drawn to…the cheerleaders for MVHS. They were walking through the stands – uniforms with glitter, big bows in their perfectly curled blonde and brunette ponytails, giggling and excited for this first of the treasured high school football games.
One of the girls ran up to her mom in the stands and it was a mom that I knew. The mom has had a rough road–divorce, two kids, a little bitter…okay a lot bitter. Watching the interaction between the two of them, which just looked like a mom smiling and talking to her daughter, seemed significant to me. Mom is tired and the road has been rough. Daughter full of goals and big plans for life.
What happens? What happens between 14 and 44? It was a clear moment for me that showed how quickly life happens. Every decision, every non-decision and the attitude that I have chosen have lead me to this moment … and it went by at lightning speed. All those 14 year-olds will be 44 and sitting in the stands one day SOON. What choices will they have made? Will they have a great career doing what they love? Will they have kids? Will they be on Prozac? Will they be divorced? Will they be 50 lbs overweight? Will they be happy?
I still don’t like being the old lady in the stands, but that’s for me to maneuver and come to terms with. My BIG realization is that as the old proverb states…drop by drop the bucket fills. What I do today matters. The attitude I choose today matters. What I put in my mouth today matters. How I decide to treat my son today matters. How I decide to treat my coworkers today matters. How I decide to treat myself today matters. Laughing today matters. Slowing down today matters. Hugging a friend today matters. Calling my sister today matters. The next time I am going to be in those stands I will probably be watching my grandson play football (next to my very handsome much younger new husband!!) and it will come probably twice as fast as 44 came at me.
I shall end with a quote from the great philosopher Ferris Bueller. “Life moves pretty fast…if you don’t stop and look around once in awhile you could miss it.”
Go Go Mustangs!
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