Feeling old as the hills…

I realized something transitioning out of so much time social distancing and back into the “real world” and that something is that I feel like I have gotten so much older in the past few years.

At first I thought it was just my energy levels- even with being healthier than I have been most of my life, having kids can really suck the energy out of you- sleep deprivation is oh so real! But it is more than just my energy levels making me feel much much older…

I don’t want to download the new social media platform- Tik Tok, clubhouse, etc. and I’m not even sure I want to be on the few social media platforms I already had. I’m too old to keep up with what is trendy and what will get noticed on the algorithm. I just want to live my life and occasionally share pictures or thoughts in a relatively easy way. But it seems that maybe for me the best way to do that is through my extremely old school form of communication- blogging. I know, terminally uncool compared to having my own podcast…

I am in love with home projects. You know all those Progressive commercials about how home owning makes you become your parents? Hulu has figured out that it is the top match for our household and we see it at least a dozen times a week. Only slightly higher than the number of times we seem to end up at Home Depot…

I don’t want to learn the new WordPress editor. About 6 months ago, WordPress kept trying to usher me toward their new block editor which looks really wonderful and would probably make reading my blog a much prettier and up to date experience. The thing is… I’m not interested in learning it and since I have to be pretty protective of my time just to get this blog written, I’m sticking with the old school editor until they completely pry it away from me. If I stick to it long enough people will just thing my blog looks retro, right?

I am much more cynical- but also strangely more grateful at the same time – I used to believe that as long as I had the next thing booked, the next book started then I simply couldn’t die or be severely hurt/traumatised because I was needed… because I was protected by unfinished business and could at the very least enjoy some time as a ghost. (I know, there’s a LOT to unpack there- a productivity addiction, how many times my sister and I watched Heart and Souls, why I’m really bad at just reading one book at a time, extreme issues with facing my own mortality, etc. but I’m sharing it anyway because humans are weird and we cope in strange and diverse ways…) Now, every commitment or plan feels like it comes with the internal caveat of “unless something terrible happens” All those trips and surprises and comebacks I had planned for 2020 that didn’t pan out, they didn’t recharge me to go after them twice as hard. They made me count a lot less on anything that wasn’t happening right now in this moment. Which is REALLY hard for my type A, enneagram 1, planner obsessed self. It has made me focus on how to combat the deep anxieties inside me instead of running from them at a thousand miles an hour (though ironically running is one of the ways I combat them…)

I have realized I’m the adult and I have to act like it. I have to set my own boundaries. I have to realize my own worth. I have to model the strength and vulnerability I want to pass to my children. I don’t have to play by some arbitrary set of rules.

Things that used to seem old don’t seem that old anymore. Perhaps the surest sign of aging is how when you are a kid you think teenagers are SO OLD and then as a teen you think people in their thirties are much older and must have their life together and then you start to realize- in a blink I’ll be 60 or 80… if I’m lucky. Seeing how so many people in America treated the elderly population as dispensable during this pandemic was so disheartening. And it made me face that sooner than I realize I will be a part of that vulnerable population. We can try to deny the existence of aging all we want, but I think it might be healthier to number our days and realize they are finite. Similar to above, this may seem morbid and cynical, but it has actually brought me a deeper joy and gratitude.

I think about things that are TRULY old. Hiking so much this year is what made me think of the title of this post- when we say old as the hills we are talking about the things that came before us and will likely last after us. The mountains have seen so much more than we ever will. The mountains are old but they are still changing and reacting to the seasons. It is so comforting to hike and see older hikers up on the trails with me, still tackling those hills that are much older than they and still smiling at the same beauty I am. In a time that has felt deeply divisive and depressing, that is perhaps one of the greatest gifts hiking has given me. A renewed sense of connection thanks to the old “hills” that have been calling to me and I am reminded of a quote from the man who inspired my word of the year: ““Every day that passes, I fall more desperately in love with the mountains… I am ever more determined to climb the mountains, to scale the mighty peaks, to feel that pure joy which can only be felt in the mountains.”

Time goes fast. I’m glad that, although I may not be keeping up with the newest trends and my home is not “smart” and I’ll never be a TikTok star, the mountains are helping me slow down and stretch time just a little bit.

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