I was minding my own business a few weeks ago when I got “the call” -- that dreaded, shrill ringing of my telephone bearing news just short of a death in the family. It was a former high school classmate asking my assistance in our 20-year class reunion.
Could it be 20 years already? I shuddered. Cold chills went up and down my spine as tiny beads of sweat popped out on my forehead. What had I done with my life the past 20 years? My mother told me I’d have to deal with this some day, but I had laughed it off, just like I laughed off those embarrassing pink plastic curlers she used to wear in her hair. (I picked up a set at a garage sale just last week. Got a great deal on them, too!)
It’s amazing how a brief phone call can totally turn one’s life upside down. Suddenly, I began hearing those 1970s songs (now known as “oldies”) in a different arrangement, realizing that Mick Jagger was over 50, “Smoke on the Water” never did make any sense at all, and my “Seasons in the Sun” had literally faded into oblivion. Had the sun set on me already?
I glanced in the mirror. (Okay, I stared in the damned mirror.) I examined every tiny little crevice and pore, starting with my hairline, down past those patronizing “smile lines” to the base of my neck. No double chin yet, I thought.
The next few weeks were pure hell. Each day began with a grueling training program -- a 6:30 a.m. run in a futile attempt to bounce off that unsightly baggage that had somehow accumulated on my thighs overnight. I went shopping for the perfect dress -- you know, the one that would make me look 20 years younger. I found out that they stopped selling them around 1975. Three dresses later, I came to my senses. There was only one logical explanation: I was having a mid-life crisis.
I realized that the funny, crunching noise I heard each night as I climbed the stairs was really my knees. I had seriously considered adding potty training to my resume as one of my greatest accomplishments. Bran flakes had become a part of my daily routine -- and not because they were my favorite cereal. I held Tupperware parties just so I could count how many friends I had.
Life just hadn’t turned out the way I’d planned. Sure, I was happy. I had a wonderful husband and two great kids in the center of my life. But somehow, working part-time as a secretary and mom hardly fit my definition of someone my classmates had voted as “most likely to succeed.” Had I really wasted 20 years?
Just about the time I was ready to throw in the towel and my invitation, my seven-year old tapped me on the shoulder. “I love you, Mom. Give me a kiss.”
You know, I’m actually looking forward to the next 20 years.