Who ever expects to find herself old? Not me, certainly. I take for granted that I’ll live forever. But this birthday marks a milestone to be reckoned with, signaling the inevitable decline to come, the changes that will have to be made, the losses I’ll have to adjust to. Will I still be me?
Reaching back through the span of decades, I look for reassuring connections to my younger selves. Yes, there I am, the chubby-cheeked toddler clutching Raffie, her plush toy giraffe. I recognize the little girl who drew pictures of flowers and landscapes. Who believed in fairies. The grade schooler who wanted to be a ballerina and later an opera singer. The young woman who played piano and loved singing and performing. Who journeyed far to go to college, had adventures and made mistakes. Who married her sweetheart, gave birth to sweet babies. Who enjoyed and endured everything that came after.
They’re all there, my memories of me, comforting me that I’m still who I am and have always been. They will be my companions in old age. I’m counting on them to sustain me for as long as memory serves.