Every day, we are getting older. Every hour, every minute, every second, we are all getting older. Certainly no one is getting any younger. As Kaia gets older, everyone observes and comments in wonderment, seeing her do things like crawl to walk to run, like holding a ball to actually throwing and catching it. With people of my age, though, in terms of “development,” people just wonder… how old is she against how old she “looks”? Is she getting grey hairs or wrinkles on her face, neck, and other parts of her body? Has she achieved the society-imposed “life milestones” like getting married, having kids, buying a house yet, etc.? “Development” means different things at different stages of life, and the world can sometimes feel like a stage where everyone is watching, waiting to give their opinion about you.
Well, last month, for the first time, I actually noticed wrinkles around my eyes in a photo that was taken of me. I paused for a second when I looked at it and then zoomed in at the corners of my eyes. Are these the beginning of crow’s feet? I thought to myself. Well, crow’s feet manifest a little differently on Asian skin vs. White skin, so I guess this was my version. I’m 37 and noticing these types of wrinkles for the very first time. I’m definitely getting older and approaching middle age. In a lot of ways, I feel very young, almost child like at times when I think about things I like and admire and things I care about. Other times, I feel completely jaded by the experiences I’ve had. I’ve never really quite felt like “my age” if that makes any sense. But now that I’m officially in my late-30s, I feel like at heart, I’m much younger than my numerical age. I’m unsure if that’s a good or bad thing.
Having a child to care for has definitely changed my perspective on life, no doubt. I think it’s made me a better person, someone more cognizant of the challenges that parents and caregivers face every single day without always thinking about it. It’s given me more empathy not just for other parents and caregivers, but for babies and growing toddlers themselves.
I’m not sure what my actual “age” should be if I had to decide what I “felt” like, but I do know one thing for sure: I am grateful for the days I have lived and the experiences I have had, both the good and the bad, because unfortunately, not everyone has been as lucky as I have been to have lived 37+ years on this earth. Ed wasn’t that fortunate. Our friend Raj wasn’t that lucky. And many others will never know what it’s like to be 37. So I celebrate today and am happy for what I have and what hopefully will be. Happy 37th birthday to me.