Reflections on Age and Lean Pockets

This year, I will turn 31.  This is the end of an era, as I will no longer be thirty…I will be in my thirties.  Big deal, right?

I stopped in Walgreens on Tuesday evening this week, around 8:30p.  I am out on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:30, which means I usually miss dinner with my guys.  Sometimes I’ll eat a bowl of cereal when I get home, but what I do most frequently is stop at Walgreens and pick up two important things: dinner and wine.  Why Walgreens?  Because I’m lazy, and because I always eat the same thing on Tuesday nights at 9p: LEAN POCKETS.

I know, go ahead and judge me, and watch the concern wash over my face…

I like pepperoni pizza Lean Pockets.  I eat them once a week.  I eat one and I leave the other in my freezer for my husband, so he can destroy the evidence.  It’s my one vice from my teenage years that I just can’t get over.  Well, that and Lip Smackers lip balm.  Be glad Wet ‘n Wild isn’t making blue nail polish any longer…

I arrived at the register to see Nancy, the cashier I usually see when I stop by for a visit.  Proudly plopping my purchases on the counter (a box of pepperoni pizza Lean Pockets and a bottle of Apothic Red because isn’t it kismet that Walgreens carries one of my favorite cheap red wines…) Nancy looked to me and said, “Hon, I’ll need to see your ID.”

And choirs of angels began the Hallelujah Chorus.

I proudly displayed my horrific driver’s license, and Nancy remarked at how different I looked.

“Oh really?  Slimmer?  Prettier?  Younger?” I questioned.  To my surprise, Nancy replied with, “Well, actually, YES!”

Now, as any mom will tell you – especially the mom of a buckshot wild toddler – hearing words that sound like “you look young and pretty and thin and well rested!” is the verbal equivalent of Publix having a BOGO on Ben & Jerry’s.  It’s that exciting.

“You are only as old as you feel, honey” Nancy continued.  “Why, look at me! Now, I’m going to ask you a question, and I promise not to get upset with your answer: how old do you think I am?”

Seriously?  You want me, the mom who has had five hours of sleep (DAMN YOU, CANDY CRUSH LEVEL 165) and hasn’t showered since Monday morning, the mom who had to check herself twice in the mirror this morning just to make sure she a). was wearing shoes, not slippers and b). wasn’t wearing the same thing she’d worn to work the day prior, to tell you how old I think you are?  Failure is imminent.

“Um…(dramatic pause)…55?”  See, the dramatic pause gave me time to determine whether I should play “higher or lower” with Nancy’s age, because surely this was a trick question, right?

“Ha!  I’ll be 63 next month!” Nancy replied.

:::more quick math:::

“Really?!  You look so much younger!”  Phew.  Nailed it.  Bag up my wine and processed dinner, I’ve won Plinko.

But here’s what Nancy’s words taught me: it’s true, that you’re only as old as you feel.  And I don’t feel old; sure, I feel tired, sometimes overwhelmed, and slightly neurotic.  But old?  I do not feel old in the least.

I have always been weird.  Loud, boisterous, funny (to me).  This hasn’t changed as I’ve grown older; in fact, with Miles, I find that I’m even sillier than I was before and I’m allowed to be.  Finger painting with our mashed potatoes?  Yes.  Making racecar noises all through Publix while pushing Miles in the racecar buggy?  OH YES.  Riding the dog like a pony?  EVEN YESSER.  Blowing bubbles in our milk?  Psh, like you’d even have to ask.

Miles has given me the ability to cut loose, let go, and embrace my inner silly, with zero cares for what others may think (not that I cared too much before).  Because if you think it’s weird, well, we think you’re lame, and we’re sorry that you don’t appreciate fun.

As 31 approaches, I have no fears about what the future holds, because I know it holds a whole lot of AWESOME.

Also, eating Lean Pockets is obviously a sign of eternal youth.





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