I can’t identify the day when it happened. Maybe it was a gradual thing. Like a roller coaster fighting gravity to get to the top of the hill, the first part of my life seemed agonizingly slow. Then, at the top, a slight pause, and… the brain-shaking, frightening, no-turning-back descent.
Like most young people, I never thought I would age. I wasn’t going to have wrinkles or gray hair – I couldn’t even imagine it. One day, I woke up with crow’s feet around my eyes, and suddenly the lines multiply every time I look into a mirror. There’s no turning back now. I’m committed to the aging process, like it or not.
And with age, of course, comes death. Whether it’s progressing into my nineties or finally succumbing to the statistics of an accident or disease before I get there, my life is plunging down that hill at break-neck speed, and I want to get off the ride. Days have become blips as the wind-blown calendar pages turn over to another month, year… decade.
It begs the question… what have I done with my life?
First of all, I didn’t take moisturizing or sunscreen seriously enough, obviously. Secondly, there were so many things I dreamed I’d do. What about the books I was going to write? What about my contributions to the community? What about learning from all my mistakes and becoming wise and better for having gone through all the pain? What about my happy ever after?
It’s too late.
It dawns on me that while I may yet achieve some of the things on my bucket list, I’m definitely missed out on the wrinkle-defense plan. And so, as much as I detested my childhood, I find myself wanting a do-over. I want to go back and try again. I could do better, I just know it. I would make better choices. I would listen more. I would be a kinder and gentler Self. And I would really, really appreciate my cellulite-free body, and I would take much better care of it.
But if I’ve still got a good forty-some years left on this earth, what can I do with them? What changes can I make to erase any regrets and lead me to a well-lived life in my final breaths?