more than one voice

Saturday, June 2, 2012

paradox of aging

Jess, my eldest daughter asked me the other day if it seemed like time had flown from 20 (her age) to 45 (my age). This got me thinking about how to reply to this question. 

Jess (20) and Clare (45) - what is a number?

When I work at the shop I look around at all the young moms with there little children, and realize just how fast time has gone.  It seems like only yesterday that I was that young mom with my two small girls, now they are all grown. 

I look at those young moms and see something on their faces - an assurance, a confidence, I don’t want to call it arrogance, it’s hard to explain exactly what I mean. But I know that I felt that way too a few years ago, before the last sparks of youth left me forever.  I was confident then that I had enough time to achieve all the things I thought I was capable of achieving – even though I didn’t really have a plan. Life seemed easier, infinite, like it would go on forever, but now when I look in the mirror I see that youth has left my face and I am well and truly into middle age.

From that perspective – my answer to Jess’s question would be yes, life has gone very fast.

But then when I sit and contemplate life and think about the many experiences I have had, then I think my answer would be – no. It would seem that life is a bit of a paradox – what a surprise!

I must admit that I have a nostalgic pang for my youth.  I sometimes wish I could go back and redo, take more time to appreciate being young, to be more present in my life instead of always wishing for tomorrow to arrive.

I think my final answer to Jess would be:  be present in your life, be mindful and appreciate each day.  I know that when I look back those are the days that I remember the most, the days that I was fully present are my happy days, and that is really what counts.

hallo - Kate (15)


  1. Hi Clare, you're right to say be present. The most weird thing about age is that our bodies and skin grows older but inside we are the same. More experienced but still the same. As I grow older I can more understand my grandma who said she didn't feel old inside (she was 96 when she said that)but her body wouldn't play along any more. I'm glad to be older though, (54) life gets more calm with age and one does not compare as much as in earlier years.
    I can still be childish and I love Handymans surprise when I am.

    Take care.

  2. clare - you DON'T look 45 - you look so young! yes, those missing years as they fly past so fast!

  3. I'm enjoying the age I am but like you, look at young mums and see myself all those years ago. I'm so happy that my own children are more relaxed and happy with their youth than I was. I had a lot of difficulties back then. Life is a paradox but we must appreciate every hour of each day because we don't know how many we have left. Life is precious and too quick.
    Jess xx

  4. Loved your post Clare - I could identify with what you said about wishing for tomorrow to arrive, I too wish I had been more present to my life in my younger days. I'm 46 and whilst I don't feel it on the inside, my outside is reflecting middle age - time, it's a weird thing :o) x

  5. I don't know what 45 looks like. I see a blue eyed lady who writes beautifully, and paints passionately. A lady that challenges her self and reflects on her self. But age, is never much relevance to me.

    There will always be our child self, apart of us our whole life....I don't believe that can be taken away.

  6. (musical note) DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME. love your post sweet clare. i will soon turn 63 and last night i dreamed i got to start all over...with living...not youth. my sister was with me and we lived in caves and people showed us how to find our water we would need, where we could sleep and what to do at day break...i never wanted to wake up, it was such a wondrous dream. and it was with me all day...i thought...hey, thats a way to look at this age can start right where we are and change ANY THING! LOVE YOUR ANGEL! YOU ARE ONE. XO

  7. When I popped into the grocery store on my lunch break today and saw a young mom with a baby, I thought, "I'm glad it's not me." My daughter is in middle school now and I'm glad that those baby days are over. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed those baby days and wouldn't trade them for anything. I loved watching my daughter grow. But I couldn't do it again. I think I am starting to settle into that idea now, of not being young anymore. I will be 37 this year and that number seven is hitting me a bit hard.

  8. hi clare! i'm 46/similar age to you...
    + i am so w/you about the loveliness
    of being present..+ how precious our
    days are (+ children!). xo

  9. An inspiring post, Clare. I think a lot about my past, present and future. Most of the times I wonder what my life would be like if I had done things differently, and yet also can't imagine if I didn't have the things I do now.

    Most of all, I wonder if I have done enough and will there be plenty of chances for me to do more in the future. Life is heavy when you think too much about it, don't you think? LOL! :D

  10. True wisdom for your daughter. I whole heartily agree, times moves fast and slow. What matters is to enjoy your life. Too much sadness to dwell on, better to be a part of the solution and work for good change in the world.
    Your daughter is lucky to have such an introspective and intelligent Mom.

  11. Good advice life to absolute fullest with thanksgiving. I love the photos of you and your daughters...such lovely women. We are the same age...I am 44. I like being in my 40's.

    I LOVE your poetry dress in the next post! What a neat creation!


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