Remember the days when you could just roll out of bed, run wet fingers through your unkempt hair, brush your teeth and be good-to-go?
I recall years spent at the University of Florida, high on Mountain Dew and cramming all night for an exam. Then, I’d crash for a couple of hours, spring out of bed thirty minutes before my test, pull on a baseball cap and race to class. It worked. And somehow, I managed to look fine---pressing on all day and night like nobody’s business.
Today at 40, life is way different.
By no stretch of the imagination am I excessively “vain.” However, in an effort to not frighten the children or the lovely, devoted man snoring at my side for the last eleven years, a slight transformation is called for immediately upon awakening.
Here’s the drill: I roll out of bed and tiptoe into the bathroom. Time is of the essence. Like a wild hog needing to be tamed, my unruly hair---which somehow over the years has changed in volume and texture and has evolved into a frizzy, style-less mop---gets matted down with a generous handful of water. A gigantic hair clip is my BFF as I gingerly twist the mane and clip it.
I pour a handsome lot of mouthwash into my recently-broken mouth to annihilate any and all unwanted nighttime visitors. A thorough rinsing of the face ensures any strange particles are deliberately washed away.
I wrap a fluffy pink robe around my weary body, put in my “temps,” (teeth) greet my husband and wake the kids.
Life’s adversities have taken their toll. I’ve taken a beaten, both emotionally and physically---many times. And I just finally admitted it to myself after hearing ad nauseam,
“Mommy is this really you? When was this picture taken?”
Yes, the remnants of a gigantic brain tumor removed five years ago didn’t disappear with its extraction. My face still bears a slight paralysis with a left eye that flutters independently from the right. My recent biking mishap that thrust me face-first into the street seven weeks ago, despite surgery, has thus far restructured my jaw-line, further accentuating an asymmetrical grin.
And lest I forget, pushing out five kids. Certainly, raising this spirited bunch has expedited the aging process---noticed primarily in the permanent dark circles swallowing my eyes and the random scratches, bruises and in descript marks my body weathers daily.
Undoubtedly, our life experiences are a direct result of the choices we make. Mine has been an adventurous life full of passion, spontaneity and a degree of recklessness. But no regrets.
It's all as a rites of passage journey that has churned out a confident woman. One proud of her scars.
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And despite all the imperfections and calamities, wanderlust still tugs at my heartstrings.
Because I never want to stop tasting all life has to offer.
I still believe in fairies and believe all battle wounds will magically disappear in time.
And it helps not to linger too long in front of the mirror anymore. This way it’s easy to maintain a sense of vanity and imagine myself the same as always. Just like my unbroken spirit.
Perhaps I’m delusional.
I don't care.
Because I’m still living my glory days.
And they ain’t over yet.