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  • Writer's pictureTrish Bentley

The Aging Process: Caught Between Holding onto the Past and Preparing for the Future

Lines, lines on my forehead. Where did you come from? Be manifest solely as excess grey or an aversion to turn in after 11 o’clock. That, I can handle. After all, hair colour is relatively affordable – if you find the right brand. Also, “nothing of importance happens after 11pm.” Oh, dear God. It’s happening. I fear that the frugality process has started and my body has finally taken heed of a lifestyle determined by the natural predisposition to turn into one’s parents. I have budgets (eeek), bills (yikes), and, no worthwhile romantic relationships (bummer). The truth is: I am aging. I’m caught in between holding onto the past and preparing for the future. The reality of being twenty-eight, responsible, and single has hit me like a migraine on a hot bus full of offensive body odour. When did this happen?

I’m a recent grad school graduate. After high school, I spent a total of eight years in post- secondary, racking up debt. I’m not entirely complaining. I knew what I was doing. I had an idea that the day of “course completion” would be the day that I stepped out into the real world, grabbing hold of my responsibilities. It’s as if I’m playing catch-up – except, I’m the runner and all of my past decisions are catching up to me. It is more than just financial. My mother never told me what this age was going to be like. She had spent so much time prepping me to care for a family, that she had never even considered the possibility of me being twenty-eight, childless, and man-less. At that age, she had me – her only baby girl, born via c-section on her twenty-eighth birthday. Slapped once on the backside and crying about it ever since. You see, I never considered not having any prospective partners at twenty- eight. The idea of potentially having a good man around just seemed common enough to the point that I didn’t even feel like I had to try to make it happen. It was just going to happen. All leprechaun and no pot of gold. I’m still trying to discover what a “good man” means to me and, better yet, where the hell they reside.

As days pass, the familial principles of child rearing appear to evade me as a means of survival. I too, do my fair share of avoidance. I’m better at dodging questions like,“When are you going to get married” or “When are you going to have a baby” better than most. It is not a case of “when,” it is a case of “if.” So much attention is given to my ovaries these days, that I often feel like next morning’s breakfast. I’m not entirely unfamiliar with the term “dried up,” which is as offensive as it is crude. Still, while I’m running from my inadequacy, I find serenity in knowing that twenty-eight, responsible, and single might not be so bad. In times of reflection, such as this, I realize that each day is dedicated to growing one person – myself. I’m afforded the opportunity to make my own money, take care of my own financial obligations, and abide by no value system other than my own.

Lines, lines on my forehead. I know where you came from. It’s an interesting process. Aging, I mean. You are taken in so many different directions. It is so much more complex than the deepening of the lines on your skin or the greying of hair. It seems to be an enlightening web of contradiction that lingers. At this juvenile stage, I’m uncertain about if that feeling will desist. While my future is uncertain, I remain excited to see how it turns out – who it turns out with and where I, ultimately, end up. I’m on to continue that journey.

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