On Aging – Moving Forward vs. Regression

So, I have 41-soon-to-be-42 years under my greying skull cap. In approximately 32 hours, I will have a brand shiny and new septum piercing.

I have wanted one since 1998,  which is when I got my first piercing.  Back then, it was a little less mainstream and would have definitely been a major roadblock towards a stable career in corporate America, which is where I needed to be, for medical reasons. Along the way, however, (circa 2002) I removed all my piercings in an act of “spiritual alignment”  and the dreaded and feared “growing up”.  I stopped getting tattoos (well, not really. Just not with the same frequency) and was trying, and failing, to clean up my life. It took many years to get to a place that is considered stable. While that was happening, I withdrew into my little shell. I hid my freak flag, and got along with the business of getting along. Well, that worked great for a period, and allowed me to stabilize my moods, get and maintain a decent job (I always worked – just not at the same job for very long) with decent pay and benefits, yada yada.  Buuuuutttt, the part of me that I like the best (I like all of me, just in varying degrees) was hidden from view; carefully sheltered, but being nurtured all-the-while.

I have a theory – It must be bunnies! But no, my theory revolves around medication and being sick. I was on medication a long time, Various kinds of medication for various kinds of ailments. In 2014, I finally gave the metaphorical boot to all but one of the meds I had been taking. This well thought-out act of rebellion has, in a sense, freed that part of my which was hidden. Yes, I am a little more loose with the tongue. Yes, I am a little more quick to anger, to find joy, to feel deeply. But, and I would argue this with any Psychiatrist, I am back to being me. Unfettered, unemcumbered, and slightly unhinged in a good way. I finally am back to making connections, with leaps and bounds, with a quickness that has been missing for so long. This freedom allows me to make quick decisions, without all the ho-humming that used to go along with it. It is, however, a bit different this time around. I am not making outrageously bad decisions. Rather, I am coming to conclusions quicker. Weighing the options faster, and allowing my internal compass to be my guide. This is not to say that my internal compass has not been used all these years. I have always used my own marching band. But, (and this is a good thing) during my medicated years, I was a tad more reserved in thought and in action. I still did stupid things, but I was able to recognize those stupid things and quickly correct them (unlike the many years previous). Now, though, without any mental blocks, I am free-flowing, and incorporeal. I act quickly, but based on quickly calculating the negatives vs. the positives. I realize that this may not work for everyone, but it allows me a sense of free flowing freedom. And it’s fun. I use a lot of word association, make up new ways of getting my point across, and feel like I am accessing my truest nature.  So how does all this relate to my impending piercing? Read on, dear Reader…

The above is all backstory, and meandering thoughts (I have never been on to stick to the actual topic). What I have been thinking, however, is how this all plays out according to my age. We have all heard the age is just a number thingy. And for some things that is true. You want to go to school, change a career, learn a language, marry someone – all these things and more can be accomplished without regards to age. Conversely, there are some things that have to be done in accordance with age. If you are a woman, and are I don’t know, let’s say 48 and above, for the most part, you are not delivering a baby. You want to be president of the USA bu you are 30 years old. Sorry, not gonna happen. You want to drink at the bar after coming back from some war that you have been fighting, courtesy of the American government, but you are only 20 years old. Sorry, no dice. So, that saying does not apply equally to all instances.

People want to act their age, for the most part:  Oftentimes, however, when you are young, you want to be older. When you are older, you look back at certain aspects of youth with a little jelly in your heart. But being older, you (well me anyway) look back at youth and say, great! that was an exciting and turbulent time, but I wouldn’t want to redo my whole younger life. It seems that the lessons learned while struggling through youth are wonderful. But those younger years are what made you into the person you are today (41-soon-to-be42). And to want to trade that in for a redo, discounts the magic of those years. Anyway, I’ve lost my track again. Back to the original subject…

Specifically, what am I trying to accomplish by getting this piercing. Since I’ve had a couple of weeks to think about it (again, not whether or not I will get it, per se; but what is the motivation behind it) I have had the opportunity to ruminate on moving forward vs. regression. Am I advancing my life, and all its various factions by wanting this piercing at 41-soon-to-be-42? Or am I regressing, seeking pleasures and such from my younger years? You always hear about the mid-life crisis. Is this my mid-life crisis? Is this my red sports car?  I’m sure some people will look at it like that. I don’t, however. Sure, this is something I wanted when I was younger. Something I didn’t do then, which I now have the opportunity to do now; in part, because I am older, wiser, more-settled, and all that other stuff. But here’s the thing:  I am not looking to be young again. I am comfortable with my age. Well, I have never acted my age, so I am comfortable with the age I do act, and the way my life is now.  But exterior forces, meaning people at work, friends, and family will probably take this action to mean something akin to a mid life crisis. Maybe I’m not giving my friends enough credit. We’ll see, on that front. My family, however, will almost certainly, have the idea that this is something the young me would have done, so on and so forth. Ugh…well, what can you do? But, my family will also attribute a percentage of it to me being me. That is good, because that is the correct answer 100%. Work will be a different beast, but honestly, the only thing I care about at work it that my performance is not judged differently. I definitely don’t care what work peoples opinions will be, in regards to the piercing. I just want to be treated fairly. If you disagree, sure, speak up. Don’t be a dick, though. If you like it, speak up. That is great, as well. I am not about censoring people. It is still work, however, and I expect people to behave accordingly.

So all this rambling boils down to one thing. I want the piercing. That’s it. Pretty simple. Not to look cool in the eyes of the public. Not to disturb (or bring on a myocardial infarction) my loving parents or family. Not to impress my friends with how out-there I can be, or to give the impression that I am hardcore. None of those crazy avenues of thought, though I am sure someone will have some of those thoughts; but simply, and beautifully, because I want it. Yep, that’s what it boils down to. Me being me.

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