I never know which department I should shop in. My age places me in the “Misses” department but my body seems to fit better in the junior’s section. In reality, I don’t fit in either; I don’t want or need pants with built in ‘tummy control,’ nor do I want to have to worry about my how low my pants go when I bend over. I am too young for one department and too old for the other. So where do I go to find clothes that fit? What department do I fit into? The answer is that I don’t truly fit anywhere – not in regards to clothing department categories and not in other areas. While this inability to fit-in once bothered me, I now embrace it because I believe in just being me. I believe that it is not the number of birthdays that I’ve seen come and go that determine my age – it is my attitude. And I believe my attitude makes all of the difference.
This inability of mine to fit-in expands far beyond clothing departments. I’ve always experienced this weird dichotomy of belonging everywhere but fitting in nowhere. In high school I was friends with the jocks, the preps, the nerds, the geeks, the stoners, the hellions, and the saints but I was never a key component to any of those groups. They all accepted me but never noticed if I wasn’t around. I could drift in and out as I pleased but I also never felt like I totally fit, like I was necessary for the group to be a whole. I never felt like I completed anything. What I realize now is that I’ve always simply been just me and because I am OK with just being me, I have never tried to be something that I am not.
According to most people, my chronological age determines that I should dress and act and look and feel a certain way. But my attitudinal age says something quite different. So how old am I? Am I 28, like I feel or 43 like the math tells me? Does the fact that I remember when thongs were worn on feet and when Mick Jagger was not a creepy old man dancing around on stage determine my age? Or does the fact that I can run 80 miles in a week and not feel the least bit drained determine my age? Again, it goes back to attitude and the belief that I am just going to be me, no matter what other people think.
So I live this belief everyday. I will continue to learn because learning keeps me young. I will continue to talk with kids – to truly listen to kids – because kids keep me young. I will continue to run long distances because running keeps me young. And I will continue to be the age that my attitude determines because my attitude is everything. And finally, I will wear thongs – both kinds – at 50!
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