I have been dealing with middle age for some years now. As a teacher it is often difficult to explain getting older to teens so here is how I say it.

You know when you start turning into a young man or woman you expect certain physical changes but even so, it’s still a little shocking when you notice hair sprouting in new places and your voice changing. But even while this is happening you feel the same inside. It’s very much the same as you get older. One day you realize you have a few gray hairs. What! I’m only 25. Where’d that come from? But it happens and before you know it they multiply. Then one day you notice you have wrinkles around your eyes or mouth or you notice you have spots or extra freckles on your face or hands. HUH? How’d that happen?

It’s the same with everything. Before you know it, you have lots of gray hair and lots of wrinkles. Your skin becomes flabby, your muscles and skin sag. It all happens over time but on the inside you don’t feel any different. You still feel the same. At least, to a point.

On the inside you still have some insecurities about some things, you still like rock music and dance and hanging out with your friends.The difference is you don’t care about staying up all night. You can if you want but you just don’t want to. Or you want to go out with your friends but there are no real places for 40 plus people to go to. Still, you feel the same just older.

When you are young you get frustrated by not being able to go out when you want or you have to go to school. When you are older it’s all the same only your body doesn’t always wants to cooperate. You’ve worked hard all week and just want to chill. You don’t have as much energy as when you were young and going to the gym becomes more of a mandatory act of maintenance rather than something you enjoy.

In short, getting old can suck, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I no longer question what kind of person I am or want to be. I don’t look in the mirror every ten minutes.  I am much calmer in what I want to do. I no longer spend hours trying to make a simple decision like, do I go out tonight or what am I going to wear. I still go out but no longer care what others think. Age has given me confidence in myself. I feel good about myself and would not want to be a teen for any money in the world.

That said, I haven’t quite decided if I am going to grow old well or not. I try to keep in shape and I have had facial treatments to try to keep my skin looking healthy. No botox…I’ve earned these wrinkles. But I want to look healthy. I also color my hair but I don’t try to hide it. If you ask I’ll tell you everything…no problem. But I do want to look my best. I enjoyed my 20’s but my 40’s were nice too. Now I’ve turned 50 and I love it. I am more carefree than before and I have a lot of confidence. There will be a time when getting old will become more difficult. No matter what you do, time will catch up with you in the end but that does not change what is inside.  They may not be able to dance like they did when they were young but surely they want to.

So the next time you see an elderly person at the store or on the street, remember they are just as young on the inside as you are.  That old person in front of you at the grocery story is probably a very cool person.