Midlife · Women

Pack Her Bags

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There’s a woman who lives with me and she has to go.

She’s mouthy and speaks before thinking. She’s late for everything. She never has any money when going out yet always manages to drink too much.  She’s the messiest of all slobs and honestly, the hair….

She is twenty-something, naive and fearless. She goes after things that are far too hard causing mistake after mistake. She fights for the sake of the brawl and quite frankly, she’s wearing me out.

You see, she is me.

I’m forty now and she is not happy. She’s anxious about my changing appearance. My hair is turning gray and my thighs are touching.  “Why don’t you work out more!?” I hear her yell in the back of my mind.  Then there’s the face in the mirror.  I don’t notice it, but it brings her sadness. She sees the lines around my eyes and the extra sun spots from years of sunbathing. “Why didn’t you cover up?”

She wants to eat whatever she wants but my forty year old body doesn’t have the same metabolism. She wants to travel and spend money on foolish things. My money is properly planned, earmarked for things like college funds, retirement and savings.  She begs me to take long weekends with girlfriends but I’m too busy with demands from the kids, home, and career. This is the life she built and she realizes it wasn’t for her, it was for me.

Then I hear her quietly ask “How did I get here? Who am I?”

This too makes me sad so I get an idea. Why not plan a trip, just for her. A wildly magnificent trip that she’s always dreamed of. My beautiful, younger me. She fought hard for her independence and never yielded. She was brave and took risks. She knew she’d make mistakes and she wasn’t afraid. She learned valuable lessons along the way so that now I can relax, sharing that knowledge with my adorable children. She cried tears and bled from the battle of becoming her own woman, out on her own.  My greatest gift to her, is to let her go.

So I pack her bags. Some clothes, a camera, her journal. I throw in my security blanket for comfort. She’s excited with anticipation. I’m scared. Will I ever see her again?

She’s gone now. Weeks go by and I’m more relaxed than ever. I’m able to focus on family and work. I can enjoy long walks with the dog and experimenting with new recipes. I enjoy the simplicity of life, lunch dates with my husband and a quiet nights on the couch. The nagging from my younger self is gone. When I think of her, I like to imagine that she’s sipping a cocktail on the beach in Kauai or discussing business deals in first class or finally sitting at a cafe in Paris.

She’s free and I’m happy, although I sometimes miss her.

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