The AARP is creeping up the driveway
Yesterday was OW’s 42nd birthday and it got me thinking again about age. We never expected to be parents at our age. I know it’s much more common now for women over 40 to have children, but it certainly wasn’t in my life plan.
We’ll both be eligible for AARP (the American Association of Retired People, for non-U.S. folks) before our kids start high school.
Stop and think about that for a moment.
Have you recovered from the shock and horror of that? I haven’t.
I’ve been thinking about the various things that come with age. What does retirement mean to us now? What did it mean to us before? We’d never really talked about it. Neither of us has been good about putting money aside for it and now we have that plus the costs of raising children to think about. Fortunately our only debt is a mortgage, one car payment and OW’s student loans. We don’t carry a balance on our credit cards and pay cash for things like furniture, home improvements, etc. Still, we are now living on 2/3 of our former income and have a lot more expenses. Will we be able to keep up with our changing finances? It’s nerve-wracking.
The physical changes that happen as we get older frighten me a lot. I wasn’t in great shape before I had these kids. I have a good figure but that’s mostly luck. I looked great with my clothes on but not so much without. I was slim but flabby and had zero stamina. I couldn’t run (or probably even walk) a 5k if my life depended on it. OW is in much better shape than I am but he is obese and already has issues with his joints.
I feel truly compelled now to get into shape. I desperately want to be an active mom, not one schlumped on the couch without the energy to get out and play with her kids, but it’s really intimidating. I’m only 5 to 10 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight but I’m certainly in no better shape now than I was before. When and how am I supposed to find the time to exercise? I generally do my writing in 15-minute blocks when they are both (thank you Universe!) sleeping at the same time. I tweet, do email, etc. from my smartphone while I’m nursing or just holding. I don’t know how to fit in real exercise. Plus, I’m just generally so intimidated by the prospect that it makes me wilt to even think about it.
I think OW and I are generally in good health. Aside from not being in shape (which is a big deal, I know) neither of us has serious physical health problems – so far. That will likely change as we age and I am worried about saddling our kids with our problems before they even have a chance to start families of their own. I am probably being too pessimistic about this but it does worry me. I know that the best way to head that off is to make sure we take good care of ourselves, so I shall refer myself back to the previous paragraph.
The positive in this area is that I am pretty big on eating well. We don’t follow any kind of extreme plan, but I generally refuse to make food with ingredients that come out of boxes and cans. No cream-of-something soups, no instant anything, no Chef Boyardee, no Velveeta (insert extra gagging noises here), and no pretend cheese that comes by the slice wrapped in weird plastic. Oh – and I want to make an announcement: No Totino’s Pizza Rolls shall ever cross the threshold of this house!
So now we’re faced with being 46 when the boys start kindergarten. OW and I will be 56 when the boys start high school. I imagined myself at 56 having several grandchildren, not surly teenage boys.
How in the world are we going to keep up? I will D.I.E. if anyone ever asks me if I’m their grandmother. That’s unlikely right now but 15 years from now? I’m not so sure. Are you an AMA (advanced maternal age) mom? How do you feel about it? Do you believe that we really are as young as we think we are? Have you had to change your perspective on things now that you have small children?
Bare your soul to me, please.
That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.