Joanne Cannon: Being Young at Heart
Antiquish: The birthdays mount over time, but you can always be young at heart.
illustration by Deanna Staffo
It was no coincidence that those feelings started to resurface. After all, in a mere month it will be time to add another candle to my birthday cake.
They seem to be piling up and I fear a fire extinguisher in the vicinity of my well-lit cake would be prudent. I question whether my best years are behind me and if I have anything worthwhile left to offer. Mirrors that were once a friend have turned cruel and I am convinced scales are not only deceitful but downright evil. Aging is sobering.
It was no wonder when I wandered into an antiques shop on Second Street in Lewes that I felt quite at home with all the “other” antiques. Fighting off a wave of melancholy I meandered through this charming shop. From a distance a bench caught my eye and it drew me in. I was intrigued. Its appearance was classically charming and undeniably stylish.
As I neared, I noticed the subtle, yet telling, wear in the wood. I shouldn’t have expected it to be flawless; after all I was in an antiques shop. It offered no attempt at trickery with touch-up, rather it made a statement by appearing confident and content to be exactly how it was.
This piece had been around and life was lived all around it. It overheard countless conversations and secrets shared. Children played, lovers stole a kiss or the bench offered itself in times of comfort. I couldn’t keep myself from wondering about the people who lived their lives in the presence of this very bench. Maybe, just maybe, it originated in the home of the famous du Pont family. Perhaps it was sat upon when the decision to start up one of the most renowned companies was hatched. Or maybe it was in the foyer of Vice President Biden when he received a phone call to run with President Obama for the Democratic Party. This bench may have played a prominent role in Delaware history. No matter its former owner, this bench unquestionably showed worth.
Then I got to thinking. Maybe I was like this bench. I should be content with who I am now. I can never go back. I am exactly where I should be. Sure, I show signs of age and how can I not? My body has housed life and delivered it into this world. My face bears the worry and laugh lines of motherhood. Within me lies the power, wisdom and confidence only realized by experiencing life. Mature women have plenty to contribute. We are true professionals. We are beautiful. We are needed. We have worth. We are women.
Now instead of feeling sorry for myself I choose to look my best and take care of myself so I can be around to be part of the life that is still to come.
I felt much better leaving the shop than I did entering. The air is crisp and I take in a deep breath. It is so calming by the water with the lighthouse and boats serving as the perfect serene backdrop. Lewes has so many shops and eateries that I truly enjoy strolling the quaint cobblestoned streets. The aroma of chocolate permeates the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (which unfortunately is no longer with us). I am lured in and seduced by the plethora of candy. The little girl inside resurfaces.
I stop by the magnificent, rounded clock as I literally see the time passing before my eyes. We can’t fool time so I decide to carry on with my sweet life. Happy to celebrate my birthday with the best family and friends anyone could hope for. Yes, life is good and I can always be young at heart.