Column: Age is a gray area for me

Most people say “age is just a number.”

If that’s the case, I’ve been allergic to numbers for quite a few years.

This week is my birthday week. I have spent approximately the past 17 years dreading whenever Labor Day weekend would roll around because it meant adding another year to my age.

Looking back, I really never had an issue with my age until I turned 25. For some reason, that was a milestone for me.

I think the idea that I was approaching 30 was what pushed me over the edge.

Then, when I turned 30, I had my husband take me to New York City for a long weekend. For me, I was able to escape not only the reality of beginning a new decade of my life, but also avoid the possibility of a surprise party that I most certainly did not want.

When I turned 40, I stayed home and did my best not to acknowledge it, as well as any of the kind wishes sent my way on social media.

I just don’t like the idea of getting older.

But why?

Sure, there is a downside to aging.

For me, first and foremost is gray hair. Prematurely graying hair is a strong genetic trait that, I of course I inherited. I’ve been fighting that lovely trait since I was 21. It’s not fun.

Physically, as with everyone else, things aren’t the same.

I’ve never been an athletic or physically active person. I don’t like to sweat, and I just don’t enjoy exercise. Now that I’ve had three back surgeries, activity is almost a scary idea.

Thirdly, I’ve not accomplished near what I would’ve hoped in my life so far. I could write another column on just that topic alone.

Having said these things, I’ve gradually come to a realization in the past year or so.

My age is what I make it.

So why make it a negative?

Yes, my hair is gray(ing) … a lot. No, I don’t like it. But there are many who would trade me for every single silvery white rooted strand on my head because they no longer have their own due to illness or many other factors.

My gray hair is a blessing.

Physically, I am weak. But I can walk without restrictions. I am able to hold a job that for the first time in my life I can truly say that I am enjoying. And while its mentally scary for me to consider exercise after healing from a serious injury, I can do it.

And I will.

My recovery is a blessing.

My accomplishments on paper may not be what some, including myself at times, consider a big deal. But that’s okay. I gave up myself to have three kids. They have come first since the moment they took their first breath. I wouldn’t trade being able to raise them during their early years, or be at school with them to plan class parties or take a field trip for anything in this world.

My biggest accomplishments are people: Gillian, Hudson, and Quinn.

This week I turn 42 years old.

Actually writing those words makes me cringe.

But I did it.

My years here on earth are a blessing, whether I can always see it that way or not. I’m working on it.

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Erin Miller

Galion Inquirer

Erin Miller is a reporter/photographer at the Galion Inquirer. Email her with comments or story ideas at [email protected] or call her at 419-468-1117, ext. 2049.