I believe I was 43 when this photo was taken.

Age 43Genetics! I hated this DNA when I was a teenager and in my 20s. I had twins when I was 23, and I swear I detected looks of pity when out alone in public with them as babies as if I were a teen mom. Everyone said I would be grateful for such a youthful look when I got older. It took a long time, but I truly am grateful. However, there is a flip side to that coin. People my age seem to think I’m younger than they are and therefore don’t have the same life experience to “fit in” their gatherings, conversations, or what-have-you. Maybe they’re right. I don’t have the experience of years of pessimism and worry about what may be. I’ve been an optimistic person with a youthful spirit who enjoys being silly and having fun over stressing about things I can’t change. All that is starting to catch up to me now, though, and it’s starting to take hold of those youthful genes causing them to deteriorate a bit more rapidly.

I’m grateful for “youthful” genetics, if there is such a thing. I quit smoking in my late 20s, and though I tanned on purpose every now and then when I was young, I stopped doing that a long time ago, too. As for the youthful spirit, it’s still in there, but I find the cranky old lady coming through more often than I’d like these days. Work stress, life stress, and the deflating feeling that some of the things I want to accomplish in life will never happen because there isn’t enough time OR money, I fear, are starting to create permanent scowl lines on my face. Now I’m stressing over things I can change but either don’t quite know how or it takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work to change.

It was after the above photo was taken that some very unexpected major life events happened back-to-back. There was the job change thing, and the medical thing. Enter the stress and panic. 😦

I find myself falling way behind on so many things. Trying to get caught up is like trying to swim to the surface of the ocean in a tropical storm. Just when I break the surface and gasp for air, a huge wave crashes over my head forcing me back under water again and again. If only I could take a whole month off work to accomplish everything I need to get done. Two weeks would be spent getting my house and daily routine in order, a little more than a week would be spent doing fun things, and the last few days would be spent relaxing and doing absolutely nothing but reading or watching TV. A girl can dream!

I’m 46 now, and my face is sinking. Gravity is winning. The extra 10+ pounds on my little body is assisting gravity. I’m starting to get that wrinkly, loose skin on my neck that shows when I lift my chin. That spot between my eyebrows is showing evidence that I furrow my brow often. I’m not scowling because I’m angry. I’m scowling because I’m worried I will never catch up … I’m worried that I appear not to care when the truth is I’m an introvert trying to be an extrovert but failing miserably. I suck at planning, and I suck even more at sticking with a plan. I suck at showing that I care because I don’t want to appear fake. I’m not an over-the-top gushy type of person, but I do care! So I worry that people think I don’t.

I keep thinking that if I could only get caught up, a lot of this stress would be lifted so I could relax more, have fun more, and do more for others. There’s always something new, though. I scratch two things off my list, and five more things get added to my list. AIR! I need air! If I take a minute to breathe, more things pile up to be done.

I welcome any comments with tips for catching up and staying on top of things. Any suggestions of sleeping less will be passed over. Seven is my magic number. Any less than seven hours of sleep per night for more than one night makes me a very unpleasant person.

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