44

I have a recurring dream. I’m a senior in college and have taken a year off of swimming due to illness (that is what actually happened-I was a senior for two years since I decided to redshirt one year of NCAA eligibility). My coach is preparing us for the upcoming season in a pep talk, and I am calculating in my head how I will get back into shape. What my weight lifting regime will be. How I will qualify for the NCAA championships. How I will swim faster than I ever have before.

But there is something in the back of my mind in this dream that I can’t figure out. As I plan and even start swimming at practice, I can’t figure out why something is wrong. Then it occurs to me. I’m 44.

As I am swimming, I am trying to think of a way to tell my coach and my team (I’m the captain, by the way) that I am actually 44 years old. I’m really tired and trying to keep up because, well, I’m 44. And I’m swimming with my 18-21 year old team mates from 1990.

I wake up and there is a flash of happiness–I might still compete. And then I remember. I’m 44.

It’s not a bad dream. It’s just a strange one. It takes me forever in this dream to remember why this isn’t going to happen.

I’m not a girl who is against saying how old she is. I think that is stupid. Who cares? You’re going to get older. I’m not fooling anyone that I’m not 44 — I don’t wear the same clothes as when I was a college swimmer (size or style), there is gray in my hair, and I drive slower.

I also think it is interesting that my first realization is of my exact numerical age (when I was 43, I would suddenly realize “oh, no, I’m 43,” etc.) I don’t think, “oh, no, I have 16 and 12 year old daughters” or “I’ve been married for 21 years” or “I have a house that needs to be cleaned” or any of that. I think, “I’m 44…”

I don’t have a real point here. I think dreams are sometimes windows into what we think and sometimes they aren’t.

I can’t be a great swimmer and compete with 18 year olds. But the realization from my dream, “oh, I’m 44” can be a good thing. There are things we are to do, and sometimes they are dictated by stage of life.

God has a new plan for me at 44. Well, it’s an old plan to God, but it’s new to me. And he is revealing it to me.

Oh, I’m 44!

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