Published Friday, February 22, 2013

Meredith Leigh Knight column: Forever Young

By Meredith Leigh Knight

Special to The Newnan Times-Herald

By the time you read this, I’ll be another year older and a great deal luckier, at least according to my friend Sarah’s dad.

“He always said __ was a lucky age,” Sarah told me after I confided that I was anxious for my birthday to get here before anything else happened.

I’m not sure why he said that, and I didn’t even ask. I was just grateful he did. Father knows best, after all, plus he was a doctor, so that makes him doubly right in my book. And, frankly, I needed that hope to hang on to.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I had some incredibly wonderful events take place during this year of my life, first and foremost, the marriage of my daughter. I was also blessed to become editor of a corporate newsletter, a job I’d worked hard for. But with the good comes the bad, and I had to have surgery this past fall, a surgery that made me realize that not only am I not that young anymore, I’m not mortal either.

It’s all very shocking.

My younger daughter will soon be behind the wheel of an automobile, and my son, well, he’s not that far behind her. What started as a marathon has now ended in a sprint. I’m not sure where the miles went in between.

This year, I learned that sleepless nights spent rocking your babies quickly turn into nights of waiting on them to come home from the prom, and before you blink, you’re sending them off to college, and the next thing you know, they are grown.

Kids do, indeed, provide the great reality check. I can remember riding in the backseat of the car as a girl with my dad driving. He was a world champion Olympic weightlifter. He was probably my age at the time when I asked him, “Daddy, what is that roadmap on the back of your neck?”

They were his wrinkles, in case you aren’t sure.

I also remember asking my mom how old she was, and she replied either 30 or, God forbid, 31. I still recall how old and far away that sounded. Yet, here I sit, 30 years old myself (just seeing if you are still paying attention) and reminiscing about days gone by – something I swore, loudly and vehemently, I’d never do. 

Just like my girlfriend and I swore in middle school that we’d never wear pants that weren’t tight around our ankles because bell bottom britches meant we were old, and we would never, ever be old. Fortunately, we loosened our standards in blue jeans as well as life. 

I’m not sure what this age will bring. I’m not sure what the word “lucky” really means. I’m also not 100 percent sure Sarah’s dad really said that. A part of me thinks she fabricated that story just to cheer me up, in which case I know what lucky means. 

Lucky means having a friend who would do such a thing. It also means having wonderful people in your life who care about you and make you feel, no matter your age, forever young.

Only sometimes it takes a few birthdays to realize it. In my case, 42 to be exact.

© 2011 The Newnan Times-Herald Inc., Newnan, Georgia. Any unauthorized use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.