My hygienist finished my regular checkup, walked me to the receptionist and said, "your birthday is coming up in a few weeks. You're turning 25 right?"
"Yeah," I responded, "I'm getting so old!"
My hygienist and the receptionist looked at each other and chuckled. "Do you remember what it was like to be 25?" My hygienist asked as they briefly reminisced together. "Mm, I don't miss it," she continued and smiled at me sweetly. "It'll get better, I promise."
I was surprised. It's been a while since I met a woman genuinely confident about her age. It was comforting. With every birthday after 21, I'm used to the teasing about getting "so old." I know the jokes are only half serious, but sometimes I do dread the day I'm no longer a young 20-something. 25 is so solid, definite, the official milestone to adulthood. And here is my hygienist telling me the older the better.
Maybe it's true. I remember when my dad took me to visit his former professor from his university in China. The moment she opened her apartment door, I saw eyes of an unusually calm soul. She was well in her retirement years, but barely looked it. There were normal signs of aging - fine lines, gray hair, fragile body. Yet she wasn't in pain or grief. These features lit her up and made her look stronger. You could tell that she had a momentous life and chose to appreciate what she had in front of her.
That was nearly 10 years ago, and I still remember how beautifully she was aging. That's how I want to live my years ahead.
Until then, what kind of highs and lows will I go through before I reach the "better" part?