By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

My, where does the time go?
By Carole Townsend

I remember being a young woman – admittedly a smug one when I was in my twenties – and hearing “old” people say things like, “The older you get, the faster time flies,” and “Better enjoy your children while they’re young. They grow up so fast.” I would hear these things, and arrogantly I would smile, all the while thinking to myself, “Only old people say things like that.” Keep in mind, when I was I my twenties, anyone over age 35 was “old.”

I suppose that all of us at one time or another had a healthy dose of the arrogance that only comes packaged inside a 20-something, didn’t we? When we are in our twenties, we are old enough to consider ourselves to be bona fide adults, yet we are young (and naïve) enough to believe that we will always be that young, that we will never be that “old” person spouting warnings to enjoy life while you can.

This week brings with it a stark reminder that I have, in fact, gotten “old,” at least by the definition that I used thirty-something years ago. Our baby, the youngest of our four children, will turn 23 years old. Twenty-three. And she’s our baby. She is nearly a quarter of a century old.  I remember the day I gave birth to her as if, well, as if it was yesterday.

The strange thing is, I don’t feel much older than 23 myself. Oh my joints do, sure. My hair has a some gray in it, or at least it did the last time I saw the natural color. But in my head, I’d say I’m about 25. Thirty, tops. I still enjoy a beautiful day, I still enjoy little children and dogs, I still love holidays and birthdays. The biggest change that I notice in the older, improved me is that I laugh a lot more, and I place a great deal of value on things I never even knew existed when I was that obnoxious twenty-something, like faith and deep, abiding love (not that butterflies, “is-he-here-yet?” kind of infatuation). 

I look at my daughter, and I see so many of my traits in her. She is spinning and twirling through her young life, working hard, preparing to go to graduate school, packing every free minute she has with dinners, movies and parties with her friends, most of whom are also in their smug twenties.  She is always planning for the next “thing.” Always.  I advise her when she lets me, and I admonish her to cherish every minute of today, because before she knows it, it will be tomorrow. And tomorrow, she will be in her 50s. That’s how it feels, anyway.

I advise her, and I encourage her not to wish her life away, always looking ahead to the next weekend, or the next semester, or the next year. Then she looks at me and smiles, and I know exactly what she’s thinking.

Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. She writes about family, from both a humorous and poignant perspective. Her newest book, MAGNOLIAS, SWEET TEA AND EXHAUST (July 2014, Skyhorse Publishing) takes a look at NASCAR from a Southern suburban mom’s perspective. She is currently writing her fourth book. Carole has appeared on local and national news and talk shows, including CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. When not writing, she travels throughout the region, speaking to various civic and literary groups, and advocating for the health and well-being of the family, particularly women and children. For more information, visit www.caroletownsend.com.