One afternoon, when we were 13, my two best friends and I made a very serious pact. We were sitting on the rocks outside my parents house, bored because we were 13, which was too old for playing Barbies, but not old enough to actually do anything we thought might be fun.
Right then, we promised each other that once we really got to start living (because there had to be more to life than being 13) we were never going to stop.
Even when we turned into old ladies — especially when we turned into old ladies! We promised that we would never be like our grandmas — wearing bad clothes, watching The Price is Right, cooking pot roast, and knitting.
We would live. And live loud. We would be wild, obnoxious, inappropriate old ladies. We’d be old! We could finally get away with anything. No one would judge us or tell us to talk like a lady or scold us. We could tell the men who told us to smile to right off.
We would wear rainbows on our pants. We would stay up all night anytime we wanted to, playing video games and eating chips. We would make only carrot cake for dinner, and we’d date men years younger than us and scandalize our grandchildren. We would be old and alive and having the time of our life.
Thirteen-year-old dreams aside, I’ve kept those two girls in my life, and we still have these talks.
And while we’ve lived more and definitely had our share of fun, right now we all seem to be stuck again. Especially as we are all in the trenches of motherhood.
So when we do find each other on a rare night of reminiscing, we again promise each other that when we really get to start living — because there has to be more to life than being a mom — we are never going to stop. We will live. And live loud. We are going to wear (faux) fur coats, get tattoos all over our bodies, and sneak into hotel pools.
We will get our heads shaved into mohawks right before Thanksgiving dinner. We will be the fun grandma who takes their grandkids on the scariest roller coasters. We will jump out of planes, throw parties in our retirement communities that last for days, play the most inappropriate practical jokes.
We take these dreams of a wild and free future, where no one on the PTA will be judging us, no one will care about how we raised our children (they’ll be raised already), good or bad, and the shit that really matters will be the only things left. Our friendships, our loved ones. I will have done my job as a parent. The people who will still be in my life will be the ones worth having there.
Little by little, my wonderful old lady self is being set free. Because the older I get, the more I just don’t care about stuff that doesn’t matter. The more wrinkles I get, the freer I am as a woman. So maybe if you see me rocking in my SUV with the car seats in the back, singing Sweet Child O’ Mine, you’ll know that I’m just preparing myself for a future of being that granny who doesn’t give a shit about what anybody thinks.