Two things happened this week that made me feel old and wise.
First, I was part of an interview for a PRN social work position at the hospital where I work. That wasn't the part that made me feel old. It was her resume. On it, she wrote that she had graduated from high school in 2004. I read it and re-read it, sitting in the conference room before she showed up.
What the hell--why, that's not even possible, is it? I asked the other social workers. I counted on my fingers.
, it was 9 years ago. So, yes, said one of my fellow employees. I leaned forward to touch my forehead on the table so that I could silently mouth the words to myself: oh, fuck, I am OLD.
While my collegue nit-picked and asked the candidate to clarify every answer to every question during the interview, I smiled kindly at her, wanting to apologize for my collegue who apparently does not remember being that young and new. Shit, I wanted to say. It's discharge planning. It's not rocket science.
The second thing that happened is that I agreed to take on a master's level counseling intern. She starts this summer, and I'll be supervising her. I interviewed her, and she was disconcertingly perky. She hasn't had her young soul crushed by the reality of managed care. And YOUNG. at one time she asked me about how I would be supervising her, and words just came out of my mouth, on auto pilot. The right words, words that put her at ease. We spoke for about an hour. She had lots of questions. I had answers to all of them. When she left, I leaned forward and touched my desk with my forehead again. Fuck, i am old. But WISE. when did I get so smart?
Followed closely by, this is real grownup stuff. I can't believe someone trusts me with someone else's life, career, and future.
I have those thoughts from time to time, like when I'm doing therapy with a kid, suddenly I'll think, if my high school teachers had anything to say about it, there's no way they'd let me be doing this shit.
I'm settling into my age, finally. Approaching 50 was causing me quite some anxiety. I was desperately trying to stave it off. When I turned 48 three weeks ago, I stood in front of a mirror, pulling my facial skin back toward my ears, wondering how much a mini lift would be.
The teeny boppers on my unit, with the history of absconding, batted their eyes at me today, and said, you're so pretty. Are you 32?
Nice try, I said. You're not making any phone calls.
It would be awesome to think that I actually looked 32. But if I can be the wise woman, that's good. I can live with that.