Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I'm 35.

I'll be 36 in less than two months.

It's happening, I can't deny it, I am getting OLD. Realizing my next big birthday is going to be 40. Realizing the music and fashions of my teen years have circled around and are popular now with people half my age. Unlike my parents, who scoffed at my music and called it "noise," I can smirk at the teens going goofy for Interpol and Death Cab and say "Yes, honey, I liked them the first time when they were called Joy Division and New Order. And you will totally regret being photographed wearing that shirt."

My babysitters are 21, both of them. I don't feel that much older than 21, really, until I realize I was 25 (which felt so adult) 10 years ago.

And I'll admit this; I miss it. I miss being able to lose weight easily and look cute in a miniskirt and have long, layered hair modeled after the actresses on my favorite TV show and not look ridiculous, like I am trying too hard to recapture something that was. I miss having all trends aimed squarely at me. I miss freedom, sleep, total focus on my job and my social life. I miss that sense of possibility hovering around me while getting ready to go out on a Saturday night, that tonight could be IT, that I could meet The One tonight, or at least someone interesting. I miss having things that are just Mine. Many of the items I carefully chose for my first ever place I lived alone are starting to break now--it's been nine years since I moved into that tiny little apartment in a nieghborhood that's now, years after I left, becoming a hot spot for singles.

And I am glad I had that time, those young years of endless possibility. Some of my friends married pretty young, and I know I wouldn't have been happy with sharing my life as it began, with growing up with my partner instead of meeting him as a fairly well-formed adult. I also know I wouldn't trade a minute of my life now for then. It's so easy to glamorize the good times and forget about the bad. To remember the fun nights that ended at dawn, the anticipation of a first date, the scent of smoke and beer and hope that wafts at you the instant you walk into a bar or club. It's so easy to forget about the loneliness, the nights the phone never rang, the stomach-churning worry about how my life would turn out -- would I ever meet anyone I wanted to marry? Where would I work next, and would it be the right decision? Were all my friends going to leave town or get married and forget all about me? Could I have a baby? Would I ever have a place to live that felt like home?

I still feel pretty young, until I look in the mirror and see a matronly-looking woman with white-streaked hair (if I've been lazy about dyeing it) and fine lines serrating her cheeks. I know to some, 35 is a mere little chicken. I am still brought up short when I hear someone referring to another person my age as an "older mom." I was incensed that my new health plan automotically enrolls me in their "Women at Midlife" program at my age.

I wouldn't return to the past. But I'd sure love a day or two of being 25 again, just to appreciate it.


Theresa said...

I'm completely with you on the feeling old thing. The thought that in 4 years I will be 40 is really scary. I never really imagined myself at 40. I've imagined myself as a senior citizen but never as someone middle aged. I still feel like I should be in college most of the time rather than nearing the age when I need to get annual mammograms!

The music thing is hilarious, though. Ben's cousin who is about 20 was wearing a Smiths shirt and I was so tempted to ask her if she even knew who the Smiths were or if she just thought the shirt was cool and "retro." These kids today...

Amy in KC said...

I will be 33 in August, and was stunned when a man I work with mentioned that he graduated from high school in 1997. 1997? How can that be?? I graduated in 1991, and I am so young and fresh and... okay, not. I think missing the "possiblity" is what leads people to mid-life crises full of overpriced cars and terrible plastic surgery.

But after I read your post, I thought had about what has replaced "possibility" in my life - a job I like very much at a good salary, a husband I adore and the adoration of same, and two hard-fought-for, adorable, miracle baby boys. Wonderful trade!

But you know, even though I can't drink 'til dawn or pull off the Aniston 'do anymore, there are plenty of adventures left to be had. Maybe I'll take French lessons, or start painting, or finally submit a short story somewhere. Ah, the possibilities!

thumbscre.ws said...

On the flipside, there's the jealously/wistfulness/self-doubt which comes with doing it the other way (me: married at 21, house at 22, baby at 23)... I'm deeply happy with my life, but can't help but feel pangs of all of the above emotions when looking at the oft-drunken/promiscuous/FUN lives that most people my age are living while I'm scrubbing Kix out of the carpet.

tripmom827 said...

I hear ya! I just did a post on our senior prom, and it dawned on me that was 18 years ago...meaning it was longer ago than I was old at the time! It's true what they say, "youth is wasted on the young." :) But, I will still take where I'm at now, with my head screwed on a little straighter and caring a little less about what people think of me, anyday.

AmyinMotown said...

You did NOT do a post on our prom. I am dying laughing even thinking about reading it. Off to check it out!