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.