The term "old" is relative. A person who has been alive for ninety-five years, when the average human lifespan is only around eighty, could be considered old. A child of six years, who is still breastfeeding (WUTthecrap), could be considered old. And, a plus-sized woman of forty-five, who is convinced that she still looks just as Hawt in that neon tube top and spandex capri number as she did (?) in 1986, could be considered old. Age is just a number, they say - all that matters is how young you feel, right? Well, I am neither ninety-five, a Too Sexy For A Whole Outfit middle-aged woman, or a first-grader who thinks the terms 'straw' and 'nipple' are interchangable (didImentionWUTthecrap) - even so, lately, I have found myself afflicted with fleeting but alarmingly vivid moments of OHMYGOSHTHEAGINGMAKEITSTOP.
The feeling was comfortably sporadic until this month, when I had my 29th birthday - then, quite suddenly, it morphed into A Dilemma Of Epic Proportions. I am twenty-nine. TWENTYNINE. Which wouldn't be so disheartening in and of itself, but can only mean that the time is becoming increasingly imminent when I will be officially booted from the Twenty-Something club and, thus, required to relinquish all perks that come with its highly exclusive membership. (Except the jacket. They told me I could keep the jacket). The Twenties, it seems, is a particularly agreeable decade of life to find yourself in. Most people younger than that want to hurry up and get to their Twenties. Most people older than that would like to still be in their Twenties. The way I see it, it's because, as a Twenty-Something, you are basically old enough to do whatever the frack you want but still young enough to be generalized into an age group of people whose newest members were a teenager the year prior. It's the best of both worlds. It doesn't matter if you're twenty or twenty-nine, you are still a Twenty-Something - you are both young and adult. You are a Young Adult, the shizziest kind of paradox.
And here's where my Dilemma Of Epic Proportions comes in. Once I make the plunge into The Thirties, I will no longer be a Young Adult but will be magically transformed into a Real Live Adult. This is a matter of great concern.
For one thing, I'm already (usually) the oldest person present when the hubby and I hang out with a group of friends because, socially, I am not twenty-nine. For the most part, we end up hanging out with People Who Also Do Not Have Kids - this isn't necessarily on purpose, it just works out that way (thoughIhavetoadmitIdon'tmind). And, normally, those people are early to mid-twenties since, of course, many women have had their first child by the time they're on the brink of thirty (Idon'twannayoucan'tmakeme). Which is fine, since I am presently also a Twenty-Something, but what happens next year when all I have left of my Twenties is a cool jacket and some sweet tattoos? Will I be too old for my current social circles? It's not like I can just up and join a Mommy & Me group to make friends with Other Old People because, apparently, cats don't count as children WHYDON'TCATSCOUNT.
Also, does this mean I can no longer openly enjoy things that could be considered Somewhat Juvenile? The other day at Staples I bought a journal with a big picture of a kitty cat on the front of it - I needed a journal and I heart cats, so it seemed like a logical decision. And, one afternoon this week, I came home from work and watched The Emperor's New Groove (aka: Funniest Disney Movie Of All Time), by myself. When I was a teenager I would not have admitted to such things because, at that age, you still feel like you have to prove to people (including yourself) that you are Mature & Grown-Up. You opt for the journal with the plain leather cover and pass up the Disney cartoon for something Serious & Deep, because it makes you feel (and look, you hope) More Adult. You choke down coffee around other people, and are constantly burdened by an irrational fear that someone will discover you still wear Tweety Bird pajamas to bed. The Twenties are great, because you no longer have to do (or not do) anything to make yourself feel or look like the adult that you actually aren't - because, at long last, you are an Adult. You can wear silly clothes and read Twilight and listen to nothing but Justin Beiber all day and it doesn't matter - you are still (technically) an Adult. You don't have to prove anything to yourself or those around you, you don't have to do anything to make it more legit; it is what it is. But, how does it work in your Thirties? Does the stuff that you could shamelessly get away with in your Twenties suddenly become Weird & Off-Putting? Did I just buy my last kitty cat journal? These are the things I contemplate.
I'm convinced that when people are meandering between twenty-nine and thirty they switch into Dog Years Mode and actually age seven times faster than they have prior or ever will again. Which would explain why thirty is SO MUCH OLDER than twenty-nine (and why I've suddenly started to find it wickedly amusing to chase my cats around the house). But since this looming fate is, unfortunately, inevitable, I have decided to try to find the silver lining in my Cloud Of Calamity, and have come up with several reasons why being in my thirties might be (almost) as cool as being in my twenties (maybe).
I recently read somewhere that, statistically, women are perceived as their Most Attractive when they are thirty-one. Great, that takes care of one year.
2. I Don't Look My Age, or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Except My Name Isn't Benjamin Button But Other Than That
Despite my Shockingly Old Age, I actually look like I'm about seventeen (true story: last year, I got mistaken for a freshman in high school - two different times. Thanks?). Normally, when people whom I'm meeting for the first time find out how old I am they are visibly flabbergasted. The conversation usually goes something like this:
Me: "My husband blahblahblah".
Them: "Oh, you're married? ...Really?"
Them: "How long have you been married?" (expecting me to say, "oh, about five minutes")
Me: "Four years."
Them: "OH, wow! Um...how old were you when you got married?"
Them: "Wait...what? HOW old are you?"
And so on. Whatevs, it's been happening for as long as I can remember, and it used to bother me - but can you imagine how much funnier it will be when I can tell people, "Oh yeah, I'm thirty." The shock factor will be increased by exponential proportions (since thirty sounds/is in fact SOMUCHOLDER than twenty-nine), and I might derive even more amusement from it than I have from chasing my cats around the house this past month.
3. That's all I've got, sorry. But, if you have anything else I can add to the list, I'm all ears. Hurry though, because my ears may not be working much longer. You know, old age and all.