I’m taking a quick break from our RV trip posts to talk about my thirty-seventh birthday. Even since I turned 35, I’ve felt like my birthdays are harbingers of a new elderly status. Like I’m on the decline with more back pain and less energy and forgetting my kids’ names (Lars? Juno? Wait, the two-legged one).
The last time I remember being sad about my age was when I turned 19 and knew I had 1 more year left to be a surly, angsty teenager. That melancholy lasted through turning 20 since nothing happens at 20. But then legal 21 came and I was happy to age for the next 14 years.
My friends who are older keep posting about feeling more confident and wise now.
Maybe I’m in between the not-young and the wise. I am more confident in my parenting style and my priorities. I say “yes” and “no” more easily, and my schedule and life are much more inline with who I am today and who I want to be for my family because I don’t want to waste the time I have left.
But I lack confidence in other areas. I still have no idea how to dress for my age mostly because sweatpants are my spirit animal.
I wonder how much emphasis to put on a healthy life because I like potato chips and I no longer like running. How much do I give up when I’m almost halfway through my life? Will I regret that donut when I’m 81 years old or be grateful I lived my tastebuds to the fullest?
I finally miss things about being younger. I always had my own style (well by high school), but I had a lot more time to shop. I always had a big group of friends, but with all this talk of villages and parenting, the village of my youth was sleepovers and partying and moving away. I have friends today whom I love, but I’m not as good at getting close to people anymore, or more accurately, staying close to people. I don’t know why this is but not having a crew shakes my confidence in making new friends. Or means I have to make new friends, which sucks because I’ve gotten really bad at small talk. What I think I really miss is having longterm friends nearby — I want to go to coffee with someone who has known me since before I had kids and could say: “Those shorts are very you, Alex.” Someone who knows my story.
As I’ve aged, what I thought would happen is I would be confident everywhere. “Who cares if I don’t know anyone at the party! I’ll either debate Kirkegaard or the 2016 presidential line-up.” “Who cares if all those moms at school pickup are talking! I’ll walk up to them and join in because I’m awesome.” “Who cares if I’m wearing a shorts from the junior section! I thought they were cute.”
My good friend always tells me to pay attention to what I have rather than what I don’t have, and I know I have so much at 37 years old. I have more than I need and should focus on taking better care of it, but I just wonder how old I have to get to feel confident enough to not be reminded of that.