Here in my house, or in the car, the grocery store, at a restaurant, or while shopping, we often play the How Old Are You, Mommy game. My nine year old is by far the smartest in the group, he gets that from me, because he was always quick to say 29. Last year he said I should start going with 31 so we upped it past the 30 mark, most of the time. (Baby steps ….) Last week, while shopping with the twins, we were counting by twos in the bread aisle. When we got to 28 I declared that was my age. Cassandra laughed and said I could be 28 today but not next week because it would be my birthday and I’ll have to get older. (Freaking kids destroying my dreams.) There was one other person in the aisle with us, listening to the very animated conversation. I would say he was about 40 and single because he had a basket full of easy to prepare items. He was laughing with us.
I said, ok, let’s go with 28. Cassie said let’s pretend today is your 28th birthday and then you can have another one next week. Cameron said we needed to get party hats. Cassie wanted to pick out some cupcakes. I wanted to be back living in Florida where they sell wine in the grocery store.
I’m going to throw my sister under the bus here and blame her for my struggle with my birthday this year. She’s hitting 40 soon, and that means I’m not all that far behind. When did this happen?!?! In my mind I do not feel I’m a day over 31. My other sister is turning 30 in December, my brother just hit 26, and I think I’ll just round down and join them. Actually, I hate even numbered birthdays. Those are the worst. I can handle one that ends with a 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9 ….. but 2, 4, 6, and 8 can shove it. (0 is just sort-of a reality … neither here nor there …. embrace it.)
I have chosen to work in a business where I feel women in their 40’s look younger than those of us in our 30’s. (Not me of course, I am the fountain of youth.) Plastic surgery, fillers, creams …. a lot of $$$$ to defy gravity and most in their 40’s are pulling out all the stops to compete with the younger crowd. I am all for doing whatever makes you comfortable and happy with yourself. I have yet to be botoxed, juvedermed, restylaned. Truth be told, I am deathly afraid of any cosmetic procedure involving the face. For now, I stay out of the sun and use some skin care products, most from the drug store, that I swear by and seem to be working. When the time comes to up the protocol a little, I’d like to go to Susan Lucci’s surgeon and not Joan River’s. Lucci looks exactly like she did 30 years ago. Her doc knows how to do it right. Rivers morphed into something else, pulled and tucked in ways that completely changed her appearance. (And I love Joan, may she rest in peace, but if she hadn’t been cremated I think her face would have stayed the same for all eternity, kind-of like a McDonald’s hamburger lost under the backseat of a car, only to be resurrected when you trade it in.)
I also keep myself feeling young by dating older. I haven’t dated a guy in his 30’s since I was in my 20’s. (I did venture back into the 20’s for a little while …. go me.) I do not particularly enjoy 80’s music, I never went to prom with someone in a blue tux, and my date never spent more time on his hair than I did mine. It’s a lot of fun to say, “No, I don’t know this song, ” or “I have no idea what show you’re talking about because I was busy learning to ride a two wheeler, watching Little House on the Prairie, and going to bed at 8:30.” It’s even more fun to say, “When I’m 75 I will be lunching with the girls in Boca while you’re …. well, you’re probably dead, but know you’ll be with us in spirit.”
So, this Friday I will hit one of those even numbers, dangerously close to 40, and I take comfort in knowing the general public seems not to know how old I really am. (I also think being petite tricks people into thinking I’m younger …. if you’re under 5’3″ you often get labeled as ‘cute’ and I firmly believe people think you haven’t stopped growing yet.) It’s kind-of like leading two separate lives, one as a mom, 38, 4 kids, and juggling all that comes with that and the other as 29 …. er, uh …. 31, reporter/new comedian, and single.
Final thoughts on aging in general ……
Watching my parents age makes me realize age is just a number. 60 is not what it was for our grandparents, 70 is the new 60, but while we appear younger on the outside and our minds tell us we are still young, it scares me that illness can sneak up and snatch our youth away at any age.
We spend our childhoods wishing we were older, and our adulthood wishing we were younger. Let the kids be kids but kick them out when they’re 25 and force them into adulthood.
My twenty year high school reunion is coming up. That snuck up on us fast! I will be bringing a date who will be close to his 30 year reunion to ease the pain a little.
In many ways, I have enjoyed my 30’s so much more than my 20’s. Sure, both decades will have had their great moments, their highs and their lows, but as a woman, being in my 30’s has been liberating. I am still figuring out who I am, allowing myself to try new things and take chances, and once I hit the 40’s I will continue to do the same.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my back hurts and I need to take some Motrin before I put on my high boots, get my nails and hair done, and travel into NYC to play the part of comedienne. I will then proceed to have two glasses of wine, struggle to stay awake on the train ride home, and wake up with a headache saying, “I’m too old for this crap.”