A week from today, I’ll be 35.
I think birthdays are magical.
**Candles, cake and permission to be self-centered and demanding.
As I complete another revolution around the sun and emerge into a new year, I’m taking the time to prepare, clean, organize, develop new habits and make resolutions.
I don’t feel 35. Last week, someone mistook me for being 12 and the last time I boarded a plane, before I walked through the metal detector, the security guard bent down, put his hands on his knees and asked me in a sing-song way, “Are you here with your mommy and daddy?” I was too tired to be very amused, but too amused to be insulted, and I politely answered and returned his question with, “No I’m not, are you?”
People try to comfort me by saying, “You are lucky! When you’re 50, people will think your 30.” I’m not convinced it will work that way. It’s one thing when people mistake me for being 25, even 17, but 12? That’s a little much.
Most movies and stories depict persons my age at the peak of their lives. Children, houses and careers surround them. I don’t have that. I’m beginning to come to terms with the fact that maybe, that’s not what life has in store for me.
Sometimes, I’ll be at a 35 year old friend’s house, and it’s so “grown up” in there that I keep expecting their mom or dad to come around the corner to greet us and ask us how school was. I have to snap out of that mode and remember, we’re the grown-ups here, no other grown-ups but us.
I was digging through one of my old journals and found an entry that I wrote almost 10 years ago to date. I had just turned 25. I thought it was amusing, so I wanted to share:
I don’t know much, but this is what I do know from a quarter of a century I’ve spent with all of you.
1.) Sunsets are pink because of the pollution.
2.) Soft blades of grass can break through concrete.
3.) It’s not better to have loved and lost than never to loved at all.
4.) What is important to most is not really that important.
5.) Humans by nature are manipulative.
6.) Sea coral can live and grow inside of a human body for up to a year.
7.) Spring comes just when you think you can’t take it any longer.
8.) Chocolate brownies taste better when you’re stoned.
9.) Most people are alone in this overpopulated world.
10.) Humans are complicated and like to complicate everything.
I had just come out of a relationship when I wrote this. The only escape from the pain was in sleeping. My friend Nicole took me out for my birthday that year, and the whole time I just wanted to go home and sleep.
I remember so vividly breaking the news to my mom. She had just come home with extensions in her hair and looked like an Asian Whoopi Goldberg. I smoldered the humor of her new hair-do with my sobs.
She seemed just as shocked and helpless as I was. The wedding had already been planned, the dress hung in the closet, the tickets and visas secured.
She wanted to fix it. She suggested that there might be a chance that we would make up. She held me like a baby in her arms as I cried and her cornrow extensions fell against my shoulders and back.
How old/young do you feel?
Happy Birthday Anna. ( albeit a little early) I can tell that you are in a better place than you were 10 years ago, and that I am happy to see it. Your writing has such magic to it. I love your whimsy and the way that you invite all of us in to see it.
Sometimes it takes heart break for you to see how good what is coming truly is. Sometimes you have to feel the flame of a pain you thought would kill you so you can fully experience the joy that you know will sustain you. My own experience with that burning pain is a different sort of loss… but it has taught me how to truly revel in every second that I can of the joy that life has to offer.
Beautiful words Melissa, thank you.
Yet again. You just took me on the ride that you had over the past 25 years…heartache, shock, sadness, discovery, connection, insight, wisdom, sassy-ness, insult, and all of our human-ness.
How old do I feel? I turn 37 next month and it seems like someone else birthday. So much has happened in my life yet so much has yet to reveal itself and uncover. Maybe I feel like I am 28? 30? Not 37. Saying I am 37 makes me laugh out loud a bit…because how can that be? When my mom was my age, I was 18!! When I think of what I was at 18, and how I viewed my mom I at that time, it honestly doesn’t fit together in my head at all. Life is so fast, we just blink and it’s gone. What a crazy place we live in. I say: don’t grow up. If growing up means a white house and a picket fence and feeling like you are living in your parents house, it honestly isn’t worth it unless that is what you really want. I say live to what fits YOU. Look at me, I am still wearing ruffled pants, renting, and still love pizza on a Friday night simply because it’s who I am. I can pull it together when I need to, but otherwise I say live as old you feel. And ask for some ruffled pants for your birthday while your at it!
Ha! I love it Heather, pizza on a Friday night too:)
I really enjoy reading your blog, you have a amazing gift of making any subject (example; poop stories) a enjoyable read. I had to comment because I relate to your almost 35 but do not feel like it. I took my ten year old to sign up for band next year. She and I were waiting in the line so she could try out a flute, we got to the front and the guy asks “Is your mom here?” I’m standing right beside her. Needless to say I don’t look my age either. And I do not have the house, career, or picket fences……and I’m ok with that too. Have a Happy Birthday Anna!
Hi Julie. Thank you for the compliment and the happy birthday wish. I bet that band instructor thinks twice before inquiring about parents now. I might have spoke too soon about not feeling my age. This morning, I woke up and couldn’t move. I panicked, and tried to get dressed and ended up on the floor, crying and calling my neighbor for help. I don’t know what I did to my back, but I received a humble awakening to what it feels like to be old and helpless and I feel even more grateful now for the gift of looking young, even if it is only 12 years old, since I’m hoping I’ll heal as fast as a 12 year old would.
I saw this reply just today….Aw, I hope you are feeling much better Anna. Getting old sucks! <— oh that's my twelve year old response.
I finally figured out how to leave comments I think lol! Could it be I’m 2 years away from 35? On my 32nd birthday I was Carded to buy a Lotto Ticket, Liquor yes, Cigarrettes if I smoked maybe, but a Lotto Ticket? Don’t you only have to be 18 to buy a lotto ticket?
Since I was Young ppl always thought I was much older than I am, they said my mannerisms or my “old soul” or some rediculous males on the singles circuits were always convinced I AM / WAS lying about my age lol (I never have, but now I have fun telling men “A true lady never tells her age” lol )
Tell Us more about this going back to school thing? I didn’t see your classes in the Summer Milw Rec book 😦 Now that My ankle can bare some weight I can’t find you, except to possibly show up like a lost puppy at your doorstep Hoop in hand, and Service dog wondering what on Earth we are doing?! LOL
I’m going back to school in the Fall I just got my 2nd letter of “acceptance” It’s hard to believe that a Technical college (Smaller classes) wouldn’t Re-accept me after I graduated with my Associates degree from them in 99 lol. Why do I still have to go to orientation?
I don’t know if I feel old, but I feel this drive to get back out there… (I’ve been single since I was about 26) Meaning not in any LTR’s, And I’ve finally reached a point in my life where I can talk to my ex without feeling the unbelievable amount of sadness and pain where I felt like my whole world dropped out from under me. I didn’t think we would ever reach this point nor want to! lol This is what time does to you, I don’t buy it “heals all wounds” but I believe we grow, we change, but we don’t realize it until we are confronted with something we thought we couldn’t handle.
This brings me to the last 2 comments maybe, b/c I feel like I feed off your blog and I share with you, but just alittle at a time… lol
When I was 19-age 23 I had 9 major Brain surgeries, (hence my seizure alert/mobilty dog) OH yeah and I learned JUST Learned through PT that I can Stretch out my calf without sitting on the floor or balancing like you (you’re like a Noodle) 😀 (I have to push against the wall and stretch one leg out behind me… hummm why Didn’t I think of that?) lol
I have felt the helplessness before when Everyone was in College and doing their partying, and their drinking and whatnot, I was fighting for a leave of absence, I was in the ICU with a Staph Infection that took over my brain and my body, with a cathader hanging outside my belly. Yeah not the best Look! I couldn’t open the boulon powder the nurse gave me with the cup of warm water to drink before a test b/c the test time had runneth over… My dad had to do it! HE’s a story probably for my own blog !
All the friends I had couldn’t deal with this, with that, I was the girl they came to when they had a problem, a guy, a job, school whatever, I was the best of getting us out of trouble by staying out of trouble because I was on the straight and narrow. And What I learned? I learned almost nothing is constant, Gone are the friends I thought I would have a life time, but half a life time, ok a quarter of a life time was still awesome.
And i’m not great at keeping friendships going, first I don’t drive, and all that time alone I learned I can do things by myself! Go to the movies, shopping, dinner on my birthday, skip Easter drama so on and so forth… So that was part of why I started signing up for those classes you and I met in! 😀
And It is part of why I go to the Pre-Dating events! And It’s definately why I laugh TONS, because Crying doesn’t pick up the pieces for you, It causes more frown lines I’ve heard… (but then again if this was a men’s blog consider that I just heard a big Belly male, can gain 2 inches onto his penis if he get’s rid of the belly) lol (File that away for when you are really OLD!) hahaha
ONE LAST THING BEYOND HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!
IS ANNA THAT Little Silver Candle Lantern You have in your Cape Cod Sun Room, At your apt, The one with the stars on the top, I’m coming over to get it! I have the Matching one, EXACTLY like it! lol EXACTLY i bought it at Goodwill Last Summer, and I want it’s match…. See There IS a Reason I know you… YOU HAVE GREAT Ecentric Taste! 😀
Hearts Off to you! 🙂
Thanks Casey, you’re great! Yes, I bought my lantern from Goodwill too. You’ve been through so much Casey, and yet you make humor and light your focal point. That’s a gift. I can’t wait until you get your blog public. If this is the stuff you’ll be sharing, I think many would appreciate your words and humor. Maybe even your future man?