Hello. My name is Melody and I'm 39 years old. And I don't like it one bit. Perhaps my severe distaste for turning this age is worth mentioning because before now, no birthday actually affected me this way. Generally, January 21 rolls around and I'm all, "Check it out! I'm a new number!" and I bask in the attention of my peeps for as long as I can milk it, then get back to real life. Just with a new number attached to that life.
I wish for you to understand right now just how far from my current reality that longed-for, typical response to getting a little older every year was for me this year. And still is. Apparently.
Let's stop here for a second and set some ground rules:
- I'm not looking for you to try making me feel better by telling me how awesome and young I look. (Although let's be clear: you're always, always welcome to tell me that.)
- I'm not looking for you to give me a 20 minute pep talk about how age is just a number.
- Or about how "It's how you feel that matters."
- About how 40 is the new 30, either. (Although by the time next year rolls around, I'm gonna' be saying that one, myself, so just go ahead and get ready right now.)
- You also don't need to sit over there and go on and on about how I'm a mere babe and I've got years upon years Up On Years to live.
I know all that.
Frankly what I'd like for you to do is sit quietly and let me groan and moan for a few minutes about how I am not happy about having turned 39. Or you could quietly go away. That would be fine, too. You certainly don't have to sit here for this. I'm not altogether convinced that I would! (But I probably would, come to think of it, because I'm the nice friend. Remember? I would pretty much always sit here and listen to you go on about your existential crises. So maybe don't forget that when you think of clicking on over to somebody else's blog. Somebody younger and perhaps, y'know... perkier than I am.)
Now. Where was I? Yea. Getting Old. How it feels just a little bit that I...am...doing that.
What's fascinating to me is that because I have (typically had) such a casual, comfortable attitude toward aging...because I know and believe all that stuff I just wrote, this reaction took me completely by surprise. I am one pretty young 39 year old woman. I get that. But here's the thing. Turning 39? It really was weird! And I'm trying to figure out why, exactly, this number hit me so hard.
I've been formulating a few theories about this little crisis of mine. I know you're keen to hear them all:
- I think it's got something to do with the idea that I'm now in a bit of a home stretch, headed out of my thirties, which is a decade I had frankly gotten all comfy-cozy and well-adjusted to. The thirties are pretty cool.
- It's also got something to do with the numbers of times people call me ma'am.
- And there's the little matter of how I'm never, ever going to be 38 again. Ever.
- I think it has something to do with the fact that even though of course this is a personal choice, I'm still single and the longer I stay that way, if I decided one day that I'd like to consider getting my own "I Do Man" the statistical odds of that actually happening are, I'm told, dwindling a bit every day. Which is depressing.
- I think it's got something to do with how I sort of always thought I'd have figured out, a little more solidly, "What I wanted to be when I grew up" by the time I was "pushing 40." Instead of continuing to straddle the fence between all these fairly different - albeit creative - professional paths.
- I think it's also got something to do with the fact that this unfortunate - and frankly rude - phrase, "pushing 40" actually applies to me.
On another day when I'm feeling more typically-optimistic and cheery (not that I'm not cheery today - just cheery in a kinda' old way,) maybe you'll show up here and find a nice top ten list of reasons I'm clearly as young as that chick over there...