On the 19th I will turn 35, making these my last few dying days in my early thirties. I thought I’d approach this day with sadness at the loss of my blush of youth, regret for the things that I didn’t do with my life (still haven’t written that Great American Novel, have I?), and dread because now I’m staring down the barrel of 40 (40??!? How did that happen?!).
That didn’t end up being the case. Instead, I am spending these last few days making demands (after all, 35 is a big birthday and deserves all the fuss that my close friends and family can muster), and enjoying any extra attention that I can get.
Guys, I’m going to be 35 and my life is pretty awesome. Granted, I’m not running through the house singing while tiny cartoon birds change my toddler’s diaper (good god how I wish), but this life is better than any life I could have imagined in my twenties.
Plus, at 35 when people ask you what you want for your birthday, you actually get it. That’s probably because you are no longer asking for things like a trip to Cabo or a new car (not that I ever asked for those things). My big wish this year was a writing workshop (thanks hubby) and a fancy bottle of salad dressing from a winery in the Finger Lakes that my parents visited last year (thanks parents). Literally, all of my wildest dreams are coming true.
***Oh, and I keep telling anyone that will listen how awesome an edible arrangement would be. Seriously people, one with the pineapples cut to look like flowers… maybe some chocolate covered strawberries… I mean, come on, I’m almost 40.***
This is a much different approach than the one I took five years ago. The Lauren of my 20’s was a completely different beast. I am a few years older than my husband and on my 30th birthday I declared that I would spend the next few birthdays aging backwards until my husband and I were the same age, and then we could proceed forward together, as equals (because that’s how aging works). I think I stuck with it for two years. By then the reality of being in my 30’s had sunk in and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
Actually, it was way better than I ever could have imagined.
Gone were many of the insecurities, struggles, and trials of my twenties. Financially, I was secure. I had put my time in as a bastion of light in the dark recesses of the mortgage industry. Most of what had happened in the early 2000’s had started to rebuild and I had found stability in my corner of the market. And things worked out perfectly for me to be able to leave said mortgage industry and stay home and wipe butts full time.
Gone are the days of wondering how my ass looks in my jeans or what size dress I’m wearing. My body is what it is. Sure, I happen to think I look terrific (thanks mainly to awesome genes and a non-sedentary lifestyle). I am also not far enough removed from my teen years to remember how I felt about my looks back then. When I look back at old pictures, I realize that I was perfect. Same goes for every other period of life. In the moment, there was so much I wished was different, but when I look back I wish that I still looked the way I did then, as opposed to how I look now. I assume that trend will continue for the rest of my life. So I’m going to go ahead and embrace how I look now and save myself the regret in five years when I think, “If only I looked as young, well rested, and fit as I did at 35. Youth is wasted on the young, waaaaah.”
Obviously, I assume that I won’t embrace 40 with the same devil may care attitude that I have for turning 35.
And I love, and am loved, without insecurity. My husband and I have a solid foundation that I no longer question (except, you know, when we move because that shit is for the birds). I don’t have to worry if I’ll ever find love, if I’ll die alone, how many cats I can reasonably have before I begin the descent into madness, I know the answers to all of those things now (six, six is the maximum number of cats that I can handle at one time).
And now I’m wondering what the next five years will bring, and what the years beyond will bring. Will I continue to feel the same way about my life that I do about wine, that it’s better with food it gets better with age? Will I continue to embrace my flabby backside as much as my crow’s feet?
Another perk of being closer to 40 than to 30, you just don’t give a shit.
So, happy almost birthday to me. And here’s hoping that I still feel this way in the harsh light of Thursday morning. When I’m sure to wake up with a few new grays, a cake hangover, and tiny fingers feeling around inside of my ear canal.
35 is the new 35, because screw every other age.