I turn 35 next week. I’m a person who loves birthdays, but I can’t say I’m excited about this one.
I wasn’t expecting this to feel like a milestone. I figured the feeling-old moping would be at least five years down the road. But then I had to check the box.
It hit me at Bible study, of all places. As I filled out my spring registration, I was asked the check the box for my age group: 20-35 or 35-50. And it occurred to me that I was at the end of that first age box, where I had been so happily ensconced the last fifteen years.
That box was wonderful – so many exciting life events. In that box I studied abroad, got married, bought our first home, checked off the only thing I had on my bucket list (three times, actually, but I’m pretty sure no one saw the second show), had my first child, traveled, had my second child, and loved all of it.
And now? I’m not sure I’m ready to identify with a new box. I really liked that last one.
Last year I overheard some fellow moms talking about how depressed they were when they turned 35. At the time, my 33-year-old self didn’t get it, but my 34-and-51-weeks self does. Because since then, the gray hairs have appeared. And, ugh, wrinkles.
I guess we have to focus on how we’ve improved over the years. Do I know more? Hmmm. I probably know less than I thought I did at 20. I think I understand and appreciate more about life. I pray more. My faith has grown, as have my relationships. As the lines on my face have deepened, so has the love – for my dear husband, my precious children, my wonderful family. At least by the time the gray hairs arrived, I know deep down that they don’t really matter. And at least they’re fixable.
Maybe it was just my 20-35 self who found them alarming. Maybe I am ready for the new box, to embrace the wisdom and maturity that come with it. I do at least get to be wise, right, if I won’t be dewy and youthful? Maybe I’ll finally figure out how to be punctual. I have a terrible sense of time and am such a procrastinator.
Actually, maybe that’s the key here. I should procrastinate. Let’s just change the box to 20-40 and put this whole transition off another five years. Done. Wow, I’m enjoying this wisdom already.
After all, my mom said not to stress over any of these new ages, that they really do just get better and better. And if there’s anything I’ve learned in this box, it’s to listen to my mother.
Bring on the cake.