Suburban Snapshots

Birthday

Friday, September 17, 2010

Last week I turned 37. I love birthdays, and I think it's the first time the actual number bugged me. Not a lot, but some. I'm definitely over the hump of my mid-thirties, well out of that key 18-34 demographic everyone's so hot in the pants to market to, and though I don't feel any differently than I did at 23, or 30, I know I think differently. I'm sure my looks are changing, my face and ass seem to be in a dent competition, there are sprouts of gray hairs threatening to become a built-in headband, and cracking joints make it impossible to sneak out of Anna's room at night; I'm never sure if my ankles or the hardwood floors make more noise.

Then there's all that stuff you used to think was so important that you find letting slide, and younger you is like, "Hey, you know you're getting lame" and present you is like, "Mustering....strength....to......care."

I hardly check concert lists anymore, I drive a station wagon, I love grocery shopping. I stopped lamenting over Saturday nights in when we started cohabiting with creatures that lack both common courtesy and the ability to tell time. We watch PBS almost exclusively. I find radio such a load of suck that I've got NPR from 3 different states in my programmed stations. I couldn't give less of a crap about what Lindsay or Paris or Gisele are saying. I often use the term "kids" to describe the local high-schoolers, as in, "I wish those spoiled fucking kids would stop speeding down this street."

When Anna and I go to the playground on Saturdays, I check out the other moms there. I scrutinize their clothes, hair, their high-end strollers. Moms around here are pretty hip, in shape, but despite the details expensive sunglasses hide, I can tell they are not young. And then it dawns on me that I am also them. We all show up at the same spot each Saturday morning, we each have a kid by one hand, and a paper cup full of hot something in the other. Anyone seeing us together would group us, and it's then that I realize there's still some part of my brain that thinks I'm younger than I am, that looks at these other women as older, more mature, when really we're all in the same bracket. Clearly there's still some part of me that's not sure what the hell's going on or how I'm 37 when I just graduated college, like, yesterday.

The good news is that luckily, my closest friends are getting older with me. Some have been able to maintain a shred of hipness, others open their windows each day just to shout, "GET OFF MY LAWN" at passersby. I'm OK in this phase of aging limbo, and I'm sure Anna will let me know the very second I become an out-of-touch, total embarrassment, like, OMG.

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