I have officially left my early 30′s and I’m not loving it as much as I thought I would.
I could always say that I still feel 24, but who in the world wants to be 24 again? I’ve loved my early 30′s. Young enough to have long hair but old enough to have an opinion–it’s been the perfect age.
Was the perfect age. I am no longer feeling so youngish. This year has aged me faster than any year to date. My waistline is thicker, my hair is thinner, and my gout is giving me trouble. I bypass my heels so regularly (cobblestones are a death trap) that they’re starting to feel like they belong to that other Annie, the young mom with an infant on her hip and two sizes of diapers in her purse for the “babies.”
I think the reality of my age really hit me in the face a month ago when we ran into a friend of ours at a restaurant. We took the kids to Chili’s on Base for a good old American meal. Lucky for us a family friend was waiting tables that night and we landed in his section.
He placed our order with the kitchen and in no time our food started to appear. Enlisting the help of a fellow employee, he brought everything to the table so we could enjoy our all-American feast.
“Hey Tom,” he said to his friend, “These are some of my good friends, let me introduce you.” I smiled and waved as he started the introductions. “This is Jason, he’s a great guy as long as you don’t do anything illegal.” We laughed for a moment at his joke. Nothing like law enforcement to make guilty adults giggle like nervous children.
“And this is Annie, she’s a real cougar,” wink wink nod nod.
Wait, what did he call me? I knew he said cougar, but I quickly decided that certainly he must have been referring to my college alma mater. I know what a cougar is–a woman who is old but still retains enough of her younger attractiveness to lure young men (usually young enough to be her children) into her web of poor dating choices.
But I’m still in my early 30′s, he couldn’t mean that. I’m not that old yet…am I?
“Wait, what?” I said.
“You know,” he said, “I mean you look good for a woman your age.”
My age? The very phrase made my age sound numerically impressive. “Wait,” I said, “How old do you think I am?”
“I wouldn’t exactly say you’re old,” he said casually, obviously unaware that using a lady’s name and the word “old” in the same sentence is a fast way to die of foot-in-mouth asphyxiation.
“Well how old would you ‘exactly’ say I am?” I asked with a tight smile while trying to keep my inner guard dogs at bay. This is why police officer’s and waiters always ask for a lady’s ID; it never pays to assume a woman is old enough for anything.
“Ah…” he said looking to Jason for guidance. Jason was rapidly slicing his finger across his larynx in warning.
“If I had to guess,” he said…
“Stop!” Jason burst out. “Just…trust me. Don’t say anything else, you’re in way over your head with this one.”
And that was the moment when it hit me: I’m not going to be youngish forever and that’s really stupid. I know I’m supposed to accept this gracefully and stop shopping in the Junior section already. I know that despite what I wear I won’t actually look Forever 21, neither should I want to.
But tonight as I made my way up the stairs holding my aching back and hobbling on my gouty left foot I had to accept the fact that getting old is really, quite undeniably, lame.
And there’s no talking my way out of this one. Happy Birthday to me, mid-30′s here I come.