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.



  1. Happy Birthday!! Embrace your mid thirties! They are great. (ps you do look great ALL the time)

  2. Happy Birthday Annie!

  3. Happy Birthday! Getting there is rough! Going to be 39 on my next birthday and people always think I’m older than I am because I have an 18 year old daughter in college.

    If it makes you feel any better I have a story of my own to share with you (only because I enjoyed yours so much this morning). When I was 25ish I was with my sister and we ran into someone she knew that I didn’t. They visited a minute and then the person asked if I was her MOTHER! Mind you… I was with my OLDER sister! Now THAT is rough! 🙂

  4. That’s pretty funny…that poor guy was in a loose loose situation. You’ll never look or Art old Annie. It’s not your style.
    Yeah, we can feel those added extra pains, and inches around our waist…..but you’ll alway rock it.

  5. Happy Birthday from one October baby to another!! I realized I must be getting old because when I tell younger wives my 30-ish age they wince and then look at my sympathetically, like I just said my dog died. I’m not going to worry about it anymore, that takes up valuable time I could be using to eat cake.

  6. So funny. I think you look fabulous, but I can identify a bit.
    …I still want to deny that I’m old, and I’m turning 41 in a couple of weeks, ugh…I’m not even in the 30s anymore let alone the mid 30s… and I have a kid in high school!

  7. Amen, sister. Amen.

  8. I hear ya. Mid 30’s have been a tough pill for me to swallow as well. The hardest thing is knowing I look my age. No more passing for being in my 20’s anymore. Ouch.

    Even when the kids aren’t with me, people still know I have em. I just have that ‘mom’ look, no matter how well my makeup is done, how cute my clothes are or how much I am rockin’ heels. Geesh. Life is coming at me too fast for me to be able to adjust to each new change. Slow down already, will ya?!

  9. Hey, at least he thinks your a cougar. It’s better than not being one, right? I’m feeling the same pain, looking at another birthday draggin me closer to my mid thirties next week. I can’t decide if its the actual number or the fact that my kids are getting to the age where i don’t carry diapers in my purse anymore. Either way, it prompted a trip to the hair salon (blonder, please!) and a serious pinterest session looking at tattoos. I think this might be how responsible motherly types have a midlife crisis.