A new phenomenon is happening to me. I swear, just when you think you’ve reached the age where people stop saying accidentally assholish things to you, you haven’t. We all know what it used to be. Every time someone would question my age, the next question was always when/where/how/and, subsequently hearing my prompt “Never,” why not about kids. In a brief moment of praise, I’d like to thank 35 for slowing that question down to a slow crawl from old ladies at the grocery store who assume I’m younger than I am. Here’s why they think it.
I, apparently, look good for 35. Wanna know how I know that? Because everyone is telling me. I mean EVERY. FUCKING. PERSON. Strangers. The editor of this blog with whom I lunched recently. Dudes. I say 35 and their brains EXPLODE.
Can I ask a serious question? Precisely what the fuck is that? I say I’m 35 and I get a look of shock. Wow, they say, you look so good. Um, thanks. Remember when I looked like this 6 months ago when I was 34? Nobody told me how good I looked for my age WAY back then.
35 has become the age when a woman dies to our society. Maybe you disagree with this because you have a kooky, 50-year-old lesbian aunt. But I’m telling you, for the rest of us 35 is this THING. This weird line in the sand where I’m supposed to be old and look bad. Frumpy and past my prime. Where the dream of marriage and children (which, if you remember, was never my dream) HAS DIED. Well. I guess the clock struck 12 and I dodged that pumpkin.
I want to talk about 35, because everyone has it wrong. 35 isn’t the age where I think I STILL look good. 35 is the age where I FEEL STUNNING. Never more sure or confident of myself in my entire life. Proud of the way my brain is managing life, what I’ve achieved, where I’ve been, the incredible collection of humans I call mine.
I get it. If you take a microscope to 35, there are changes. My smile lines stay forever now. I spend hours (that’s a lie, it’s like a couple minutes before I give up in despair and slather coconut oil all over my face) staring and tugging at them. Dissecting whether every smile was worth this new face. The answer is, FUCK YES THEY WERE. In addition to the wrinkles, there are some grey hairs (including TWO in my eyebrow that can go fuck themselves), hangovers that kill me, and the way I gain like, 8lbs if I look at bread now.
But 35 also means a lot of other, better things. It means I’m financially stable enough to do pretty much whatever I want. It means my brain has lost a LOT of its edge and I mostly only feel like a maniac during a full moon, vs. the constant, anxious shackles of my younger years. It means I sleep at night. It means I make time to exercise because it’s SO important. It means I get to give no fucks and put people out of my space who don’t fit the flow of my life. It means I have been through battle and come out with scars that make me beautiful. Also. While I have you. 35 ROCKS in bed. Just. Sayin’.
Ahem. Speaking of. I’m smooching this 29-year-old. I mean, we met in a field at a concert. How millennial of us. Part of my insides want to indulge the tug that it’s weird. But in truth, dude is the most grown up of everyone I’ve hung out with, from 28 to 43 and everywhere in between. I’m changing my mind about it mattering. It’s forcing me to challenge my own stereotypes about age, which, if you’ve been reading, you may have noticed is exactly what I’m asking everyone else to do. Think before you tell a woman that she looks good for your pre-determined notions of her age.
It really is just a number. That said, with age DOES come wisdom. It’s undeniable. I mean, if you’re doing it right. And for that, I wouldn’t trade this widely-dreaded witching hour for anything. I find it quite magical. Like Disney movie magical. Only in v.35, there’s a lot less waiting around for Prince Charming to complete your destiny, and a lot more kicking complete ass as you make your own.