In one instant, 35 seems old to me. In my own mind, I am still 17 years old and my parents are this age. 35 seemed so far off, so old, so boring, so dull... In another instant I look at my two year old and think about our second baby on its way in March and think of myself as so very young, all the experiences still ahead of us.
I am nearing that age, or maybe I have reached it, where birthdays are no longer celebrated with joy and anticipation, but come to be simply time markers on a calendar that is flipping by way too fast. AB and I had thought about hosting a “Turning 35” birthday party this month since he turns 35 next week. We always talk about having a joint birthday party, but never really do. This year I just didn’t push to get it together. I feel like an elephant, I get tired easily and I just didn’t have it in me. (Especially when AB started listing off a guest list from the top of his head and got to 15 people in 10 seconds flat.)
35. Pondering thirty five. I don’t look 35… or do I? As I examine my face in the mirror. Seeing tiny lines that weren’t there before, keeping watch for white hairs, and trying to remember the last time I was carded for alcohol. (I think it is just that the grocery store clerk feels sorry for me with a toddler hanging off me, whining about having been in the store for so long, as I am fishing for my debit card in my purse. It isn’t that I actually look like I am substantially over 21.)
When I was in school my parents were always among the “younger set”. I remember a few kids with “older parents”. I don’t put myself in that category even though at my age, my parents had a 17 year old. But truly, I think a lot of it may be my environment. I see the other parents at Leif’s daycare and know they are about my age, some a touch older or younger likely. But for the most part, we are all on and have been on the same track (college, grad school, post-graduate work, job and then kids), so no large discrepancies. Or at least those age differences of 5 years seem a whole lot less major at this age then they might have seemed at 22 years of age. I go to a pregnancy discussion board for those of us due in March and find myself struggling to relate with the vast majority of the girls. Particularly those under 28 or so. They seem so young. So naïve. I want to tell them to relax, step back and look at the larger picture. And to enjoy their size 6 bodies… because it is damn hard work to keep them like that when you are in your 30’s.
When I was 25 I mourned the passing of my “early 20’s”. Ten years later and I don’t feel it so much. I don’t have this decade broken up in my head like I did with my 20’s where it was almost like a countdown to the big 3-0. I have certain timelines that I feel are much more important and permanent, like age 40. To me, age 40 isn’t the next hurdle to fear, it is the age when I need to be done having children because I don’t want to bear children after that age. Oh and probably not a good topic to ask a woman in her final trimester of pregnancy about.
Thirty five… it really isn’t that bad. I see my life getting better, growing richer in experiences, more valuable with growing friendships. I see a clearer definition of who I am and who I want to be, then I have ever seen in my entire life. I have fears, I am not invincible. I have regrets, things I did and shouldn’t have done. I don’t see so much opportunities past, but goals for the future. I see inspiration in the people around me. Inspiration to smile from my son, inspiration to follow my heart from my husband. Inspiration to see other worlds from Vargas Girl. To be a strong woman from my mom. To push myself as a woman in science from V (without giving up my inner desire to be a girly girl). To be idealistic and adventurous from my dad. To be soft and tender hearted from my youngest SIL. To let my inner artist shine through from Rockergirrl. To be strong physically from my mom and Veeg and so many other athletes I know. To be a mom first, from nearly all the women I have already listed and so many more. But not to forget that I am also a wife and an individual and so much more.