I turn 35 tomorrow… 35… thirty… five. I’m not sure I had this much trouble with 30. Those of you who are older are probably rolling your eyes right now and waiting for your 25 or 30 seconds to tick away so you can click the next number and get your precious surfing credit, but I know you’ve been here.
My younger brother turned 33 almost two months ago, and I thought, “Good lord, that was just a blink of an eye ago!”
And 25? That seems like yesterday. Ten years ago this week, I was hobbling around with a cast on my leg thanks to some goldschlager on Bourbon Street. 15? That was last week when I was close to finishing my freshman year of high school and chasing after the boy I would hopelessly agonize over for the next five years.
Something that didn’t make me feel any better: A couple of weeks ago, I went to see In the Land of Women while Cinlach and his two brothers went to see Hot Fuzz, something we had seen the week before. I loved Hot Fuzz, but I just didn’t want to pay $9 to see it again. I’ll be all over the DVD, though.
So I went to the Meg Ryan and That Guy Who Was on The OC movie. As I sat in the theater with hardly anyone else, I began to look forward to the movie starting. I enjoy seeing well-written dramas like this by myself. Then the teeny-boppers came in — the ones who came to see the movie just because of That Guy Who Was on The OC. (Yes, I’m well aware that his name is Adam Brody.)
There’s a scene about halfway through when (SPOILER ALERT!) That Guy Who Was on The OC kisses Meg Ryan. Now, that wasn’t in the previews. In fact, one look at the movie poster makes you think that he falls for the girl who plays Meg Ryan’s daughter, but ah-ha-ha… there’s a little red herring for ya.
And in the instant when That Guy Who— oh alright, Adam Brody — kisses Meg Ryan, there was this collective gasp among the teeny-boppers. You would have thought two guys had just kissed on screen (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but no one should gasp at that either — however, people do).
And if that gasp wasn’t enough, one nitwit exclaimed out loud, “She’s old!”
One of the few times I had not indulged at the concession stand turned out to be one of the times I most desperately wanted to have something to throw — because I would have unleashed a barrage of confectionary goods at her highlighted, texturized hairstyled head.
Whining and pining aside, I do realize that I’m lucky. I could have ended up like a girl I knew in high school, killed several years ago while horseback riding when her head struck a low tree branch.
Or the guy I used to work with, whom I saw just last October (smiling and looking like the picture of happiness and health), who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in February and died two weeks ago.
I’ve lived three years longer than Rhonda did. We used to compare our skin tone and fingernails — to see who had the better tan or whose nails were longer. Having some Native American in her bloodline, Rhonda kept a year-round tan; and being five years older, she had the discipline to not pick at her fingernails, so they were always longer than mine. I never really thought a day would come when I’d have to think about who would live longer.
I know I am blessed with people who love me, a job that pays the bills, a roof over my head, and relatively good health. It’s just that every once in a while I look back and say, “Holy shit! Where is all the time going?” and then, “What am I doing here?”
I just don’t feel 35. Maybe it’s because I don’t have kids yet (something that my biological clock is now pissed about and is no longer speaking to me). Maybe it’s because I’ve been working the same job that I started at age 23 and have gotten absolutely nowhere in 12 years (although I am in the final steps of a career change).
Is there something that’s supposed to make me feel more like an adult besides a mortgage and a stack of bills? Will this career change — which requires me to go back to school — make me feel older? Wiser? More mature?
I don’t intend to become a stick in the mud or anything. I just feel like I don’t have it all together. Of course, maybe no one ever really does.
Anyway, happy birthday to me…