This is a play off of my “Thirty? Really?” post if you missed that one. That was only August, but for some reason now I am actually feeling like I am in my thirties instead of my twenties. I think this is for a couple of reasons. This post could be taken to mean I am thinking of all of this negatively, but read on, and you will see my summation.
First of all, I don’t, as a general rule, look like I am 30. Most people assume I am in college, and I have even had a couple think I was in high school, as recently as a year ago. I think this contributed to my feeling like I am not “thirty” in that sense of being stereotypically thirty. I am aware that part of this assumption of age is based on the fact that all of my jobs are “glorified teenager jobs,” to quote a guy I met one time. I work for a nanny service and a caterer and a vegetable farm. People see what I am doing and assume my place in life, which probably contributes to the age bracket they give me. But moving on, my point is that for the past week or so, I have been looking in the mirror and thinking, “Hmmm…why do I all of the sudden look thirty?” I have begun to notice the infamous lines around and bags under the eyes, etc. I think this has been exacerbated by the fact that I have had a cold, and have also been burning the candle at both ends non-stop for over a month. I guess I need to stop, huh? Stress really does age you!! 🙂
My second moment is great, though, because of what it symbolizes to me. It is more like an emotional marker that I didn’t even recognize until after I had done it. This guy I went to high school with found me on myspace. He was a few years younger than me (it was a small school), so we weren’t best buddies or anything, but we had a good repoire. Anyway, he was always one of those kids (I say kids because in high school, he was enough younger than me that I thought of him as a kid, although, of course, the age difference is small enough to be inconsequential now) that was just good-looking…no, good-looking doesn’t get it…hot. OK, he was hot. So, now he’s a grown-up. And guess what? He’s still hot. And he’s also in med school. So, he “friended” me, and I wrote him a message. And in the message, I told him (along with the fact that I am VERY happily dating the best guy in the world) that I thought he was trying, successfully, to set the bar for the stereotypical “handsome doctor.” And I did this competely un-self-consciously. I just said it because I thought it.
“What does this have to do with your age?” you may ask. The point is that, a few years ago, I would never ***I repeat NEVER*** have told a guy that. And if I had, by some chance, said that to someone, I would have been kicking myself afterwards…stressed out that they would think I was hitting on them or desperate, etc. Somehow, now, though, I have gained a different kind of security with who I am and where I am, and a different perspective in my thoughts on what other people might be thinking about me. I have a good friend who is about 15 years older than me. She told me once that she felt that as she got older, she got “more comfortable in her own skin.” She said that if, when she had been 20, she had been as secure in who she was as she was now, at 45, she would have lived life differently – happier, more serenely. I tried to make it a point right then not to wait until I got to be 45 to feel that…to stop judging myself by how I guessed others might be viewing me, and just be myself, say what I wanted to say, or at least, say what I wanted to say after checking in with God to make sure I was not just spouting off, which I also do. My point is that I guess I have, to some extent, gotten there.
So, today’s lesson is this: for a minute, I started worrying about the wrinkles around my eyes. And then I remembered that when I look at people, I do not see wrinkles, I see people. I do not count their wrinkles or creases or age spots. What I love in people has nothing to do with that. And if I want to worry about that and spend a lot of time figuring out how to look younger, then I am going to be taking away from becoming a person that others love because of who they are, and giving them a pretty shell instead. But even that would be temporary, because, time does not care where you go or what you do…it will find you. I chose, when listening to my wise friend, to learn to be “more comfortable in my own skin.” And I’m not going to stop now.