It’s here. Today, I cross the line and head into my 30s. I’m feeling pretty good about it, because when I turn on the TV and witness 20-something-year-old celebrities I feel a dull ache in my stomach that confirms these are not my people. I don’t even like celebrities anymore. There was a time if the right ones had their name on a perfume, it would only take a week or so until it made its way onto my nightstand. Now it would make it to the bathroom cabinet — to join the rest of the bottles of unused shimmery lotions and five-year-old samples from the department stores.
My uncle told me that when he turned 40 (who knows how long ago that actually was), he felt too young to be old and too old to be young. This is a relatable feeling when you have serious responsibilities. For instance, the wise part of me is sitting down to work on this article before deadline. But the immature part of me is doing that an hour before I throw my son’s fourth birthday party, when I should be, you know, getting things together. But I’m like rock and roll, I do what I want! Then I see my son’s little face and am like ... I better get moving and put the balloons in the car.
Responsibilities are no longer a shock to me. I’ve accepted being responsible isn’t always thrilling or spontaneous. Sometimes it’s boring or repetitive. Often times I will take the opportunity to exaggerate my rebellion about being a wife and mom so I’ll yell at my husband, “The man can’t hold me down, I’m out of control! King Kong ain’t got nothin’ on me!” Then I go back to neatly folding the laundry and making sure my alarm is set to take my son to preschool on time in the morning.
To be clear, having a family is my favorite “responsibility” at the moment. I’m excited and confident that I’m in the right place at the right time ... and that’s a really good feeling. But it took a lot of work, so it’s didn’t really just happen, you know? For me it feels like I’m halfway there and I like where I’m going. This was a good path for me, so age is sort of irrelevant. Until I feel old.
I feel old when the kid at the pool says I look the same age as his mom, and we’re obviously not the same age. I feel old when I’m around teenagers. I feel old when a girl has time to look like a model and I’m just happy to be here. I feel old when the trends catch my attention to the point of having a conversation about them. When I was younger, weird trends weren’t something I’d discuss with my friends unless it was really crazy. Now I’m like a missionary coming out of the jungle and modern day civilization shocks me. I feel old when I worry.
As a kid growing up, I felt like old people were always worried or shocked. They seemed to know everything and shared loud opinions, but there was always plenty of gasps and shaking heads. For years I felt like older people would tell me not to eat something or do something, because it would give me cancer. The rapture is tomorrow, store up canned food if you miss it. A meteor will hit earth someday, build a shelter. Wash your hands or you will get the plague. Don’t eat cookie batter, it will make you die. All in all, I’m alive and have learned not to “drink the Koolaid” when new “news” comes out, even if I do find it shocking. But I find myself listening to it while I shake my head and say, “Oh no, you don’t say...”
Here’s the thing. Thinking about being in between young and old makes me turn around and glare at my husband of nine years, because somewhere along the line of life he had a hand in transforming hip, youthful Kasi into washing dishes, had two kids, takes three weeks to work off one slice of pie Kasi. She yells “no!” at the bills, the chores, and the kids more than she’d like to admit and the aging stress line on her forehead is reaching Grand Canyon proportions. The kind of proportions where a homemade avocado mask is not as effective as driving over to my professional esthetician to perform a full scale facial on my hormonal pizza face, while begging her to jackhammer my pores into submission (but it’s always a gentle procedure).
I’m not saying age matters, but age happens. And if you’re the right kind of wine and cheese, then it’s pretty awesome.
Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.