Heather Havrilesky had her her driver’s license picture taken at 33. Ten years later she has this to say about the woman in the picture:
Her hair looks unnaturally shiny. Her smile says, ‘I have nowhere in particular to be. Let’s go grab a cocktail!’(Via Instapundit)
It’s a strange state of affairs when a 33-year-old middle class women has nowhere in particular to be. I should know; I was one of them myself, albeit I was planning my wedding part of that year and gestating a baby the remaining time.
I remember waiting to be four and then five and then six. Waiting, and waiting, and whining to my mom that my Birthday just never seemed to come. Mom always smiled: “When you are a kid time moves slowly, but when you grow up, you want it to stop, or at least to slow down. I’m not too exited about my next Birthday because I want to stay young. But time doesn’t stop. It seems to go faster and faster.” I am now older than she was when we were having this conversations.
Anticipating Birthdays in my teens didn’t seem like such a terrible ordeal. I was fairly content with the passage of time. And then something happened. I turned a corner, and half of my twenties were gone. I blamed it on the climate. In the old country we had seasons. Looking out of the window I would see a maple tree shedding its last leaf and babushkas doing a balancing act on newly formed ice; that’s when I knew it’s time to get the fur hat out of the wardrobe. Another year went by. In Northern California fashion conscious “girls” wear knee high boots with sundresses year round. That was my excuse for wasting time.
My thirties flew by pretty quick, but at least I have something to show for it: I’m raising kids. I can’t say I never feel nostalgic for my “have nowhere in particular to be” days. The other day on the way to pick up the progeny I spotted a young couple walking into a bar. Just like that. In the middle of the day. Then I had to remind myself about the hangovers. 20’s are not what they are cranked up to be.
Amazingly, in our frank age Heather Havrilesky managed to pen an essay on aging without mentioning the m-word. She’s 43. I’m 40, and I have to admit that the commercials on talk radio about women over 40 needing to exercise an hour a day just to prevent weight gain fill me with panic. Someday soon the day will come when I will find myself reaching the age when women are no longer attractive. And even if an aggressive facial regime and a splatter of hair die can deceive casual acquaintances, I will know the truth. Havrietsky complained that motherhood aged her (that she shifted that stage into advanced maternal age is part of the problem). But childbearing is a function of youth. My young children make feel young. It’s the knowledge that a few years down the road (if not now) I will be no longer able to bare children that really saddens me. What’s left are wrinkles and decay.
My mother is now switching to orthopedic shoes. I look into my closet. Do I have another decade of stilettos? Fifteen years? Is a 55-year-old allowed to wear a heel over 2 inches? When to I bestow my collection of fashionable footwear onto my daughter (if she happens to wear my size)?