This is my favorite photo of me and Miss C, taken by Mia last year. It reminds me of summery good times.
I often make jokes about how old I am, not because I’m in any kind of denial, but chances are I’m gonna be older than most everyone I meet nowadays if you consider the industry and the social circles that I work in. Most people think I’m in my 30s because I think they just assume that I’m “their age”, so when I do tell people how old I really am, it’s usually either met with an “oh” or a “what, for reals?” Which makes me sometimes think, what the hell, why this reaction? This is a pretty typical conversation of how it all goes down.
Me (half joking, reading yet another “30 under 30 superstars of [insert industry here]”: What about the old people? Why don’t we ever acknowledge the old people?
Newish friend, 30-something years old: Yeah! Why are there never any “40 Under 40” lists?
Me (shaking my head): Dude, we’re not even in the same decade.
Friend (quietly): Oh.
Back when we were kids, people in their 40s seemed so much older than 40 something year olds do now. I could be totally wrong and maybe 24 year olds really do think we’re old as dirt and this is my perception from where I’m standing, but it feels like that line between young and old is more blurred. It’s ridiculous when my friends and I moan about having to deal with adult things like mortgages and insurance because we’ve been adults already forever, and I acknowledge how childish that is, but there’s a large part of me that still feels like I’m 25 inside. But now that I’m pretty much past the childbearing years and I’ve given birth to all the kids I’m ever going to pop out, I feel like age is now an inconsequential number. You just are who you are.
If anything, it’s the girls who are the most visible markers of time (well, that and my hair which is more than half gray now, but we won’t talk abut that). I can already see my future in their faces when we’re having arguments. You know the look they give you, that defiant stare that saids, “you don’t understand anything!” You think to yourself, holy hell child I practically invented that look, and this is the stuff that makes me feel older than anything trivial like not knowing who most of the bands in smaller print are on the lineup of Coachella. Am I really the one on the other side now? Do I really not understand young people? It didn’t seem that long ago that I was flinging that look to my own mom and I really did believe at the time with every fiber of my being that she didn’t understand me at all. Oh how the tables have turned.
So how does this happen? How do you one day find yourself saying stuff like, “when I was your age…” When does something like hitchhiking or moving in with your boyfriend at 19 go from being totally ok to totally appalling when you apply it to your own child? When do we become such hypocrites to this stuff?
I always like to think that I would handle the teenage rebellion stuff better than my mom did, though quite frankly I think she handled it pretty well. Her philosophy in the age before Facebook and Instagram was, “you’re going to do what you want anyway; I just don’t want to know.” I don’t see myself being old at all so my rationale is that I’ll relate to my kids better, but my mom was 10 years younger than I was when she had to deal with me as a teenager. This pretty much blows my mind. Me, at this age now with a 20 year old? That I could technically be a grandmother right now if my life ended up on a different path?? Yikes! Let’s just put that thought on the top shelf of a closet, lock the door and throw the key away.
But other than all that, being in your 40s is pretty ok. I wear what I want, still go to shows, and don’t feel like I need to prove anything to anyone, except maybe myself. I don’t have all the answers to parenting soon-to-be teenage girls and I suspect that I’ll have many days of pulling my hair out in tears, wondering if I handled things the best way that I could, but that goes for pretty much anything in life. This age is often confusing because we’re neither young nor old, just squarely in the middle, but I’m looking forward to seeing what the other half of my life has in store. I’ll just venture a guess and say that it’s going to be pretty good, old lady aches, gray hair and all.