That’s right. My name is Julie, and I’m 35 years old. I have been on this earth for approximately 12,775 days. That is over 306,000 hours. (That’s what I think is the same amount of time reading the entire Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and Outlander series. Worth it!)
But for me, 35 is something else: it’s my scary age.
Before you tweet me messages of You should be happy to be alive. Do you want the alternative?, know this: everyone has that age that they dread, that makes them shake their head and go, “No. No. I can’t be that age.” It’s usually a two digit number that sometimes begins with a 3 or even a 4. It’s the age that slaps you on the side of the face and reminds you in vivid details, “You’re an adult, dumbass.” It’s the age that mocks you when you walk into Forever 21 and complain that the music is too loud.
I’m now older than all six characters on Friends. Remember the episode of Sex and the City when Carrie’s age moved into the next box on the questionnaire? Make some room, Bradshaw. Here comes my check mark.
So, for those who are either at that age (whatever the number is) or steamrolling towards it, here’s my unsolicited, unprofessional advice on how to deal when that time comes.
Sometimes it’s just that simple: it’s okay. But I’m not talking about turning that age.
I mean fearing it.
You know that this has happened: you confide in others about your scary age, those fears of finally turning that many years old. You open your heart, let it bleed with honesty and self-disclosure.
And you hear this: “Oh, it’s going to be fine. Don’t worry about it. Let’s talk about what happened on Scandal!”
As a person who received an A+ in Psychology 101 (I have my transcript to prove it. Boom.), it’s okay to feel that sense of dread or fear. It’s an emotion that comprises a well-rounded person. For some, including myself, it’s that fear that pushes them to move forward, make the necessary changes.
It’s when the fear devours your every thought and hinders you that there’s a problem.
So, go on and feel. Scandal can wait.
I wanna see you be brave
That age is here. If the number of candles on your birthday cake matched your age, it could be the genesis of a five-alarm fire. You’re past the qualification age of trying out for American Idol. (Okay, so I wasn’t ever going to do this, but now I can’t do this.) The checker at Trader Joe simply bags your many bottles of Charles Shaw merlot without any request for an I.D. (I even had pigtails on for that alone.)
Now, some would wave the white flag, drink their bottle of Merlot while watching Jennifer Lopez tell some 22 year old he has a voice of an angel.
Put down the bottle. Turn off American Idol. Because this year is going to be your bitch.
You can’t change your age – no matter what Olay, Loreal or Rodin and Fields try to convince you to buy to “turn back the clock” – but you can change your year. Make the dreaded year be the fabulous year that you proudly say to others, “That was the year I _______________.”
Do something new: travel more, join a book club (or join more), write for that blog that you are addicted to.
Just do something beyond what you’ve been doing.
It doesn’t have to be as prodigious as a trip to Italy where you find a rundown villa, plunk down your entire life savings for its restoration and write your memoirs. (However, if it is, I’m Italian and an amazing houseguest who knows her way around a kitchen. Just saying.) If it is, fantastic. If it’s something smaller but nonetheless an adventure into something new, fantastic.
It’s your year, bae. Own it.
Rules Are For Fools
When I was younger, I thought at the age of 35, I would have to give up certain joys that I associated with adolescent whimsy. Ciao YA novels. Fare thee well fictional crushes. Adults don’t write blogs about eye effs or breaking up with books.
Well, wee Julie, you were wrong. So, so wrong. Also, you are wrong about those highlights that you played off as natural but you weren’t fooling anyone. Nice try.
Getting older doesn’t always mean saying goodbye. That’s the beauty of it: you get to choose what you say hello to and what you say goodbye to. In fact, you don’t have to say goodbye to anything. And why? Because if it puts a smile on your face, makes you feel passionate, and isn’t illegal, you shouldn’t give it up because of your age.
You want to buy the newest YA novel? Go for it! And when someone asks you if that is for your teenage daughter, hold your head high, look that person square in the eye and declare, “Hell no. It’s for Boozy Book Club.”
Planning on getting your friends together to see the newest film adaptation of a YA novel that you all read together as a book club selection and you’re sitting next to a bunch of 14 year olds? Pass the popcorn with extra butter and the flask filled with red wine that you snuck into the theater because you’re adults, dammit.
And now here is the gushy part that’s most likely going to have people tweet me or send me texts asking me if I’m being emotional because my crimson tide has arrived this month. The answer is no, bitches. But if it was, I know where I could score some great period pants. (Thanks, Bekah!)
One of the reasons why I was drawn to That’s Normal was because of this sense that these were my people. Grown women blogging, expounding, dissecting everything from Outlander’s casting choices to books that didn’t require Oprah’s stamp of approval. For me, TN took the guilty out of guilty pleasures, and didn’t just make it okay to like these things – they made it normal.
So, here’s to everyone’s dreaded age. My wish for you is to take it head on with grace, dignity, and hopefully some great company who has even better wine!
What was or is your dreaded age? How did you handle it? Tweet or message us!