Thursday, September 8, 2011

On Aging

Hmmm....I'm supposed to be extra happy today because it's my birthday, but as I am writing this, I'm just kinda not. I think I've gotten to the point where I don't want to count the numbers/birthday candles anymore. Please don't think I'm not appreciative for my life and the great things I've been able to do in the past year. I am very, very, very appreciative.

At the same time, I definitely understand that with some age comes a little bit of wisdom, so here are some bits of knowledge/life lessons that I feel like I am much more comfortable with today and going forward:
1. If you believe that you are old, you will be old. I guess one of the things that I realize more and more is that aging is mental. If you think you are old and shriveled up at 25, then you will be old and shriveled up. Period. What brought this home for me was watching Joan Rivers of all people. I saw the documentary "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" several months ago and was downright shocked. Seriously, watching her work schedule and hustle made my head spin. While I don't necessarily aspire to her work life (or her level of plastic surgery), she does manage to hold it down at 75! 75!! Well, she was 75 in the documentary; she's 78 now. Go, Joan! Go, Betty White as well!

2. I don't get Lady Gaga, Glee, or certain other pop culture phenomena, and that's okay. I'm okay with not being a part of the pop culture mainstream now. Lady Gaga's songs are catchy, but that's about it for me. I don't really get her erratic behavior. I did read someone's analysis of Gaga as a performance artist who uses pop music as her platform. I like that explanation, and I think I'll go with that one. :) Glee seems to be collective karaoke to me, and I wish I could get into it. I watched two episodes of the Kardashians, and I haven't since. I think I am cool with my old lady-ness. :)

3. Adult peer pressure isn't fun. I feel like people expect me (and to some degree Husband J) to be living a certain life and are quite confused that we aren't. People our age are supposed to have multiple kids in a home several thousand square feet in a nice suburb somewhere, yet here we are traveling to random places (well, not random to me), childless and living in our comfortable apartment in Brooklyn. I'm not making the decisions that people think I should be making right now. I'm okay with that, but it seems that others constantly need to question my life when I like (most of) it just the way it is right now. Of course in true Terri style, see #4 below.

4. I have the "I'm not where I'm supposed to be at this age" syndrome. I think is one pretty funny considering the fact that I don't think life is a race in any way, but that still doesn't make me immune from feeling like I am not up to par in certain aspects of my life. I feel like I am standing still, and people are running past me and looking back giving me the stink eye all at at the same time. For a visual, think about the movie Juno and the cross country team that seems to run past her every season (or maybe that's trimester in her case). There are a couple of areas of my life where I feel this way, and I am comfortable enough to admit that to myself. Understanding one's life path, goals, etc. is hard work. I kinda wish I didn't think about these things so much.

5. Life has way too many gray areas. I definitely consider myself a pretty principled person, but one of the things I've learned is that life is so full of gray areas. Even when I think I've figured something out, a new idea, situation or action comes out of nowhere and makes me reexamine things all over again.

6. Change is constant. I'm still waiting for life to be "normal," but it seems that everything around me keeps changing. This works against my planner tendencies, but perhaps I just need to constantly plan for change.

Anyway, I am going to try not to wallow this birthday. I think I will go get some cupcakes now (yes, that was cupcakes plural). Posts on birthday dinners (yes, that was dinners plural) are forthcoming.

P.S. If you want to know how old I am you can probably figure it out by looking through last year's September posts. :)


lavenderpug said...

happy birthday terri! numbers 3 and 4 have been figuring largely in my mind as of late.

Kimberly said...

Happy birthday, Terri!!!! I feel you on #3. If I get the baby question one more time, I might just scream... or cry. Not sure which.

Maya said...

Great post! As someone staring down the barrel of a milestone birthday, I definitely feel you on #4.

Sara said...

Happy birthday!

e.louise said...

Have a wonderful birthday! I can relate to many of the things that you listed, thanks for sharing!

Sugar said...

You're beautiful, gorgeous and I totally love your outlook on life. Don't change a thing. Happy Birthday!

melinda said...

Happy birthday blogging buddy!

Erin said...

Happy birthday!!!

Daphne said...

Hi Terri -

Happy (belated) birthday! I'll be 34 in November (I think I'm older than you - haven't read the posts from last Sept), so I completely understand where you're coming from. It's like....get outta my head, Terri!

1. I was having a conversation with a co-worker who is the same age, and he mentioned how, in about 5 years, we'll be 40. At first, I was like, "Ah! Don't say that! lalalala, I can't hear you." But then I replied, "But you know what? I don't feel old!" And he agreed. I don't FEEL significantly different now than I did in my mid-to-late 20s. A bit wiser, I hope, but otherwise, I'm good.

2. I stopped watching TV (more or less) 3-4 years ago, so I definitely understand where you're coming from. The only reason I have cable? For my visiting family. I'm marginally familiar with new "IT" artists, enough to have a superficial, watercooler conversation.

Anyway, I'm totally with you in a "Kids! Get off my lawn" way. Hee. My 50 year old sister knows more about pop culture than I do.

3. I've been internally struggling with this one for the past year or so. I'm not even married, let alone with kids in a home with a white-picket fence. Coming of age in the South (born/raised in Georgia, and now living in Florida), where it's old hat to get married out of high school, I definitely feel like I get the side-eye for still being single. And especially for not having children (which is backwards to me, but whatever).

In addition, career-wise, I feel as though I should be in a different place. I do pretty well, but I'm not a manager or consultant or some other fancy title, and it would seem others judge me for it. Separate issue is not being particularly satisfied with my job, for a myriad of reasons.

One thing I've resolved within myself, though: I am not among those who have ONE true passion and work that into a dream job/career. I have several interests, and none of them is something I'd want to parlay into a job. Otherwise, it stops being an interest and turns into...a job.

5. Agreed. I've realized that the more I learn, the less I know. Not sure if that makes sense! But it's definitely made me more circumspect in life.

6. Ditto. I think this ties into #4 for me, as I'm not where I thought I'd be at this age. And thinking further, it ties into #2, as it's one of the primary reasons I stopped watching TV - I feel like media has begun to inform our lives and what we as the public think it should be. But TV/film aren't real life, and never have been.

Anyway, long post, but I can definitely relate. In the United States, we're often bombarded with being extraordinary, yet are still expected to conform to some social norms. It's a bit of cognitive dissonance.

I hope you enjoyed your cupcakes, and dinners! Did you get your cupcakes from that place you posted about last month?

Oneika said...

Happy belated! Seriously though, you don{t look a day over 25!

Try Anything Once Terri said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes everyone! Much appreciated.

@Daphne - I hear you on all points. I did go the cupcake place I mentioned! :)

Our Wired Lives said...

Happy Birthday Terri. I really appreciate feeling like I'm not the only one. I've definitely been feeling like all of a sudden people can't stop judging me and my decisions. Screw them. I'm happy with my decisions. It's definitely strange being the old lady now. I don't see it when I look in the mirror, but I still don't have a clue who and why Justin Beiber is famous.

Diana said...

I hope you had a nice Birthday with plenty of cupcakes and dinners! I think we all get to this point of these questions at one time or another. I actually admire that you guys get to travel all over the place and not have to worry about kids. I love my stepdaughters, but I look forward to more traveling and seeing the world. But people also ask me why im not having kids of my own...well these are my kids! HELLO?! And I also feel like there is so much more to learn and do!


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